The Best Software and Cloud Computing Certifications

3 min read

Share this Article

  • Professionals can earn skills-focused certifications to access new careers and higher pay.
  • Certifications often cover specific software, such as Salesforce and Google Analytics.
  • Some certifications focus on a certain role, such as Microsoft Azure administrator or architect.

Earning a professional certification is a less costly and quicker way to gain new skills, as compared to going back to school for a master's or doctoral degree. Professionals generally pursue a certification to prepare for a new career or access a more lucrative position in their current field. In the information technology field, professionals can earn certifications related to a specific software/product or occupation.

This guide explains the benefits and requirements of several popular IT certifications, including credentials for advertising professionals in platforms like Salesfore and Google Analytics. It also delves into the rapidly growing cloud computing industry, covering certifications for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to Start Your Journey?

Although your success after earning a certification may vary depending on your field and level of experience, the boost to your career could be significant. For example, according to Global Knowledge, the average AWS-certified cloud practitioner earns $131,470 annually.

Top 4 Software Certifications


Salesforce provides an online platform for managing customer relations, including service, sales, and marketing. Salesforce certifications provide training in Salesforce programs and platforms, and these credentials signal expertise to employers. The company offers 30 different certifications, including options for administrators, application architects, development lifecycle and deployment designers, and education cloud consultants.

Most Salesforce certifications require candidates to sit for an exam. Some certifications also include prerequisites. For example, to earn a B2B commerce architect certification, professionals must first earn a B2B commerce developer certification from Salesforce.

All certifications include educational courses and guides for applicants. Exam costs range from $200-$6,000.

HubSpot Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing helps businesses tailor content specifically for their users. HubSpot offers different "hubs," or types of software for businesses and professionals, including marketing, sales, service, and content management software.

A HubSpot inbound marketing certification indicates that professionals know how to attract and engage customers that will support their business. The certification process covers marketing fundamentals and includes lessons in sales and service.

HubSpot certification requires six lessons and four quizzes. HubSpot also provides 15 videos for applicants. Professionals can typically finish the certification process in two hours or less. HubSpot offers certification courses and exams for free.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics allows companies to track how users interact with their websites. This program offers data on how many users responded to Google ads, how many unique clicks a website receives, and how much traffic a website receives over time.

Professionals who earn a Google Analytics certification know how to analyze and report data collected by Google Analytics. Armed with better information about how users interact with their webpage, businesses can make changes to increase their website's effectiveness.

Google offers certification courses for free through the Analytics Academy. Each course helps professionals learn about specific Google Analytics tools and abilities.

Google Ads

Formally called AdWords, Google Ads is an online advertising service that allows clients to display targeted videos, product listings, and other advertisements to internet users based on cookies and keywords. Marketing and IT professionals can earn Google Ads certification through Skillshop. There are six certification options: Google Ads apps, Google Ads display, Google Ads measurement, Google Ads search, Google Ads video, and shopping ads.

Google recommends that candidates have practical experience with the Ads platform and knowledge of advertising best practices. They can also prepare for the 75-minute exam by taking free Skillshop courses. Candidates need to score at least 80% to pass, and these certifications last for one year.

Top 5 Cloud Computing Certifications

Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect

Google Cloud technology allows users to store data and applications online for easy use and access. Google Cloud can support individual users or entire companies.

Google certification for professional cloud architects indicates that candidates know how to use Google Cloud technology and build architecture for their business. These workers can store data securely and optimize their online business processes.

Professionals must pass a $200 exam. Google recommends that candidates have at least three years of experience in network architecture and at least one year of experience with Google Cloud before taking the exam.

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

AWS Cloud Computing Services offers many options for individual users and companies, including analytics, cost management, machine learning, and front-end web and mobile services. AWS certified cloud practitioner certification signals that a professional understands all facets of AWS cloud services. Certified practitioners can also identify and potentially solve technical issues with the AWS cloud.

AWS certification requires candidates to pass a $100 exam. Amazon recommends that professionals have at least six months of experience with AWS Cloud Computing Services and a basic understanding of IT services in general before taking the test. Amazon also offers training courses for professionals interested in certification.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate

AWS also offers cloud services certification for cloud architects. Cloud architects design front-end and back-end platforms, create cloud-based delivery systems, and help companies build their network.

Candidates who earn the AWS certified solutions architect - associate certification know how to use AWS cloud services to build applications and create networking infrastructure. Certified professionals have the ability to see a networking project through from beginning to end.

To earn this credential, individuals must pass a multiple-choice test that costs $150. Candidates should have previous experience in cloud architecture and networking before taking the exam. Professionals can take training courses and practice exams through AWS to prepare.

Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate

Released in 2010, Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service that enables clients to build, test, implement, and analyze applications using a variety of Microsoft-specific and third-party programming languages. Professionals who become Microsoft certified Azure administrator associates demonstrate their ability to work as part of an organization's cloud infrastructure team.

To earn this certification, candidates pay $165 to take an exam that measures five core content areas. They should have at least six months of experience implementing Azure services, as well as a firm grasp of PowerShell and related resource manager templates. A variety of companies offer exam preparation programs, including the massive open online course provider Udemy.

Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert

Azure administrators who want to advance their careers and boost their salaries can pursue the Microsoft certified Azure solutions architect expert certification. An architect's role generally involves finding viable cloud solutions to meet business goals and requirements.

Candidates must pass the Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies and Microsoft Azure Architect Design exams to become certified. These tests measure a professional's ability to implement and monitor Azure infrastructure, as well as create security solutions to protect user identity and business continuity. Due to the breadth of topics, candidates must often fill in gaps in their knowledge by taking self-paced courses from providers like Cloud Academy.

Feature Image: Maskot / Maskot / Getty Images is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare Your School Options

View the most relevant schools for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to finding your college home.