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Is getting a cloud certification worth it? Yes, and here's why.

Having a certification can boost your career, help you speak the common cloud lingo, and create real business impact.

Sep 28, 2023 • 4 Minute Read

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  • Cloud
  • Learning & Development

Let’s be honest: on the face of it, taking a cloud certification can seem like a daunting task. You’ve got to find time to study for it and to take the exam, a process that may take weeks of your time. On top of that, you’ve got to convince your employer to give you said time, or do it in your off hours, which isn’t a thrilling proposition.

So, naturally, the question you might first ask is “If it’s going to take me all this time and energy, is getting the certification worth the hassle?” I’m here to tell you why it’s a good career move.

1. Companies care more about cloud certificates than expensive degrees

Yes, studying for a cloud certification might take you a few weeks. You know what takes longer? Three years of university study. According to Pluralsight’s State of Cloud Learning report, 87% of hiring managers value hands-on experience with cloud certs over a tertiary qualification.

Also, considering a degree costs you tens of thousands of dollars per year while a certificate is normally in the low hundreds, the return on investment is pretty clear.

2. A certification teaches you the “lingua franca” of cloud

Cloud is a whole culture unto itself, and there is a shared language, both used by cloud providers and practitioners. Without knowing this language, a simple sentence like…

"I require a subnet within a VPC, connected to a NAT Gateway, to launch Lambda functions that interface with an S3 bucket and utilize an RDS instance behind an ALB."

… can sound like complete and utter gibberish. Since cloud computing is now table stakes for organizations, you don’t want to be the odd one caught out staring blankly when someone talks about availability zones or IAAS.

3. You can use cloud certifications to increase your job opportunities

If you’re in a non-technical field, getting cloud certified is a proven way to get your foot in the door for high-paying technical positions. One such example is Winston Smith, who transitioned from phone sales to a thriving cloud architecture career through certifications alone. By doing so, he multiplied his wage by six, and got a job with a lot more flexibility.

In Pluralsight’s State of Cloud Learning report, 52% of individuals say cloud certifications expanded their career opportunities.

4. Being cloud certified pays really well

Let’s be honest, this is what many people care about. While salaries vary depending on the job and location:

  • Cloud engineers are earning an average base salary of $117,000 USD, according to Indeed

  • Global Knowledge finds that the average cloud computing professional in the U.S. pulls in $160,000, adding: “…IT decision-makers are struggling to find qualified candidates for cloud job openings.”

  • Cloud architects enjoy even higher annual pay, with ZipRecruiter reporting average salary nationwide at more than $153,000 and ranging from $89,000 to as high as $210,000.

5. Cloud is an in-demand skill, and certs prove you have that knowledge

While 75% of organizations are building new products and features in the cloud by default, only 8% of technologists claim extensive experience with cloud-related tools. This means there’s ample opportunity to seize cloud-related jobs if you’ve got the right certifications. 

6. More organizations are moving to multi-cloud environments

According to Gartner, more than 80% of organizations use more than one cloud provider (compared to 49% in 2017). With organizations starving for quality talent, becoming proficient in multi cloud gives you more job prospects across the board and increases your value to organizations interested in, or already using, multiple clouds. 

AWS, Azure, and GCP are still the three most popular cloud providers, which means becoming proficient in these gives you the best cross section.

7. Cloud certificates have synergies with other technical fields

Contrary to popular belief, cloud computing isn’t just a single thing you learn. It’s a vast field that has a lot of crossover with fields like artificial intelligence, security, data management, business operations, and more. That means getting cloud certified expands rather than restricts your career options, and empowers you if you’re in one of these areas.

8. Even if you’re not in a technical role, being cloud certified helps

It can be easy to think “cloud certification is only for technologists”, but that’s a mistake. Being cloud certified allows you to coordinate with cloud specialists and understand what innovation options exist so you can drive business value. For a really great example of this, read Evanna Kearin’s story: “How my team took the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner course (and survived!).

Conclusion: Cloud certifications are useful for everyone

No matter your role in an organization, being cloud certified can be of use to you. Even the act of studying for a certification can be valuable even if you don’t sit the actual exam, as this provides you with vital knowledge you can reference in interviews and during your actual employment. If you’re thinking of studying for a qualification, a cloud certification is a sensible move.

Want to start training for a cloud certification? Pluralsight offers professionally-led cloud cert prep courses for all the major providers. You can sign up for a 10-day free trial with no commitments.