Top 10 cloud computing certifications

Looking for a way to benchmark your cloud computing knowledge and skills? Want an extra edge when looking for that cloud computing job? Get cloud computing certified.

cloud certifications
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As the cloud becomes more critical to IT departments and businesses worldwide, it can be difficult to gauge whether you have the right skills or knowledge in a competitive job market. If you're looking for a way to get an extra edge -- whether you're job hunting, angling for a promotion, or just want tangible, third-party proof of your skills -- cloud certification is a great option. Certifications measure your knowledge and skills against industry- and vendor-specific benchmarks to prove to employers that you have the right mix of cloud skills, knowledge, and expertise. Here 10 ten cloud computing certifications you should consider.

1. CCSK -- Cloud Security Alliance
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1. CCSK -- Cloud Security Alliance

What it's all about: This is the mother of all cloud computing security certifications. The Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge certification is vendor-neutral, and certifies competency in key cloud security areas. The test is based on the Cloud Security Alliance Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing V3, English language version, and the ENISA report "Cloud Computing: Benefits, Risks and Recommendations for Information Security."

How to prepare: The best way to prepare is to study the CSA Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing v3, and the ENISA report "Cloud Computing: Benefits, Risks, and Recommendations for Information Security."

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2. Cloud U -- Rackspace
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2. Cloud U -- Rackspace

What it's all about: According to Rackspace, Cloud U is a vendor-neutral curriculum designed for IT professionals and business leaders that covers and certifies knowledge of the fundamentals of Cloud Computing. Cloud U content is available to any professional at any time, but if you want a formal recognition of your knowledge about Cloud Computing, you should complete the courses and requirements for a certificate.

How to prepare: Study each Cloud U lesson whitepaper, and then successfully complete each of 10 Cloud U lesson quizzes based on the whitepaper's content. Successfully complete a 50-question final exam drawn from materials covered in the 10 Cloud U lessons.

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3. CompTIA Cloud Essentials -- Comp TIA
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3. CompTIA Cloud Essentials -- Comp TIA

What it's all about: According to CompTIA, the Cloud Essentials Certification covers the basic fundamentals of cloud computing and shows that individuals understand cloud computing from both a business and a technical perspective. In addition, the certification covers migration to the cloud and governance of cloud computing environments.

How to prepare: CompTIA offers study and training materials, and -- while it's not required -- CompTIA recommends that individuals taking the exam have at least six months experience working in an IT services environment.

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4. Cloud Certified Professional -- CloudSchool.com
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4. Cloud Certified Professional -- CloudSchool.com

What it's all about: CloudSchool.com offers a number of vendor-neutral cloud certifications, each based on a one-day course module and aimed at competency in specific areas of cloud computing. There are certificates for Cloud Architects, Cloud Technology Professionals, Cloud Governance, and Cloud security, among others.

How to prepare: Cloud School offers self-study kits as well as on-site and remote workshops and study sessions and instructor-led workshops to help prepare applicants for the exams.

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5 &  6. IBM Certified Cloud Solution Architect v1 and v3 - IBM
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5 & 6. IBM Certified Cloud Solution Architect v1 and v3 - IBM

What it's all about: IBM has two cloud-specific certification: IBM Certified Solution Architect v1 and v3. These solutions architects will demonstrate the design, plan, architecture and management capabilities for IBM's cloud computing infrastructure once they've completed the certification requirements. According to IBM, these certifications, "Provide a reliable, valid and fair method of assessing skills and knowledge; provide IBM a method of building and validating the skills of individuals and organizations; and to develop a loyal community of highly skilled certified professionals."

How to prepare: You should have a working knowledge of cloud fundamentals and a basic knowledge of IBM cloud computing essentials. You will be required to take a test to confirm that knowledge for each version of the certification exam.

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7. Google Certified Deployment Specialist -- Google
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7. Google Certified Deployment Specialist -- Google

What it's all about: This is Google's technical certification; the applications giant also has a Google Certified Sales Specialist. This certification covers the fundamental skills, knowledge and technical expertise required to deploy Google Apps for Business and Education, according to Google.

How to prepare: Google recommends gaining practical experience by participating in at least three Google Apps for Business deployments, and having at least 3 to 6 years of hands-on IT experience. You'll also complete hands-on, online, self-paced training and, finally, take an exam.

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8. Salesforce.com Certified Professional -- Salesforce.com
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8. Salesforce.com Certified Professional -- Salesforce.com

What it's all about: Salesforce.com offers several certification tracks, including Salesforce Administrator, Force.com Developer, Implementation Expert, and Architect.

How to prepare: According to Salesforce.com, the certification tests real-world knowledge as much as book learning, and each certification track offers a variety of ways to prepare for the exams. There are individualized programs available for everyone available on the company's web site.

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9. VMware Certified Professional - VMware
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9. VMware Certified Professional - VMware

What it's all about: The virtualization pioneer offers six cloud-specific certifications, from beginner to advanced. These tracks certify knowledge and expertise in a variety of cloud and virtualization-related technologies and methodologies. Offerings include the VMware Certified Associate -- Cloud, VMware Certified Professional -- Cloud, and VMware Certified Advanced Professional, among others.

How to prepare: Study and preparation materials are available through VMware, and real-world experience with cloud and virtualization are also highly recommended.

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10. Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Infrastructure-as-a-Service -- Red Hat
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10. Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Infrastructure-as-a-Service -- Red Hat

What it's all about: This is one of the newest cloud certifications available. The Red Hat Certificate measures professionals' ability to design, build, deploy and manage private clouds based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack platform.

How to prepare: Red Hat says the best way to prepare for the exam is hands-on, real-world experience. The exam is also a live, real- world test of skills and competency, requiring candidates to perform tasks on a live system.

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