5 Cloud Certifications to Start Your Cloud Career in 2024

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

With the acceleration in cloud technology adoption, knowledge of working with the cloud is poised to become a valuable asset for IT professionals. Cloud certifications to consider come from several different cloud service providers.

Man searches for cloud certifications

Cloud computing—using the internet to store data and services instead of a computer hard drive—is growing. Increased internet access, the reduced cost of using the cloud, new technology, and a pandemic-driven digitization of many services have each accelerated the adoption of cloud technology. Business advisory firm Gartner predicts that cloud will make up 14 percent of all global enterprise IT spending in 2024, up from nine percent in 2020 [1]. Cloud computing is an in-demand skill. The average salary for cloud computing professionals in the United States was $99,881 as of March 2024, according to Glassdoor [2].

Should you get a cloud certification?

Like many IT professions, hands-on experience can often speak louder than a certification by itself. That said, a certification can be useful in indicating your abilities to hiring managers, and help you build out experience where you might be lacking. 

If you're just starting to explore the IT space, you might want to consider an entry-level IT certification. If you have some experience in IT or computer programming and want to gain experience in cloud computing or want to integrate cloud into your career, a certification can certainly be beneficial.

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Cloud Certifications

The following certifications are often recommended for those trying to position themselves for entry-level cloud-related jobs. Prices listed are as of December 2021.

1. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Solutions Architect - Associate

The AWS Solutions Architect - Associate certification involves a multiple-choice exam that tests your ability to deploy, manage, and use various services in AWS, the leading platform in the cloud market. The certification shows your proficiency in the basic technical concepts of AWS cloud engineering that can position you to qualify for related jobs. 

Just starting out with AWS? The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification is designed for candidates with a few months of experience, and can be a way to build up experience for the AWS Solutions Architect - Associate certification.

  • Cost: $150

  • What’s being tested: Compute, networking, storage, and database AWS services; deployment and management; basic architectural principles of building in AWS; global AWS infrastructure; network technologies in relation in AWS; among other subjects 

You can prepare for this certification while earning a Professional Certificate for your resume by enrolling in the AWS program below. In just two months, you'll gain hands-on experience with data lakes and architecting on AWS.

2. Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

With the second largest market share in the cloud space, Azure can be a useful cloud platform to learn. The foundational certification for Azure involves the AZ-900 exam, and is designed for those with both technical and non-technical backgrounds. It’s a solid certification to get you up to speed with fundamental Azure knowledge. From there, you can go on to get the Azure Administrator Associate or Azure Developer Associate certifications, though it’s not a prerequisite. 

  • Cost: $99

  • What’s being tested: The differences between cloud services like IaaS and PaaS; benefits of using cloud services; core Azure services like virtual machines (VMs), containers, Kubernetes and database services; understanding of Azure core solutions and management tools; basic security, include network security; and other subjects

Prepare for this exam while gaining hands-on experience with the Internet of Things (IoT), AI, and cloud governance strategy through Microsoft's Azure Fundamentals AZ 900 Exam Prep Specialization.

3. Google Associate Cloud Engineer

Getting certified as a Google Associate Cloud Engineer will mean showing competency in basic aspects of working with Google Cloud. This includes setting up a cloud solution environment, managing storage and databases, and configuring access and security, among other things. 

  • Cost: $125

  • What’s being tested: Setting up cloud solutions by creating projects, managing users in Cloud Identity, and managing billing configuration; planning and configuring compute resources, data storage options, and network resources; deploying Google Kubernetes Engine, applications; managing a virtual machine (VM); and more

To get started, you can take a course in Google Cloud Product Fundamentals, which can be the first step in getting the Cloud Engineering with Google Cloud Professional Certificate

Want a more holistic introduction to IT work? Take a look at the Google IT Support Professional Certificate.


4. IBM Certified Technical Advocate - Cloud v3

IBM cloud services take up less market share than the others, but can still be useful in industries that use IBM cloud platforms. The IBM Certified Technical Advocate - Cloud v3 (formerly known as IBM Certified Solution Advisor) is the foundational certification for IBM cloud. If you work at a place that primarily designs solutions based on IBM cloud, or hope to do so in the future, this certification can make sense. There are several more advanced levels of IBM cloud certifications, like the IBM Certified Professional Architect - Cloud v5.

  • Cost: $200

  • What’s being tested: Understanding of cloud concepts; IBM Cloud components; architectural principles and patterns; networking and security; Cloud Native practices cloud deployment; among other things

5. Cloud Security Alliance: Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

The CCSK is issued by the Cloud Security Alliance, a vendor neutral certification provider. This means that the things you learn from getting a certification can be applied to different cloud platforms. The CCSK focuses on the fundamentals of cloud security. There are other advanced certifications, like the CCSP from (ISC)2, that indicate a professional level of mastery of cloud security.

  • Cost: $395

  • What’s being tested: Cloud computing concepts and architecture; governance and enterprise risk management; legal issues and contracts; data security; virtualization and containers; and more

Which cloud certification should you get?

If you decide to get a cloud certification, it’s a good idea to look at what cloud platform is often used in your geographical area and target industry. Government agencies often use Azure; financial companies might use IBM or AWS.

As of February 2024, Amazon Web Services, or AWS, had the largest market share of cloud infrastructure providers, followed by Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud [3]. 


Build your cloud computing credentials on Coursera

Becoming a cloud professional in IT might mean working in an in-demand field that can lead to lucrative salaries. If you have a basic understanding of IT concepts, you can take a course in cloud basics like Infrastructure and Application Modernization with Google Cloud, IBM’s Introduction to Cloud Computing, or Starting Your Career with AWS Cloud Specialization. Upon completion, gain a shareable certificate to showcase in your resume, CV, or LinkedIn profile. 

Article sources


Gartner. "Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud End-User Spending to Grow 18% in 2021, https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-11-17-gartner-forecasts-worldwide-public-cloud-end-user-spending-to-grow-18-percent-in-2021." Accessed March 21, 2024.

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