10 top vendor-neutral cloud computing certifications

Looking for a way to benchmark your cloud computing knowledge and skills without being locked into a particular vendor? Want an extra edge when looking for that cloud computing job? One or more of these vendor-neutral certifications may be your ticket to advancement.

vendor neutral cloud cert title
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vendor-neutral cloud computing certifications

As the cloud becomes more critical to IT departments and businesses worldwide, it's difficult to gauge whether you have the right skills or knowledge to advance in a competitive job market. If you're looking for a way to get that 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, especially those that are vendor-neutral.

Certifications measure knowledge and skills against industry benchmarks to prove to employers that you have the right mix of cloud skills, knowledge and expertise. Here are 10 vendor-neutral cloud computing certifications you should consider in 2015.

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1. CompTIA Cloud Essentials

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.

http://certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/cloud.aspx

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2. Cloud U

What it's all about: Delivered by cloud provider 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. CloudU 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 quizzes based on the whitepaper's content. Successfully complete a 50-question final exam drawn from materials covered in the ten Cloud U lessons.

http://www.rackspace.com/knowledge_center/cloudu/

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3. Cloud Security Alliance Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

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."

CSA Guidance

ENISA

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4. CloudSchool.com Certified Cloud Technology Professional

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, study sessions and instructor-led workshops to help prepare applicants for the exams.

http://cloudschool.com/certifications

AWS Certified Solutions Architect
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5. AWS Certified Solutions Architect

What it's all about: Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certifications recognize IT professionals that possess the skills and technical knowledge necessary for designing, deploying, and operating applications and infrastructure on AWS. There are three associate level and two professional level certifications currently offered.

How to prepare: Amazon offers study materials, practice exams and introductory, advanced and specialized courses and training on its website.

http://aws.amazon.com/certification/

Arcitura Education Cloud Certified Professional
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6. Arcitura Education Cloud Certified Professional

What it's all about: The Cloud Certified Professional program from the Arcitura Cloud School is focused on general cloud computing technology, architecture, security, governance and capacity. Founded by best-selling author Thomas Erl, this curriculum enables IT professionals to develop real-world cloud computing proficiency. There are eight cloud computing specialties available.

How to prepare: Arcitura Education offers on-site training, public workshops and self-study materials through its website. Each certification exam also has a corresponding one-day course module.

http://www.arcitura.com

Cloud Credential Council
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7. Cloud Credential Council

What it's all about: The Cloud Credential Council (CCC) is an international body that drives standards training and certification for cloud computing pros. The CCC is independent and vendor-neutral, and members come from the public sector and academic institutions, cloud providers, cloud consumers, cloud brokers, professional associations and international certification bodies from across the world. The certifications are geared toward cloud consumers, cloud vendors or cloud solutions, and service providers that want to improve their skills in defining, choosing, building, operating and managing cloud services. Currently, CCC offers two associate level and five professional level cloud certifications.

How to prepare: The Cloud Credential Council offers courses and preparation material on its website.

http://www.cloudcredential.org/

Cloud Genius
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8. Cloud Genius

What it's all about: Cloud Genius certification offers certificates on cloud technologies, cloud/DevOps automation and cloud architecture and design. The program is heavily focused on hands-on experiential learning. The coursework requires twice-weekly on-campus attendance, as well as team collaboration on real-life projects. The program also offers a solid foundation in cloud technologies, modern DevOps practices and some basic programming in Ruby and Chef.

How to prepare: Each certificate requires, at minimum, 24 classroom hours (three hours, twice a week for four weeks). In addition, the program directors suggest devoting additional time to view video lectures, working on group projects and practicing materials you've learned.

http://be.a.cloudgeni.us/

Cloud Institute
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9. Cloud Institute

What it's all about: The Cloud Institute Certification program is based on the findings and recommendations of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is geared toward greater and faster cloud adoption in government and public service verticals. The program also includes a focus on security and privacy challenges. There are currently two online certification programs, Certified Cloud Architect and Certified Cloud Professional, and one open assessment available.

How to prepare: Cloud institute advises certification candidates to use the publications offered by the NIST as a basis for study, and to use the free Open Exam to identify areas where more work is needed. The Institute also recommends candidates have working experience in enterprise cloud technology, SOA design or development, cloud-related services and application, and/or storage-centric services.

http://cloud-institute.org/

Exin Certifications
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10. Exin Cloud Computing Foundation

What it's all about: Exin offers two certification levels, Cloud Computing Foundation and Cloud Technologies Advanced. The programs cover main cloud computing concepts as well as what's involved in planning, procurement and management. The certification is geared toward DevOps professionals responsible for making the business case for cloud solutions, evaluating vendors and systems, and then integrating them with legacy technologies.

How to prepare: Exin offers exam preparation guides and sample exams as well as eBooks covering these concepts. These materials are available on its Web site.

https://www.exin.com/US/en/certifications/