The Best Free Online Courses for Cloud Computing
As an alternative to traditional IT infrastructure, cloud computing has become a popular choice for many businesses and organizations.
Removing the need for investment in and management of internal systems, the cloud offers remote access to services like storage, networking, databases and software, typically hosted by third parties and accessed on a pay-per-use arrangement.
This approach allows users to lower costs and boost efficiency, whilst offering flexibility, scalability and constant innovation.
As such, cloud computing is now one of the most sought after technical skills, with employers of all shapes and sizes seeking those who are capable of advising on, implementing and leveraging the benefits of cloud-based services.
What Are the Benefits of Having Cloud Computing Skills?
Cloud computing is both fast-paced and complex. Businesses need to understand the differences between deployment models, like public, private and hybrid solutions, as well as different service models including:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- serverless architecture
They also need to stay on top of continual innovation and build teams with the technical capabilities to implement and operate cloud services.
If you can bring these skills to the table, it can highly benefit your career growth.
Gain Skills in High Demand
As more businesses make the switch to cloud-based services, there’s an increasing need for those with expertise in this area.
DevOps, cloud migration, security and machine learning are all skills in high demand, and cloud-based jobs across the board are on the rise.
Improve Job Security
Businesses across both the US and the UK report difficulty in finding good IT professionals. If you equip yourself with the necessary skills you’ll become an invaluable employee.
In addition, with adoption growing year on year, cloud-based jobs offer increased security over those in dwindling IT practices.
Increase Your Income
Since cloud computing skills are in such high demand, they often come with a greater pay packet. Developers and cloud architects in particular have high earning potential.
Even acquiring the fundamentals of cloud knowledge can give you leverage to negotiate your salary in either your current role or a new opportunity.
In today’s competitive job market, any edge you can gain is a huge advantage, and cloud computing skills give you just that.
Potential employers will value your knowledge, as they look to invest in those capable of improving business performance. With cloud computing skills on your resume, you present yourself as a valuable asset for the future.
Who Might Benefit From Taking a Free Online Cloud Computing Course?
There are a number of free online courses in cloud computing available, designed for varying levels of experience.
You may find it beneficial to take one of these over a paid alternative in any of the following situations:
You Want to Gain Fundamental Knowledge Before a Degree
If you’ve already laid out a career path in cloud computing and are preparing to embark on a relevant degree program, taking a free online course in advance can help you make the most of your studies.
With foundational knowledge under your belt, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on the technical complexities, advancing your skill set at a quicker pace than starting from scratch.
You Want to Assess Course Materials Before Paying
Cloud computing courses vary widely in their content. Some focus on the exploration of cloud solutions, some on developing technical skills. Others relate specifically to service providers like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud.
Before you make a financial commitment to a course, it’s a good idea to make sure the content meets your own objectives by reviewing materials for free.
You Need to Learn About Cloud Computing for Work
If you’re in existing employment and your company has or intends to move to the cloud, a free online course is a good way to develop your understanding without too much time commitment.
As this would be considered a form of career development, some employers may allow you to complete the course during working hours.
You Want to Expand Your Skill Set
You don’t necessarily need a workplace requirement to complete a course in cloud computing. Some people may want to take one as a personal endeavor to expand their skill set and career potential.
In these cases, a free online cloud computing course is a great option, since it will give you the basic knowledge required to experiment with cloud computing at your own pace, and alongside your existing work responsibilities.
You’re Considering a Career Change
Finally, a free online cloud computing course is ideal for anyone thinking of a career change in this direction.
Some of the courses listed below not only offer cloud knowledge and skill but also explore opportunities within the field, helping you weigh up your options before pursuing a paid-for accredited course.
It’s worth noting here that cloud computing courses aren’t just beneficial for those working in IT.
There are many non-IT roles that can benefit from gaining cloud skills too, like those across sales, marketing and finance, where employers are increasingly required to work within cloud-based systems.
10 Best Free Online Courses for Cloud Computing in 2021
Below is our list of the 10 best free online courses in cloud computing, split into beginner and intermediate levels.
Courses vary in their approach and content, but whatever your knowledge and learning objectives are, there should be an option to suit.
Beginner Level Courses
This introductory level self-paced course is aimed at newcomers to cloud computing and takes around six weeks to complete based on one to two hours of study per week.
Seven modules are delivered through video tutorials, designed to provide foundational knowledge on the benefits of the cloud and its various applications.
You’ll learn about the evolution of cloud computing and current trends, and be introduced to prominent service providers.
You’ll also be given an overview of SaaS, IaaS and PaaS models, deployment models, key components, infrastructure and cloud security.
The course finishes with a look at the career opportunities available and the key skills required. There’s no prior knowledge needed, just a basic level of IT literacy.
On completion, verified certificates are available for $49, and those who wish to do so can advance to one of IBM’s professional certified courses.
Cloud Computing Basics from LearnQuest is a beginner-level course delivered through a series of video tutorials and reading materials.
Participants can work through modules at their own pace, starting with an introduction to the cloud and the different service models of SaaS, IaaS, PaaS and FaaS.
You’ll then move onto deployment models, and compare multiple hosting scenarios, as well as learning best practices for cloud computing in particular.
In the final modules, you’ll compare popular cloud services and receive an overview of emerging trends.
If you want to take part in graded assignments and receive a certificate of completion you’ll need to pay a fee, but video tutorials and reading materials are available for free.
On average, the course takes around nine hours to complete.
For those looking for a very basic introduction, Alison offers a free online course in cloud computing that takes a maximum of three hours to work through.
It provides limited knowledge when compared to other courses, but if you’re interested in exploring the cloud it’s a good place to start.
The course begins with a look at mobile communication before moving on to cloud computing in module two. Here you can work your way through short videos covering the very basics - an introduction to the cloud, different service models and key service providers.
You can watch the videos as just a bit of background research, or opt to complete the course assessment. If you achieve 80% or higher in this, you can request a digital certificate for $21 or a printed certificate for $27.
This free introductory course on cloud computing focuses on one of the most popular service providers, AWS.
Across a four-week program, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge needed to get started with AWS through video tutorials, reading materials and practical assessments.
Topics covered include navigation of the AWS console, database and storage options, compute services, networking and security.
The course is designed to enable you to identify the right solutions for various applications and build scalable solutions based on best practices.
Each weekly module requires between two and four hours of study, and there’s no prior knowledge needed.
If you wish to purchase a verified certificate for passing the course, you can do so for $149.
A more hands-on free online course in cloud computing is available from Udacity.
Another beginner-level option, here you’ll acquire both knowledge and skills through instructional videos and practical exercises.
It starts gently with lesson one, covering benefits, deployment models and providers. In lesson two, you’ll cover core concepts and start developing your skills by spinning up a virtual machine in the cloud.
From here on it’s all practical. You’ll complete tasks within the AWS console, set up a NoSQL database and explore serverless architecture.
All lessons are developed by industry professionals and can be completed at your own pace.
Due to its practical nature, the course can take up to two months to complete, and it’s recommended that you have some knowledge in areas like web servers and DNS.
Though there’s no certificate issued, the course will equip you with the necessary skills to start out in cloud computing.
Intermediate Level Courses
This eight-week intermediate-level course is a good option for those looking to explore the business benefits of cloud computing.
Course content covers public, private and hybrid deployment models, features and benefits of the various service models, and the key advantages of migrating to the cloud.
You’ll learn how the right solutions can boost productivity, as well as analyze the return on investment in cloud-based services.
This course differs somewhat in that it is instructor-led, runs to a schedule, and requires a time commitment of between eight and 10 hours per week.
To enroll, it’s requested that you hold an undergraduate degree in IT, Computer Science or other related discipline, and have existing knowledge of computer networking.
Verified certificates are available at a cost of $299 on course completion.
The next on our list of cloud computing free online courses is aimed at those looking to expand their knowledge of the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in particular.
This is an intermediate-level course and does require some preexisting knowledge, ideally within IP networking, web servers and virtual machines.
There are actually six courses in this program, and you can view materials for each at no cost. You’ll work through GCP services and infrastructure, explore the Google Cloud console, learn the fundamentals of cloud architecture and also how to deploy various applications.
There are graded assignments and practical labs available, but to take part in these you’ll need to subscribe to the course for a fee.
However, if you have a level of experience already, and are looking to apply this to the GCP, the free course materials may well suit your needs.
As with many of the courses covered here, this offering from the University of Illinois requires a paid subscription to complete in full, including certification, but all course content is available to view for free.
Five courses make up the specialization as a whole, covering core distributed computing concepts, systems, infrastructure, big data and cloud networking.
If you choose to subscribe to the paid version of the course, you’ll have the opportunity to apply your knowledge in a six-week project.
Video tutorials can be viewed on demand, and to make the most of the content, it’s recommended that you have a good level of IT literacy and experience with programming languages.
Another free course from the University of Maryland, this one focuses on risk, compliance and solutions management.
Across eight weeks, you’ll take an in-depth look at the business challenges of cloud computing, both in terms of implementation and ongoing maintenance and how to overcome them.
You’ll explore topics including procurement, service-level agreements and vendor management, cloud migration and systems rollout.
Again, this is an instructor-led course that runs to a fixed schedule, with between eight and 10 hours of study required each week.
The cost for a verified certificate on this course is $299.
The last on our list of cloud computing free online courses is specifically aimed at those responsible for making key decisions regarding business technology.
With a focus on enterprise architecture, you’ll learn best practice implementation through exploring existing applications and use case studies.
You’ll get to grips with key terminology, cover public and hybrid cloud models and discover the various capabilities of cloud service providers including IBM, AWS and Google Cloud.
This is a self-paced course, with six modules available over a six-week period, each taking between three and four hours to complete.
While enrollment is free, you will need to pay $149 if you wish to obtain a certificate.
As an intermediate-level course, it’s recommended that you have foundational cloud computing knowledge.
Cloud computing is an exciting area of technology, and many career opportunities exist within this growing field.
If you’re interested in pursuing such a career, there’s also a host of online resources available to help you achieve your goals, and whether you’re a complete beginner or looking to expand on existing knowledge, there’s likely a free online cloud computing course suitable for your needs.