7 Popular Cloud Security Certifications for 2022

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Advance your cloud security career with the right credential.

[Featured image] A cloud security engineer wears a purple sweater and works on their laptop at a coffee shop.

As more and more businesses move to the cloud, cybersecurity is increasingly becoming cloud security. In fact, cloud computing is the top technology companies are likely to adopt by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Survey [1]. This means more job opportunities for those with the right combination of cloud and cybersecurity skills.

If you’re interested in starting or advancing your career in the information security industry, earning a cloud security certification can help you learn critical skills and validate those skills to recruiters and hiring managers. In this article, you’ll learn about seven cloud security certifications companies are hiring for, with tips on how to choose the right certification for you.

7 cloud security certifications companies are hiring for

While a bachelor’s degree is the most common entry-level qualification for computer and IT jobs, many employers also look for an industry certification to demonstrate specific technical skills. This is especially true in cybersecurity, where 60 percent of all cybersecurity positions request at least one certification [2].

You’ll find a huge range of certifications out there, and not all of them are created equal. We searched three top job listing sites, LinkedIn, Indeed, and Simply Hired, to find the certifications that show up most frequently on job listings. Companies are looking to hire candidates with these credentials, which may make them worth considering as part of your own career development. 

Read more: 10 Popular Cybersecurity Certifications

Here they are, starting with the technology-specific certifications before moving on to the vendor-neutral ones. 

1. Google Professional Cloud Security Engineer

Earning this certification from Google demonstrates your ability to design, configure, and implement secure infrastructures on the Google Cloud Platform. This includes:

  • Configuring identity and access management

  • Defining security policy

  • Implementing network security

  • Analyzing logs and managing incident response

  • Protecting data with Google Cloud technologies

Target job titles: Cloud security engineers, solutions engineer, cloud architect

Requirements: There are no prerequisites to take the exam. Google recommends that you have at least three years of experience, including at least one year managing and designing with the Google Cloud Platform.

Cost (US): $200

Learn the skills you’ll need for a job as a cloud security engineer with:

Placeholder

professional certificate

Preparing for Google Cloud Certification: Cloud Security Engineer

Advance your career as a Cloud Security Engineer

4.7

(1,173 ratings)

3,690 already enrolled

INTERMEDIATE level

Average time: 9 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Google Compute Engine, Google App Engine (GAE), Google Cloud Platform, Cloud Computing, Create and understand custom IAM roles, Secure a Kubernetes environment, Create and configure network peering

2. Microsoft Certified Azure Security Engineer Associate

Passing the AZ-500 exam for this Microsoft Azure credential demonstrates your skills in scripting, automation, networking, virtualization, and cloud architecture and capabilities. Skills tested include:

  • Configuring and managing secure access in Azure Active Directory

  • Implementing platform protection

  • Managing security operations with Azure Monitor, Security Center, and Sentinel

  • Securing data and applications

Note: Exam AZ-500 will be updated on August 2, 2021. Be sure to download the latest version of the exam guide.

Target job titles: Cybersecurity engineer, cloud DevOps engineer, Azure security engineer, security and integration architect

Requirements: None

Cost (US): $165

Consider starting with the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification. Prepare for the exam and get 50-percent off your exam voucher with the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals AZ-900 Exam Prep Specialization on Coursera.

Placeholder

specialization

Microsoft Azure Fundamentals AZ-900 Exam Prep

Launch your career in cloud computing. Prepare for the Microsoft AZ-900 certification exam.

4.6

(1,454 ratings)

41,364 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 5 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Describe the benefits of cloud computing in Microsoft Azure, Explain core cloud concepts, Describe core Microsoft Azure services, Describe core Microsoft Azure architecture components, Describe Microsoft Azure management tools, Choose the correct Microsoft Azure Artificial Intelligence service to address different kinds of business challenges, Choose the best Microsoft Azure IoT service for a given business scenario, Choose the best Microsoft Azure software development process tools and services for a given business scenario, Describe Microsoft Azure security solutions, Understand what it means to build a cloud governance strategy in Microsoft Azure, Estimate and manage your cloud spend in Microsoft Azure, Describe how Microsoft Azure adheres to common regulatory and compliance standards, Explain how Microsoft Azure's service-level agreements (SLAs) can impact your application design decisions, Secure access to cloud resources in Microsoft Azure, AZ-900 exam preparation, Practice certification exams

3. AWS Certified Security

If you’re looking for a security job at a company using Amazon Web Services (AWS), the AWS Certified Security - Specialty could be a good option. By earning this credential, you can show employers your proficiency in:

  • Encrypting and classifying data in AWS

  • Implementing secure internet protocols

  • Providing a secure production environment with AWS security services

  • Understanding security operations and risk management

Target job titles: Security architect, cloud security engineer, information security analyst, security and compliance engineer

Requirements: There are no prerequisites to take the exam. AWS recommends that you have at least two years of experience securing AWS workloads and five years of general IT security experience.

Cost (US): $300

Get an overview of the features and capabilities of the platform from the experts at Amazon:

Placeholder

specialization

AWS Fundamentals

4.6

(10,755 ratings)

6,137 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 4 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

AWS Identity and Access Management, Networking on AWS, AWS Management Console, Cloud Computing, aws security, aws, Information Privacy, Cloud Management, security, Cloud Applications, AWS Lambda, Amazon Lex, Amazon API Gateway, serverless architecture, Amazon Dynamodb

4. CompTIA Cloud+

The CompTIA Cloud+ validates your ability to plan, deploy, and automate secure cloud environments. The new version of the CV0-003 exam, which launched in June 2021, covers topics like:

  • High availability and disaster recovery

  • Automation and virtualization

  • Cloud architecture

  • Identity and access management

  • Securing networks in a cloud environment

  • OS and application security controls

Target job titles: Cloud specialist, cloud architect, information security manager, vulnerability tester, cybersecurity cloud specialist

Requirements: CompTIA sets no prerequisites for this certification. They do recommend that you have two to three years in systems administration or networking, as well as the CompTIA Network+ and Server+ certifications.

Cost (US): $358

5. Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

As you advance your career in cloud security, the CCSP from security membership organization (ISC)² validates your more advanced technical skills in the industry. The exam tests skills across six different domains:

  • Cloud architecture and design

  • Cloud data security

  • Cloud platform and infrastructure security

  • Cloud application security

  • Legal, risk, and compliance

  • Cloud security operations

Target job titles: Cyber integration engineer, information security auditor, incident response specialist, senior security analyst, cloud application security consultant

Requirements: To become a CCSP, you have to pass an exam and have at least five years of paid work experience in IT. Three of those years must be in information security and one needs to be in one or more of six (ISC)² CCSP Common Body of Knowledge domains.

Cost (US): $599

6. Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

This cloud security credential from the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) covers a range of key cloud security issues that can empower you to tailor security solutions in a cloud environment. Topics covered include:

  • Cloud architecture

  • Governance, risk management, legal issues

  • Infrastructure security

  • Data security and encryption

  • Incident response

  • Application security and security as a service

Target job titles: Threat analyst, cybersecurity architect, ethical hacker, security analyst, IT security engineer

Requirements: The CCSK has no experience requirements.

Cost (US): $395

7. GIAC Cloud Security Automation (GCSA)

If you’re interested in building and deploying secure systems and applications, you might consider the GCSA. While the GCSA isn’t affiliated with a particular cloud platform, the materials do cover open-source tools like AWS and Azure. Topics covered include:

  • Cloud security fundamentals

  • Cloud security monitoring

  • Compliance

  • Container and microservice security

  • Data protection

  • DevOps and DevSecOps fundamentals and controls

Target job titles: Security consultant, application security analyst, security engineer, cloud security developer, Dev SecOps engineer

Requirements: There are no prerequisites for the GCSA certification exam.

Cost (US): $949

Are cloud security certifications worth it?

Earning a cloud security certification often requires investing both time and money into preparing for and taking the exam. Whether that investment is worth it depends on your career goals. The right certification can help give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs. According to a survey by (ISC)², earning a cybersecurity certification can come with an average salary increase of $18,000 in the US [3].

How to choose a cloud security certification

Once you’ve decided to earn a cloud security certification, it’s important to choose the right one for your professional goals. Here are some things to think about when deciding which credential is the best fit.

  • Cost: Certification exams and prep courses can cost hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars. Think about your certification as an investment in higher-paying job opportunities. Do your research and invest wisely.

Tip: Forty percent of cybersecurity professionals surveyed by (ISC)² had their certification exams and fees paid for by their employers [3]. Be sure to ask your employer if they’ll help cover costs.

Placeholder

  • Vendor-specific vs. vendor-neutral: Do you want to specialize in a specific cloud platform, or would you prefer to keep your options open?

  • Experience level: Start with a certification you currently qualify for, then progress to more advanced certifications as you gain work experience. 

  • Area of focus: Many of the certifications on this list cover general cloud security practices, though options like the GCSA are more specialized. Think about whether you’re interested in cloud security architecture, engineering, incident response, development, or something else; there might be a certification that addresses that specialty.

  • Potential employers: Search some job listings for positions and organizations you’d like to apply for. Make a list of what certifications show up most often. Those could be beneficial to pursue.

Top cloud services to get certified in

AWS ranks as the largest cloud infrastructure provider, followed by Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

Placeholder

How to get into cloud security: First steps

Many of the top cloud security certifications require or recommend previous experience in information security or IT. If you’re considering a career securing cloud environments, here are some tips for getting started.

1. Develop technical skills through courses, bootcamps, or a degree. 

Before shifting your focus to cloud security, establish a base of IT and computer science skills and knowledge. You don’t necessarily need a degree to get a job in cybersecurity. But by completing a degree program, online course, or bootcamp, you can build a strong foundation to set yourself up for future success. Some certifications will waive a portion of the work experience requirement if you have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science or a related field.

Even if you don’t have a degree, start building job-ready skills in IT or cybersecurity with a Professional Certificate on Coursera. Learn from industry leaders with the Google IT Support Professional Certificate or the IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate.

Placeholder

professional certificate

Google IT Support

This is your path to a career in IT. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than 6 months. No degree or experience required.

4.8

(148,147 ratings)

1,126,444 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Debugging, Encryption Algorithms and Techniques, Customer Service, Network Protocols, Cloud Computing, Binary Code, Customer Support, Linux, Troubleshooting, Domain Name System (DNS), Ipv4, Network Model, Powershell, Linux File Systems, Command-Line Interface, Directory Service, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), Backup, Cybersecurity, Wireless Security, Cryptography, Network Security

Placeholder

professional certificate

IBM Cybersecurity Analyst

Get ready to launch your career in cybersecurity. Build job-ready skills for an in-demand role in the field, no degree or prior experience required.

4.6

(8,258 ratings)

99,087 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 8 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

information security analyst, IT security analyst, security analyst, Junior cybersecurity analyst, Information Security (INFOSEC), IBM New Collar, Malware, Cybersecurity, Cyber Attacks, database vulnerabilities, Network Security, Sql Injection, networking basics, scripting, forensics, Penetration Test, Computer Security Incident Management, Application Security, threat intelligence, network defensive tactics, cyber attack, Breach (Security Exploit), professional certificate, cybersecurity analyst

2. Start with an entry-level IT job.

Many security professionals start out in an entry-level IT role before making the switch to security. Working as an IT support specialist, systems administrator, or cybersecurity analyst can often give you hands-on experience in cloud environments

3. Earn an entry-level IT or cloud certification.

After gaining some experience in IT, consider earning your first certification in IT. You’ll find a range of entry-level IT certifications that you can use to build your knowledge, enhance your resume, and possibly qualify for new roles.

4. Build your cloud and security skills.

As you gain experience on the job, look for opportunities to work on your cloud and security skills. Some essential skills for cloud security engineers include:

  • Experience with cloud service providers

  • Information security

  • DevOps

  • Programming languages like Python and Ruby

  • Network and application security

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Get started in cybersecurity

Start building the job-ready skills you need for a career in cybersecurity with the IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate on Coursera. Get hands-on experience with IBM security technologies as you learn from industry leaders.

Placeholder

professional certificate

IBM Cybersecurity Analyst

Get ready to launch your career in cybersecurity. Build job-ready skills for an in-demand role in the field, no degree or prior experience required.

4.6

(8,258 ratings)

99,087 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 8 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

information security analyst, IT security analyst, security analyst, Junior cybersecurity analyst, Information Security (INFOSEC), IBM New Collar, Malware, Cybersecurity, Cyber Attacks, database vulnerabilities, Network Security, Sql Injection, networking basics, scripting, forensics, Penetration Test, Computer Security Incident Management, Application Security, threat intelligence, network defensive tactics, cyber attack, Breach (Security Exploit), professional certificate, cybersecurity analyst

Article sources

1

World Economic Forum. "The Future of Jobs Report 2020, https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs-report-2020." Accessed October 14, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

Learn without limits