The 11 Google Cloud Certifications and What They Pay Around the World

March 21, 2024 | What's Hot | 12 min read

People with professional certifications earn higher salaries on average than their counterparts without, but some certifications have more value. Architects and engineers with Google Cloud certifications earn some of the highest salaries in the tech industry.

This year, Skillsoft's annual IT Skills and Salary survey collected thousands of responses from professionals worldwide to understand how certifications can impact one's career.

Google Cloud certifications help earn professionals exceedingly high salaries, evidenced by this year's top-paying certifications list in the United States. At the top sits Google Cloud's Professional Cloud Architect, which has appeared on this list for the past five years.

But why? Why are certifications like these topping the list of highest-paying certifications?

Google Cloud certifications earn professionals high salaries because of the continued demand for skills in cloud, machine learning and AI, and cybersecurity.

Skills alone can lead to high salaries and favorable job prospects, but certification increases your chances of standing out to recruiters and hiring managers, given the assurances they provide. In other words, certifications prove you have the skills and knowledge to be successful in the role. When extending an offer, hiring managers will feel more confident knowing you’re certified.

Further, the supply of professionals never seems to measure up — especially as more companies turn to cloud-based solutions to support their goals. And of those with these skills, most have a knowledge gap, according to Skillsoft’s findings. IT and tech leaders say their team's skills in this arena are good for the most part, but they could be better.

The highest percentage of tech leaders (37%) say their team's cloud skills are medium on a scale of low to high. Only 13% say their team's skills are high; on the opposite end, one-quarter say they're somewhat low (18%) or low (7%). Tech leaders feel similarly about data science, cybersecurity, and machine learning.

It's a mixed bag today, which doesn't allow team leaders to rest as easily as demand for these skills increases. Eighty-two percent of leaders think cloud skills will keep rising in demand, ultimately worsening the competition for talent.

For these reasons, Google Cloud certifications help professionals earn high salaries and enjoy job security.

Keep reading below as we give a high-level overview of the impact of Google Cloud certification on your career, then dig into each certification path to see which one(s) might be the best fit for you.

Why Get Google Cloud Certified?

There are several reasons why getting Google Cloud certified can be beneficial for your career, including:

Industry Recognition

Broadly, cloud computing is the second greatest area of investment for IT decision-makers in the year ahead, with Google Cloud recognized as a top vendor. Pursuing a Google Cloud certification recognizes a professional’s ability to administer, manage, secure, and otherwise work with one of the leading cloud providers on the market today.

More Job Prospects

Google Cloud certification helps you stand out in a competitive job market and makes you more attractive to potential employers. It also demonstrates a commitment to your profession and a willingness to learn and keep up with new technologies.

Out-Compete the Market

Google Cloud-certified professionals are in high demand, often earning higher salaries than their non-certified counterparts. The Skillsoft IT Skills and Salary report states that Google Cloud certifications are among the highest-paying certifications in the IT industry.

Personal-Professional Growth

The process of preparing for a Google Cloud certification helps deepen your knowledge of these technologies and enables you to learn new skills. Learners can choose which method is best for them: self-paced courses, live classes taught by an instructor, hands-on practice and exam preparation, and more.

To help you pass the certification exam, various resources are available from Google Cloud and learning providers like Skillsoft, Global Knowledge, and Codecademy.

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The Average Certification Holder

Age 36
Manages a team 33%
Holds a cybersecurity certification 42%
Average number of certifications 8
Most likely cross-certification vendor(s) AWS, Microsoft, ITIL
Average salary (worldwide) $133,238

Professional Cloud Network Engineer


The Professional Cloud Network Engineer certification tests the skills and knowledge required to design, implement, and manage secure, scalable, and highly available network solutions on Google Cloud. It's best suited for network engineers, cloud architects, and those responsible for implementing and managing networks. By earning this certification, network engineers and cloud architects can demonstrate their expertise in designing and managing secure and scalable network solutions.

To earn this certification, candidates must demonstrate proficiency in several key areas, including designing, implementing, and managing enterprise-grade network infrastructure; configuring network services such as Virtual Private Cloud (VPC); multi- and hybrid-cloud connectivity; cloud security; and optimizing network performance and reliability.

Candidates have two hours to complete the 50 to 60 questions on the exam, which costs $200. Google recommends three years of professional experience in this domain before sitting the exam, with at least one working with its platform.


SectionsApprox. Percent
Designing, planning, and prototyping a Google Cloud network 26%
Implementing Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) instances 21%
Configuring network services 23%
Implementing hybrid interconnectivity 14%

Professional Cloud Security Engineer


The Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification validates an individual's expertise in designing and implementing secure infrastructure on Google Cloud. It's best suited for security engineers with at least three years of professional experience in this domain, with at least one year working in Google Cloud.

Those engineers who plan to sit this exam must be proficient in securing workloads and infrastructure on Google Cloud. They must know how to configure the platform's security controls, monitor and respond to threats, and uphold network security defenses. Professionals in these roles often support compliance requirements, enforce regulatory controls, and define an organization's security policies.

Candidates earn this certification after passing the two-hour exam of 50 to 60 multiple-choice questions. It can be taken online or at a testing center, costing $200.


SectionsApprox. Percent
Configuring access 27%
Securing communications and establishing boundary protection 21%
Ensuring data protection 20%
Managing operations 22%

Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer


The Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer certification validates an individual's expertise in continuous delivery and automation, service monitoring, site reliability engineering (SRE), and more.

To earn this certification, candidates must pass a single exam covering various topics, such as bootstrapping organizations for DevOps and building and implementing CI/CD pipelines for a service. Google recommends having at least three years of professional experience, at least one working within the platform.

The two-hour exam costs $200, features up to 60 multiple-choice questions, and candidates may take it online or at a testing center.


SectionsApprox. Percent
Bootstrapping a Google Cloud organization for DevOps 17%
Building and implementing CI/CD pipelines for a service 23%
Applying site reliability engineering practices to a service 23%
Implementing service monitoring strategies 21%

Cloud Digital Leader


The Cloud Digital Leader certification is a foundational-level certification that validates a professional's knowledge of Google Cloud, its services, and its capabilities in supporting an organization's cloud initiatives. It also benefits those in a business-facing role who work collaboratively with technical professionals or those who work with multiple cloud providers and must understand the services of each.

To earn this certification, professionals must familiarize themselves with these areas:

  • Digital transformation with Google Cloud
  • Infrastructure and application modernization
  • Innovating with data and Google Cloud
  • Google Cloud security and operations

The exam costs $99 and gives professionals 90 minutes to complete the questions. There are no prerequisites for this exam. A new exam guide will take effect in March 2024.


SectionsApprox. Percent
Digital Transformation with Google Cloud 17%
Exploring Data Transformation with Google Cloud 16%
Innovating with Google Cloud Artificial Intelligence 16%
Modernize Infrastructure and Applications with Google Cloud 17%
Trust and Security with Google Cloud 17%
Scaling with Google Cloud Operations 17%

Professional Data Engineer


The Professional Data Engineer certification is for professionals who work with Google Cloud technologies to design, build, and manage data processing systems and workloads.

To earn this certification, candidates must demonstrate their proficiency in creating data processing systems; managing, monitoring and securing infrastructure; and preparing data for analysis and engineering, like in machine learning models.

The exam consists of 50 to 60 multiple-choice questions that test a candidate's knowledge of various Google Cloud services, including Cloud Storage, BigQuery, Cloud Dataflow, Pub/Sub, and Cloud Dataproc.

The exam costs $200. Candidates should have at least three years of experience before sitting the exam, including one working in Google Cloud.


SectionsApprox. Percent
Designing data processing systems 22%
Ingesting and processing the data 25%
Storing the data 20%
Preparing and using data for analysis 15%
Maintaining and automating data workloads 18%

Professional Cloud Developer


The Professional Cloud Developer certification proves a professional's ability to design, build, and manage robust, scalable applications with Google Cloud. Candidates who pursue this certification are familiar with at least one programming language, developer tools, managed services, and Google's best practices.

To earn this certification, candidates must pass the exam. The general availability exam costs $200, but developers can take a beta version starting March 27 to earn or recertify the certification. Doing so helps Google create a new, finalized version of the exam. It costs $120, takes up to three hours, and ranges between 70 and 75 questions. The GA exam lasts two hours and ranges between 50 and 60 questions.


Sections (General Availability Exam)Approx. Percent
Designing highly scalable, available, and reliable cloud-native applications 27%
Building and testing applications 20%
Deploying applications 18%
Integrating Google Cloud services 20%
Managing deployed applications 15%

Professional Cloud Architect


The Professional Cloud Architect certification offered by Google Cloud is for IT professionals who want to demonstrate their expertise in designing, developing, and managing robust and scalable cloud solutions using Google Cloud technologies. It's the highest-paying IT certification overall in the U.S. and the most popular Google Cloud certification, according to the IT Skills and Salary survey.

To earn the certification, candidates must pass the exam, which tests their ability to design and plan an enterprise cloud architecture, manage and provision cloud solutions, and ensure security and compliance.

For this exam, candidates will run into two case studies. These force candidates to apply their knowledge to realistic scenarios. Case study-related questions account for up to 30% of the exam. Like others, this exam costs $200 and features up to 60 questions. Candidates should have three years of professional experience before taking the test, with at least one working with Google Cloud.


SectionsApprox. Percent
Designing and planning a cloud solution architecture 24%
Managing and provisioning a solution infrastructure 15%
Designing for security and compliance 18%
Analyzing and optimizing technical and business processes 18%
Managing implementation 11%

Professional Cloud Database Engineer


The Professional Cloud Database Engineer certification is for more senior IT professionals focusing on creating and managing databases. Google recommends that these professionals have at least five years of professional experience, with at least two working specifically with the platform.

Candidates' experience must include creating, managing, and troubleshooting databases that applications use to store and retrieve data. In pursuing this certification, the exam is most heavily graded on a candidate's ability to design scalable, highly available database solutions.

The exam costs $200, spanning 50 to 60 questions, and lasts up to two hours. Again, this exam requires more experience than other professional-level certifications Google offers. Candidates should have at least five years of experience before sitting the test.


SectionApprox. Percent
Design scalable and highly available cloud database solutions 42%
Manage a solution that can span multiple database solutions 34%
Migrate data solutions 14%
Deploy scalable and highly available databases in Google Cloud 10%

Professional Machine Learning Engineer


The Professional Machine Learning Engineer certification suits those who build, maintain, and optimize ML models with Google Cloud technologies and supplementary tools. Candidates who plan to pursue this certification must feel comfortable with large datasets, writing reusable code, and promoting fair and ethical AI practices at all stages of development.

To earn this certification, candidates should be proficient in Python and Cloud SQL to answer some exam questions correctly. What's more, those after this certification must be familiar with the following:

  • Model architecture
  • Data and ML pipeline creation
  • Metrics interpretation
  • MLOps, application development
  • Data engineers and governance

Google says this certification doesn't cover generative AI, though. The reason is that it's moving too fast. Instead, Google offers different learning paths outside this certification, including for technical (developers) and non-technical professionals.

This exam costs $200, covers up to 60 questions, and lasts two hours. Professionals should have at least three years of experience before sitting the exam — at least one working with Google Cloud.


SectionsApprox. Percent
Architecting low-code ML solutions 12%
Collaborating within and across teams to manage data and models 16%
Scaling prototypes into ML models 18%
Serving and scaling models 18%
Automating and orchestrating ML pipelines 21%
Monitoring ML solutions 14%

Professional Google Workspace Administrator


The Professional Google Workspace Administrator is for systems administrators, cloud solutions engineers, or systems engineers responsible for their organization's Workspace. These professionals configure the organization's Workspace to support varying use cases and comply with policies and security standards. Administrators focus on efficiency, making it easy for people across the organization to use their Workspace and train team members to make the best use of it.

To earn this certification, candidates must pass the exam. It costs $200, includes up to 60 questions, and lasts up to two hours. Google recommends having at least three years, with one administering Google Workspace, before sitting the exam.


SectionsApprox. Percent
Managing objects 20%
Configuring services 18%
Troubleshooting 24%
Data access and authentication 24%
Supporting business initiatives 14%

Associate Cloud Engineer


The associate-level Google Cloud Engineer certification is for those with at least six months of experience working with the platform to plan, configure, and manage cloud environments. These professionals use the command line and Google Cloud Console in their day-to-day work to manage and secure cloud solutions.

To earn this certification, candidates must pass the exam. It costs $125, lasts up to two hours, and includes up to 60 questions. Again, candidates should have six months of hands-on experience working with Google Cloud technologies before sitting the exam.


SectionsApprox. Percent
Setting up a cloud solution environment 17.5%
Planning and configuring a cloud solution 17.5%
Deploying and implementing a cloud solution 25%
Ensuring successful operation of a cloud solution 20%
Configuring access and security 20%

How we built the List

This top-paying Google Cloud certifications list is based on survey responses from Skillsoft's 2023 IT Skills and Salary Survey conducted from May to September 2023. The survey asks respondents about their current jobs and experience, certifications and salaries, and more. Respondents encounter multiple choice and multi-select, open-ended, and other types of questions while taking the survey.

Technology providers, certification bodies, and Skillsoft distribute the survey to IT professionals worldwide. Google Cloud is a sponsor and supporter of the survey.

This list focuses on 703 respondents who reported having one or more Google Cloud certifications. When reporting salary figures, Skillsoft looks for at least 50 survey responses before considering relevance, demand, and other factors.

*Some of the salaries reported by respondents in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Asia-Pacific, and Latin American regions largely fall below that threshold. They are presented for continuity but lack statistical relevance. Salaries are not normalized based on cost of living or location.