Cloud

Cloud roles top list of ‘highest-paying’ tech certifications

Certified cloud architects and engineers bring problem-solving prowess that companies will pay up for.
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It pays to be certified in specific cloud roles on specific cloud platforms, according to a recent list from educational-tech company Skillsoft.

A survey of more than 1,900 IT professionals revealed that certified engineers and architects of Google Cloud and AWS end up with high IT salaries, thanks to demand for their expertise as orgs pack up their apps and move off-prem.

“A really skilled cloud architect can shave 10%, 15% off your cloud costs, just making the proper decisions. That ultimately pays for a fairly large salary itself,” Greg Fuller, Skillsoft senior director, told IT Brew.

The tech-training platform released its “20 top-paying IT certifications” in the United States, pulled from the IT Skills and Salary survey it conducted between May and September.

The top five average annual salaries:

  • Google Cloud – Professional Cloud Architect ($200,960)
  • Google Cloud – Professional Data Engineer ($193,621)
  • PMP® (Project Management Professional) ($176,116)
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional ($174,137)
  • CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) ($167,396)

While PMP and security badges ranked highly, other certifications from AWS and Google Cloud (like AWS Solutions Architect and Google Cloud Associate Cloud Engineer) reached the top 10—a sign that orgs aren’t putting all their apps in one virtual basket. Google Cloud has momentum as a company’s second or third option, as companies seek redundancy, Fuller said.

“I don’t think any one IT organization wants to be 100% invested in one provider,” he told IT Brew.

A 2023 “State of the Cloud” report from the IT-management company Flexera revealed a “drift toward single public cloud usage;” still, 87% of the 750 surveyed IT professionals and executive leaders said they’re going multi-cloud.

Also in the Flexera research, conducted in 2022 and released in March: AWS and Azure were the most widely used options, surpassing Google Cloud Platform, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, IBM Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud.

James Stanger, “chief technology evangelist” at the cert issuer and nonprofit trade group CompTIA, has seen a healthcare facility for seniors employ a cloud architect to pull together real-time sensor data and patient-specific info like medication history, and then encrypt that collection and connect it to legacy systems like data-center-based schedulers—all in an effort to provide automatic staff alerts to prevent falls. Such a complex setup requires expertise.

“A cloud architect is somebody who really kind of solves problems,” Stanger said.

They also solve cost equations.

Cloud-hosted AI services are “extremely expensive to run,” according to Fuller, because they rely on “data modeling [and] high processing power.” Any unnecessary usage is wasted money.

“A good cloud architect really uses a lot of precision just to make sure the right services are running at the right times.”

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.