Which Cloud certifications should I take?

Here at Hamilton Barnes, we are not only interested in the Networking Professionals who are looking for new positions today, but we arealso interested in the Networking Professionals of tomorrow. We have beenvisiting universities around the UK advising the future graduates on how to goabout finding their first jobs in the world of Networking.  During our visits, we also give the studentsan opportunity to ask questions.  At arecent visit, one of the students asked specifically about Cloud Computing and whatextra certificates would prove useful. 

Cloud Computing has most definitely had a lot of time, conversation and investment towards it. The cloud landscape has most certainly grown at a pace that has been far quicker than what some predicted.  Alongside the technology increasing and the skills being required, certifications for this technology are there for the taking. You might be thinking of gaining some new skills and adding to your list of accreditations.  Maybe Cloud computingis the area you are looking at improving and building your skills in.  More and more we have clients who look for specific skills and their preferred certifications, so here are the ones that are highly sought after that may be worth your while.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect –Professional

This is one of the most sought-after accreditations on Cloud Computing. Launched back in 2013, there are a variant of levels available for attainment. These are foundation, associate, and professional along with several specialty certifications. Generally, AWS certifications help prepare candidates for roles in development, operations and architect.

The Professional level is ideal for Networking professionalswith about 2 years’ experience designing and deploying cloud environments on AWS.  Once you have this certification you will be able to work with clients assessing needs and planning the design solution, alongside recommendation of the architecture to be used and assisting throughout the project life cycle.  If you are thinking of taking this certification, it will help if you are highly knowledgeable of network design, data storage, security, scalability and elasticity, hybrid architecture and cloud migration.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

With this variant, you will learn how to gather and identify what the actual requirements are for the solution.  You will be able to provide guidance on the architectural best practices for projects and this certification is also a prerequisite credential for taking on the Professional level.

AWS Certified Developer – Associate 

As the title suggests, you will be certified to designs, develop and implement cloud-based solutions using AWS.

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional

With this engineering certification, you will learn how to provision, operate and manage distributed applications using AWS.  This certification is the professional-level certification for both developer and operation-based roles. If you are interested in following the DevOps career path, then this is a certification worth investigating.

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate

With this Operations focused certificate, you will be able to provision systems and services on AWS, automate deployments, monitors metrics on AWS, and be qualified to follow and recommend the best practices on AWS.


For this, the Certified Cloud AWS and Practitioner are foundation level certificates. This is a good place to start for AWS ertifications.

Other Specialty AWS Certs

As well as the above, AWS also have other speciality certs, which cover security, big data and networking.

CCNA Cloud: Cisco Certified Network Administrator Cloud

Cisco have two cloud-based certifications amongst their extensive portfolio. CCNA Cloud and the CCNP Cloud. The CCNA Cloud is viewed upon as an entry level cert, best suited to Networking Engineers, Cloud Engineer and administrators.  With this certification, it is validating your skills to support Cisco cloud-based solutions.   It’s recommended that you have acquired abasic knowledge of cloud infrastructure, deployment models, cloud networking, storage solutions, monitoring and cloud administrative tasks.  As with other Cisco certs, they are only valid for 3 years with a requirement for you to recertify.

CCNP Cloud: Cisco Certified Network Professional Cloud

This particular credential is designed to validate the skills of administrators, designers, architects, engineers and data centre professionals, already working in a cloud-based environment.  This is quite a rigorous certification to take on and it is paramount that you have already taken obtained a CCNA Cloud, or aCCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert). You will need to train to take exams in cloud design, implementing and troubleshooting, automation, andbuilding applications using ACI.

It is paramount that you have solid knowledge and experience with cloud-related technologies, such as Cisco Intercloud andInfrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and cloud models (hybrid, private, public. The CCNP Cloud is valid for three years and you will need to recertify.

MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

This certification replaced the MCSE Private Cloud cert in 2017. This is a recognition of your ability to manage data centres and validates your networking virtualization skills, systems and identity management, storage and related cloud technologies. A prerequisite of this exam is for you to have already obtained an entry level associate exam (MCSE). These include any of the following:

Following this, you are also then required to take an additional exam, which you can choose from a pool of certifications.  These include:

Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) offers free courses and training materials on many topics relevant to cloud development.

Microsoft continues to bulk up its cloud-related certifications, retiring and replacing particular certs. There are new credentials being offered and occasionally a peppering of cloud topics is added into existing credentials. This particular exam MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, is unfortunately set to be retired but it will still count if you’ve already taken it. If you click hereyou can see all the Microsoft cloud-related certifications.  So keep an eye out for new certs to help keep yourself up to date.

VCP7-CMA: VMware Certified Professional7 – Cloud Management and Automation

VMWare is a force to reckoned within Network Virtualization.  This technology is a huge contribution to cloud computing and naturally, VMware has their VCP7 – CMA certification.  This is a recognition of your ability to install, configure and administer a VMware vRealize environment, used to automate key processes within your DataCentre in a repeatable, scalable way that leads to efficiency and improved productivity. These skills enable you to simplify and standardize the morecomplex day to day activities, increasing your credibility and value within an organisation.

Depending on your current VCP accreditation, the path you take for this certification will slightly differ.  Click hereto see what the different paths are depending on your current VCP accreditation status even if you currently do not hold any.

Juniper Networks Certification Program (JNCP) Cloud

This track allows participants to demonstrate competence in cloud networking architectures such as multi-clouds, software-defined networking, SD-WAN, and other cloud technologies. Successful candidates demonstrate an understanding of the deployment, implementation, and configuration of various Juniper Networks cloud technologies. You can take the Associated certification or the Specialist certification. The JNCIA-Cloudcertifications are valid for three years, so you will need to undertake recertification. 

Cloud, Associate (JNCIA-Cloud)

Designed for networking professionals with introductory-level knowledge of Juniper Networks cloud-based networking architectures, theory, and best practices, this written exam verifies your understanding of cloud-based networking principles andtechnologies. This is also a prerequisite for the Specialist exam.

Cloud, Specialist (JNCIS-Cloud)

This is designed for networking professionals with more of an intermediate knowledge of software-defined networking, theory, and best practices. This will validate your deeper understanding of software-defined networking principles and technologies. In order to take this, you must first have passed the JNCIA exam.

There is an abundant selection of Cloud-related certifications.  You will find vendor-specific certifications from companies such as Google, IBM, Red Hat, Rackspace, Oracle etc. You can also obtain a CCP (Cloud Certified Professional) which is more generalist rather than a vendor specific certification. The NCTA (NationalCloud Technologists Association) also have their own CloudMASTER certification, which again is not tied to a particular vendor and definitely worth exploring.