Best Cloud Computing Certifications in 2017

IT professionals with solid cloud computing skills continue to be in high demand as more companies adopt cloud technologies. With new credentials constantly popping up, how do you choose the cloud computing certification that's right for you? Here's an updated list of our five best cloud certs.

Throughout the past several years, no other area of IT has generated as much hype, interest and investment as cloud computing. Though the term can have different meanings for different users, there's no doubt that the cloud is now a permanent fixture for end users and service providers, as well as companies and organizations of all sizes around the world. As a result, cloud computing attracts considerable coverage and attention from certification providers and companies that offer cloud-related products, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and VMware, among countless others.

Microsoft is expected to grow to 30 percent of the cloud product revenue by 2018.An excellent Forbes article summarizes key statistics regarding the current cloud computing landscape along with a look to the future. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the dominant cloud computing player, followed by Microsoft Azure, the Rackspace Public Cloud and VMware's vCloud. 

An estimated 64 percent of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) also use cloud-based applications, with 78 percent of businesses indicating that they are planning to buy new cloud-based solutions in the next few years.The cloud infrastructure and platform market is projected to generate roughly $38 billion in revenue and expected to top $173 billion by 2026. And cloud services aren't limited to large corporations and enterprises.

A close examination of what's available to IT professionals by way of cloud-related certifications shows a large and growing number of credentials. For 2017, the best cloud computing certifications include both vendor-neutral and vendor-specific certification options from some top players in the market. However, certification providers watch technology areas carefully and seldom jump into any of them until clear and strong interest has been indisputably established.

Cloud professionals can expect to earn a healthy income. SimplyHired reports average salaries for cloud administrators at just less than $83,000, while cloud developers average $101,193 annually. Cloud architects are the big winners, with average earnings coming in at $130,000 and some salaries listed as high as $176,000.

Before you peruse our list of the best cloud certifications for 2017, take a look at our overview of the relative frequency at which the top five picks show up in job postings. Keep in mind that these results are a snapshot in time.

* Refers to the EMC Cloud Architect (EMCCA) certification. Searching for "EMCCA" only resulted in disproportionately low numbers. Using "EMC cloud" as a search term produces job listings that include the EMCCA certification by its acronym, refer to the EMC Cloud certification in general, and/or mention EMC cloud experience as a preference or requirement.

** The MCSE: Private Cloud credential will retire in March 2017. The MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification launched in September 2016 and doesn't appear in job listings yet. We searched "MCSE Cloud."

Read on to learn about some of the best cloud computing certifications for IT pros available today. Hopefully this information is helpful to you. Happy hunting!