A common question asked at the 757 Python User Group is “should I get a certification for coding?” Generally a question from someone getting started in the coding world and trying to figure out where to start. My typical answer is certifications that are not associated with the three big cloud providers (AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud) are not super useful. But certificates from the three big cloud providers are very useful and should be pursued. The certification process is a great way to learn what the cloud is and how to get started making things in the cloud. The cloud is very motivated to get you developing in their cloud and the preparation for earning a certification really helps you become a decent coder. And at the end of the day everyone’s goal should be improving their coding abilities so that we can build useful applications and the cloud certifications are a great way to do this.

I will try to shed some light on how certifications work in the cloud space.

Preferred Partner Certifications

With the popularity of the cloud and the challenges associated with finding good help developing in it a significant value has been put in these certifications. Companies will pay high salaries for people with certifications that their background may not support. This can be due to the requirements for a preferred partnership with a cloud provider. The cloud companies have so many customers they need to partner with outside companies to help customers build in the cloud. But to make sure the external companies are competent they have a long list of requirements. One major requirement is cloud certifications based on number of employees. In the past it was raw numbers, so one person could have five certifications and they would count for the company’s total, but recently this has changed and there are per total employees with limits on how many each employee can hold.

This makes people with certifications very important. Many companies become preferred partners and this serves as their main source of customers. So if someone has a certification they need they may pay a higher salary to get that person and keep in good standings with the preferred partner program.

Other Certs

I have not heard of programs (as large or lucrative) outside of the cloud preferred partnerships that put as much weight into certifications. I know of people who have earned certifications in coding languages, such as Python, for professional reasons but this did not map to direct compensation like the cloud certifications do. Not a bad thing, but just keep this in mind as you determine what type of certifications to earn.

What Cert Should I Get?

Here are some things to look for.

  • What partnership programs are they in?
    • Get the certs of the cloud(s) they partner with.
  • Are they a consultancy?
    • Consultancies depend on partnerships more than other types of companies.
  • Is it required for hiring? Or do they have a program for certifications once working there?
    • Sometimes bonuses for earning certifications are only available if you earned it while employed there. So get the minimum to get hired and earn the rest with the bonus structure. (Can be a couple thousand dollars for some certifications)
  • Bonuses for certifications?
    • See above
  • Survey LinkedIn see what their employees have.
    • This is a good indicator of that they are looking for.
  • Tech degrees versus certifications?
    • Some places choose to focus on only certifications and don’t care about ones background and others have formal education requirements. Look into this before planning your path.

Another thing to consider. Many places are of the opinion that if you were able to earn one certification you can earn more. Even in different clouds. So getting one certification is a big milestone and gives you a greater edge than you may think. An employer may hire you with the expectation you get a different cloud certification once working there. Since you’ve proven you can earn certifications they will invest in you.

What Types of Certs are There?

Many companies, services, and products have certifications, but each one is different and requires some research. Here is a list of companies and services that I have seen offer certifications.

  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • Oracle
  • Twilio - not sure about these though
  • Databases - too many to list
  • Python
  • Java
  • C++

This is just a very basic list of certifications I have seen people I work with earn for professional reasons.


Certifications are a great way to be noticed and help you get in the door, but don’t lose sight of the real goal - the ability to develop in an environment. At the end of the day companies need code that drives business and the only way to accomplish this is with people who can develop reliable code. So certifications are good but always push yourself to be able to deliver good code.

Adam & Patrick thank you for suggesting edits!

An interesting post on AWS certifications by Alex Chan in ‘Last Week in AWS’ of the Duckbill Group is a good read. LINK