Cloud tech certifications count more than degrees now

Learning is prioritizing tactical over strategic for cloud-based skills

Cloud tech certifications count more than degrees now

Of the 10 major computing certifications that attract the largest salaries in North America, you might not be surprised that four are cloud related. The Google Cloud Platform Cloud Architect certification brings in real money, with certificate holders making an average annual salary of $152,129. AWS has three different certifications: Solutions Architect Associate, SysOps Administrator Associate, or Developer Associate. If you’re holding any of those certifications, you’ll likely make at least $130,000 a year depending on where you live.

If you think the economic downturn from COVID-19 has depressed some of the demand and salaries, you would be dead wrong. Cloud migration has accelerated in response to enterprises seeing the vulnerabilities in maintaining physical hardware and software during the pandemic. You can think of it as accelerating from 60 mph to 75 mph in just a few months. The best evidence of this is the spike in cloud usage reported by public cloud providers since the crisis began.

What’s most interesting about today is that a few things have changed.

First, the acceptance of virtual training as a real path to learning. This training is self-paced, on-demand, and should be much cheaper than a traditional education.

Second, is the new dependence on tactical certifications, such as the ones mentioned above. These short-term courses and certifications are now preferred more than traditional four-year degrees, including a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information systems.

Higher education saw this trend coming. Many institutions now offer these certifications as a part of a degree program or continuing education. Students can earn the certifications along with a degree or just the certifications. Either way, they get paid.

A few trends are emerging: Education is becoming more event-driven, with a focus on current marketable skills and an understanding that learning can never stop. You’ll have to understand when it’s time to move to other growing technologies to optimize your take-home pay. Today the market wants cloud skills.

Those hiring are being a bit more open-minded these days. The requirement to have a college degree, for instance, is often less important, as long as candidates have the proper recent cloud certifications that prove they can be productive on day one.

Although many push back against change, especially the quick changes we’ve experienced in just the past few months, perhaps this is a step in the right direction. I’ve never understood why young people need to rack up as much as $150K in student loans that burden their success for years.

This approach means we are able to optimize the way we learn, getting the best bang for our buck while enterprises get the skills they need when they need them. Win-win for everyone.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.