The average annual salary for a cloud engineer can vary—a lot. These salaries depend on a few key factors, including your location, the industry you work in, and, increasingly, the number and types of cloud certifications under your belt. As demand for cloud engineers continues to rise, it’s time to consider the certification landscape.
How to evaluate cloud certification training
Certifications are a staple of the IT industry, typically broken down by roles or
technology. Certifications for networking, operating systems and virtualization are all
commonplace. However, the world of certifications has changed due to cloud
computing, so you need to be prepared to adapt.
For starters, Microsoft got rid of its server-based certifications in favor of Azure-based
ones. This change upset those with years of on-site experience with the Windows
Server OS who felt cut off overnight. But it’s safe to assume more vendors will do the
same as the cloud takes over more of the IT market.
Use the Cloud Practitioner badge as a practice run
Some experts recommend engineers jump straight to the higher-level certifications
and leave the Cloud Practitioner badge to sales reps and business managers.
However, you might benefit from getting acclimated to the certification process before
you move on to the higher certifications. Think of the Foundational badge as your
minimum viable certification, like the minimum viable product in software delivery.
You can master the material in as little as six hours of digital training, take the test and
then use this same process for the more complicated certifications.
AWS certification costs and resources
The only mandatory cost for each certification is the testing fee — $100 for
Foundational, $150 for Associate and $300 for Professional and Specialty. AWS
provides plenty of free digital training, along with a recommended reading list. You can
also buy a sample test directly from Amazon for $20 to $40. You may also want to
invest in supplementary training focused on each certification from various third
Here are a few other AWS cloud certification elements to note:
• Tests are administered by a third party, such as Pearson or Vue, and are
available in-person or online as a proctored exam.
• If you fail a test, you can take it again as often as you like, but you must wait at
least 14 days and pay the full test fee each time.
• If you pass a test, you are officially certified. However, certifications only last
three years. After that, you will need to take a recertification test on the
services AWS has added to this area — for a smaller fee.