By Ed Tittel

11 Developer Certifications You Should Earn

The top 11 certifications for software developers that you can earn today, including information about the skills tested, exam length, price, and training.

Top Certifications for Software Developers

Updated on April 2, 2024

Developer and programming skills are in high demand, and this isn't changing anytime soon. Achieving a web developer certification, software developer certification, or programming certification can help you keep an edge in the market by making you stand out among your peers. You'll finally have the qualifications and best certifications for jobs that are a better fit, or for that big promotion. 

But before you dig in, it's important to learn which programming is right for you. Let's take a look at 11 software developer certification programs that are sure to help boost your career.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate (AZ-204)

Microsoft certifications are some of the most highly recognizable in the IT industry and carry a considerable cachet. The Microsoft Azure Developer Associate certificate covers cloud services for meeting business organizational challenges. 

With Azure, you’ll build, manage, and deploy scalable, highly available, and performant web applications. As a prereq, it is recommended that you have basic Microsoft technology and software development knowledge. Our certification path blog outlines steps to passing.

Length: Two hours / 40-60 questions

Price: $165

AWS Certified Developer – Associate (DVA-C02)

Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides scalable cloud computing for creating Web applications. The AWS Certified Developer – Associate Level is for software engineers who design, build, and run applications on the AWS platform. 

This programming certification comes with no prerequisites, but you must take a multiple-choice exam on AWS fundamentals, plus designing, developing, and deploying cloud-based solutions, security, and debugging. Learn more about AWS by checking out one of our blog pieces or taking a course from Pluralsight or A Cloud Guru. 

For more advanced developers, AWS also offers a DevOps Engineer - Professional certificate.

Length: 130 minutes / 65 questions

Price: $150

Google Professional Cloud Developer

Google is perhaps the most recognizable name in cloud computing. If you’re serious about creating in Google’s cloud, then you might want to consider taking its Professional Cloud Developer certification exam. 

There are no prerequisites, but Google recommends, “3+ years of industry experience including 1+ years designing and managing solutions using Google Cloud.” 

Length: Two hours / 50-60 questions

Price: $200 (plus tax)

CIW Web Development Series - Professional

The CIW Web Development Professional path is a robust and comprehensive certification track for software engineers. Encompassing three certification exams, this CIW track is a significant investment of both time and money, but may be well worth it to show off your web development skills. 

The three certifications included as part of the Development Professional path are CIW JavaScript Specialist, CIW Database Design Specialist, and CIW Advanced HTML5 & CSS3 Specialist. Once you pass all three, you will be awarded the designation of Development Professional. 

Length: varies by certification, from 75-90 minutes and between 48-56 questions

Price: varies by certication vendor/proctor

Oracle Certified Associate and Professional, Java SE 8

Oracle offers numerous Oracle Java certifications at the Associate, Professional (OCP), Master (OCM), and Expert (OCE) levels. Its professional-level certifications typically require you to have an OCP Java Certification for Programmer or a Sun Certified Oracle Java certification for Programmer credential as a prerequisite. 

Exams are multiple choice and some include scenario-based questions. Passing scores vary by topic and credential.

Length: around 2 hours, and 50-70 questions for each certification

Price: $95 and up

Oracle Certified Professional, Java EE 7 Application Developer

For those proficient in Java’s Enterprise Edition platform, this exam “is targeted to intermediate to advanced level Java Front-End and Back-end application developers, architects, and software engineers.” The exam covers topics like Java EE architecture, business logic, Java Message Service API, servlets and JSPs, WebSockets, and more. You can find a full list on Oracle’s website

While there are no prerequisites, Oracle does recommend a previous Java SE certification as well as extensive hands-on programming experience.. 

Length: Two hours / 70 Questions

Price: $95 - $245

(ISC)2 Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional

The CSSLP is a software development certification with a special focus on security. It emphasizes skills in authentication, authorization, and security auditing. Working with government contracts? According to their website, the CSSLP, “the CSSLP meets the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 8570.1.” 

There are no prerequisites for the CCSLP, but it does expect advanced application security skills from its participants. Check out this post if you’re interested in more security exams

Length: 4 hours / 175 questions

Price: $599

Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) (EX294)

Red Hat is a well-established provider of open source software solutions, catering to over 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies. The Red Hat Certified Engineer path recognizes your ability to automate Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® tasks, your familiarity with emerging Red Hat technologies, and your general knowledge of automation.

Red Hat offers a comprehensive tiering exam process that we invite you to explore on their website. These pathways include both required and recommended exams, and offer options for how to move through the certification.

Length: 4 hours, 20 questions (for the RHCE)

Price: $400 and up

Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I and II

Salesforce—one of the original providers of enterprise customer relationship management (CRM) software—now focuses on many facets of enterprise cloud computing and applications. The company's entry-level Certified Developer identifies software engineers who design and build custom applications and analytics using the platform. 

The Developer path has several credentials that we recommend you review on their website. The Platform Developer I and Platform Developer II certifications might be of particular interest to software engineers. 

Length: 105 - 120 minutes, 60 questions

Price: $200

Certified Scrum Developer

The Scrum Alliance is a member-based organization that promotes the use of Scrum through education, advocacy, and networking and collaboration. The entry-level Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) certification targets software engineers who understand Scrum principles and have knowledge of specialized Agile engineering skills.

The Professional Scrum Developer I (PSD I) is a professional-level certification for developers with experience building software using Scrum. This includes development practices, support tools and using Scrum effectively in your specialty, such as testing, coding, and designing.

Length: 60-90 minutes, 75-80 questions

Price: $200 - $1000

PMI’S Project Management Professional

PMI is a nonprofit membership association, perhaps best known for its Project Management Professional (PMP) credential. The organization offers several certifications, including the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP). This certificate recognizes engineers with knowledge of agile project management principles, practices, tools, and techniques. As stated on PMI’s website, you must have the following to qualify for the exam:

  • 21 contact hours of training in agile practices

  • 12 months of general project experience within the last 5 years. A current PMP® or PgMP® will satisfy this requirement but is not required to apply for the PMI-ACP.

  • 8 months of agile project experience within the last 3 years

The exam covers agile tools, techniques, knowledge, and skills. PMI has a strong relationship with academia, so you'll find that many colleges and universities offering courses on its certifications include the PMI-ACP.

Length: 3 hours / 120 Questions

Price: $425 Members / $595 Non-members

PMI Project Management Courses

Looking more more certifications? We also have a post covering Pluralsight's current top tech certifications

Among the developer certifications listed here, professional developers at all stages of their careers should find interesting and engaging topics. I recommend digging more deeply into at least one of these offerings, talking to colleagues who've taken them on, and weighing the time, effort, and money required against the potential career payoffs. I'm betting most of you will find the trade-offs are in your favor.

For more information on certifications for software developers and more, check out our comprehensive post about becoming a software developer!

Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year veteran of the IT industry who's worked as a software developer, a project manager, a networking consultant, and a technical trainer. He's also the author of more than 100 computing books, and is perhaps best known for creating the Exam Cram series in 1997. Today, Ed still writes the occasional book, blogs regularly for TechTarget (IT Career JumpStart and Windows Enterprise Desktop), Tom’s IT Pro, and PearsonITCertification, and writes articles for a variety of Web sites. Visit his Web site at for more information.