(Representative image)Cloud, security and governance related certifications are today among the most valued in the technology industry. It’s a reflection of the kind of changes the world has seen since the pandemic and the resulting lockdowns. As Times Techies stories have pointed out in the past few months, there’s a massive movement to the cloud. And given the pace of digital transformation, security and privacy have become paramount.
A study done by talent consulting firm Han Digital, and shared exclusively with Times Techies, shows that the cloud solutions architect certifications from Google Cloud, AWS and Microsoft Azure are among the top certifications today in India. Professionals completing these certifications draw the biggest salaries, going up to Rs 50-60 lakh per year. VMware’s data centre virtualisation certification is also among Han Digital’s top nine certifications. This too certifies you as a cloud transformation expert.
Four of the top nine certifications are in the areas of security, governance and risk. These include ISACA’s Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification and Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) certification. ISACA is a global association that provides IT professionals with knowledge and training in audit, governance, risk, and privacy. CISA and CRISC were also ranked among the top fifteen highest-paying certifications globally in the 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report of Global Knowledge, an organisation that trains technology professionals.
Han Digital founder Saravanan Balasundaram says over the last few years, relevant IT certifications have become inevitable to gain a competitive advantage. He says their research has found that 65% of professionals believe getting an IT certification not only helps them gain proficiency, but also improves their profile credibility. “About 35% of professionals holding in-demand certifications fetch a 15-20% premium over the median salary,” he says.
Han Digital data shows that the demand for cloud-ready talent has shot through the roof since the beginning of the pandemic. It says India has 6 lakh cloud practitioners, of which 3.7 lakh have one cloud certification each. But only 85,000 have one of the top 5 cloud certifications.
Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect (CGP) is among Han Digital’s top certifications. It advances a professional’s career path in cloud architecture across networking, management tools, storage, and database services. The median salary of those with this certification is Rs 28 lakh per annum, and those who are very good could command up to Rs 60 lakh per annum. These are cloud professionals with 7-8 years of relevant experience.
Anil Bhansali, VP – engineering and head of India’s development centre for Google Cloud, says its certifications validate an individual’s expertise in the latest cloud skills. A recent whitepaper, he said, found that 87% of Google Cloud-certified individuals are more confident about their cloud skills. And more than one in four Google Cloud certified individuals took on more responsibility or leadership roles at work. “In fact, 78% of survey participants are satisfied with how accurately Google Cloud certifications validated their skills for a particular role,” he says.
Google’s professional cloud architect and professional data engineer are the second and third top-paying certifications worldwide according to the Global Knowledge 2020 skills report. Other popular Google certifications include those for cloud security engineer, cloud network engineer, cloud DevOps engineer, machine learning engineer, and collaboration engineer.
An AWS certified cloud solutions architect draws a median salary of Rs 25 lakh and a maximum of Rs 55 lakh per annum, Han Digital’s data shows. The certification validates skillsets around migrating multi-tier applications on AWS and designing a hybrid architecture. “Cloud is front and centre today,” says Amit Mehta, head – training & certification in Amazon Internet Services (AISPL). “In 2020, you couldn’t have been operational if you didn’t have a cloud. Professionals realise that someone is going to have their lunch without having a cloud competence. This has created a perfect storm for reskilling,” he says.
ISACA’s CISA certification is geared towards mid-career professionals with at least five years of professional work experience in auditing, control, security and cybersecurity. The CRISC certification is ideal for mid-career professionals engaged in enterprise risk management and control.
Nader Qaimari, chief product officer at ISACA, says around the world last year, there were dramatic changes in the workplace due to the pandemic, and during this time, they found interest increasing in ISACA’s certifications. “Many professionals were looking for ways to continue to build their skills and demonstrate expertise in IT audit, risk management and privacy to grow in their current jobs or pursue new roles,” he says.