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What are the Top-Paying Cloud Certifications for 2020?

By Ryan Kroonenburg  |  March 29, 2019  |   Certification Career   |  

So you’ve chosen to pursue a career in cloud infrastructure and development. Or you’re leaning that way. It’s a major decision, but not the only one you’ll have to make. The cloud is a vast space, and deciding which disciplines, certifications, and cloud platform or platforms to pursue can have a big impact on your future career opportunities.

No pressure!

Eyes On The Prize

Let’s cut to the chase. Which cloud certifications offer the most bang for the buck?

According to a recent Global Knowledge report, the top-paying cloud certifications for 2020 are:

  • Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect$139,529
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate $132,840
  • AWS Certified Developer — Associate $130,369 
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Server Infrastructure$121,288

In fact, the highest paying certifications across all IT disciplines are in cloud computing and virtualization, per Global Knowledge, with an average salary of $127,494 in 2019, up 12.8% from $112,955 last year. Cloud architects in particular enjoy even higher annual pay, with ZipRecruiter reporting average salary nationwide at more than $155,000 and ranging from $88,000 to as high as $225,000.

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Microsoft Muddies the Waters

You may have noticed the asterisk next to Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Server Infrastructure. This is because Microsoft did some rejiggering of its certifications that hasn’t been reflected in salary reporting...yet. Long story short, the MCSE:SI has been replaced with four distinct certifications more tied to role and workload, including three cloud-focused Azure certifications:

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

While the salary expectations for these new Azure certifications have not yet been reported, we expect they will land near the $121,288 MCSE:SI average.

Money Isn’t Everything

It might seem logical to simply select the certification with the promise of the highest average pay. But there are other factors to consider.

For example, AWS is the clear market leader among public cloud platform providers, with 80% of global enterprises running apps or experimenting with them on Amazon’s cloud, according to Statista. Microsoft is second with 67% market penetration and Google is third with 41%.

A cloud platform’s greater market share doesn’t necessarily mean higher pay for the professionals who work with it. In fact, expertise on a smaller-but-growing platform can be lucrative. Google Cloud Platform, for example, doesn’t have the market penetration of AWS or Azure, but its top certification yields the highest average salary for cloud professionals.

That’s not to say you should ignore market share! A platform’s adoption and popularity can help you assess the health of the job market in your area. On that front, AWS offers as close to a guarantee of employment as you can find, while Azure is a strong second. Of course, cloud skills are in such high demand that opportunity is out there, whichever platform you choose to specialize in.

Your situation might also point you toward a particular certification track. Maybe your current career would benefit from going deeper in a specific discipline or expanding into a different cloud platform. Perhaps your employer’s roadmap calls for a specific set of skills that a certification could position you to meet. It’s always smart to consult with mentors, recruiters, and peers about which path to choose. Online communities – such as LinkedIn groups, cloud-related subreddits, or our own discussion forums – can also provide valuable insights from a wider field of professionals.

And remember – it’s not like you’re limited to the first cloud certification you choose. Getting certified within and across cloud platforms isn’t just a possibility, it’s likely to be a requirement as you advance in your cloud computing career. Some 64% of cloud professionals were cross-certified as of last year, and that number is only growing, according to Global Knowledge

Ready to level-up your career?

Join A Cloud Guru and get access to AWS, GCP, and Microsoft Azure certification courses, labs, quizzes, original series, and everything else you need to learn to cloud!

Start Your Free Trial

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