5 Best Certifications For Software Developers

best certifications for software developers

The need for skill enhancement and continuous learning has never been so pronounced in the constantly evolving software development landscape. The job of developers has grown increasingly complex, and, as such, the impact of certifications – an invaluable means of demonstrating a developer’s proficiency with the technologies and/or methodologies required in the business – has grown with it. Certifications have risen in importance in the constellation of an occupation where the demand for skilled software developers continues to outstrip the supply. Employers are now searching for candidates boasting a perfect blend of academic qualifications and industry-recognized certifications.

Developers place great importance on certifications for several reasons, not the least of which is that they afford the developer a documented benchmark of skills and a tool for immediate expertise. Certifications also afford a practical way to grow and gain mastery within a given framework or technology daily, and they are a helpful benchmark for the employer. But, believe it or not, they have just as much to do with the employee.

Considering those things, we looked at some of the most highly sought-after software developer certifications and measured their market recognition and impact on one’s career. We also considered the relevance of the vendor’s technology with present and future software development trends. We also looked at the number of certifications the vendor has to offer. Of course, anyone who acquires one of these best software developer certifications will find it a lot easier to deepen their expertise or break into a new area of software development.

What Is Best Certifications For Software Developers?

Determining the best certifications for software developers can be somewhat subjective, as much depends on an individual’s goals, the technologies they work with, and the specific industry in which they work. Nevertheless, several certifications are well-regarded for the broad set of skills they impart to developers and that are recognizable within the tech community. For example, Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate is a widely recognized certification by Microsoft that demonstrates a developer’s ability to create applications on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. With the growth of cloud-based services, this certification has become invaluable for developers building applications “in the cloud.”

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), given by (ISC)², is an excellent certification for developers who build secure systems from a cybersecurity perspective. CISSP demonstrates an IT professional’s ability to design, implement, and manage a security program to protect organizations from security breaches. In a world where we’ve seen one cybersecurity incident after the next, developers with CISSP show that they understand cybersecurity protocols that should keep them at the forefront of solving security challenges. The AWS Certified Developer – Associate is a well-regarded certification for Amazon Web Service (AWS) developers. It demonstrates a developer’s expertise in building, deploying, and troubleshooting a full-scale application in AWS. As cloud-based applications continue to rise, so does the relevance of this certification.

The best certifications for software developers align with their career aspirations, the technologies they use, and the industries they work in. Whether it’s cloud computing, cybersecurity, or a specific set of programming languages, developers should always consider what skills they’d like to master, what their professional objectives are, and which certifications can help them demonstrate that expertise and advance their careers in this highly competitive field.

Benefits Of Best Certifications For Software Developers

Looking for the best certifications for software developers? Carrying a certification carries a bunch of perks that can raise your professional standing and send your career one giant leap in the right direction

1. Enhanced Skill Set

Achieving the best certifications for software developers demands rigorous training and an examination process that can refine and modernize a developer’s existing skill set. Certifications address the latest technologies, state-of-the-art best practices, and industry standards, ensuring that developers are always in the know and at the top of their game within their chosen area of expertise.

2. Increased Employability

When it comes to the fiercely competitive job market, certifications can serve as evidence that a software developer is knowledgeable and accomplished. Candidates with the relevant certifications are looked upon favorably by employers, as this shows that they have taken the time to be as good at their jobs as possible. This can massively improve employability and help open up new career avenues.

3. Industry Recognition

The best certifications are held in great esteem in the industry, and by simply having them, you’re validating for potential employers or your peers that you’ve passed a fairly rigorous exam and thus have a high level of knowledge and expertise. This is critical when applying for a job with a top company, trying to land a gig working for yourself… and can make a difference more often than not.

4. Career Advancement

Certifications often provide a formalized path for career advancement. Most of them have career tracks that correspond with particular certifications, meaning they can be your ticket to a higher level job, more responsibility, and ultimately, more excellent pay. At a minimum, they can give you a solid roadmap to work from so you know the best thing to learn next.

5. Networking opportunities

By pursuing a certification program, you will often be offered access to communities, forums, and events that span a wide range of areas within the software development sphere. This will allow developers to connect with others who have forged a similar path, industry celebrities, certified professionals, and potential employers. By networking in this fashion, developers can have the chance to be offered mentorship, forge collaborations with others, and be notified about new opportunities within the software development sphere.

6. Client Confidence

For freelance or contract developers, certifications can significantly increase a client’s confidence. Clients who require a software developer for their projects may not have the technical knowledge required to ascertain a developer’s proficiency independently; hence, they often have to rely on guesswork. By having certification, a developer can be assured of the relevant asynchronous approval from the certification authority. This can lead to better client relationships and a higher standing in the freelance marketplace.

​The AWS Certified Developer – Associate certification is aimed at software developers who want to demonstrate proficiency in developing and maintaining applications on the cloud using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. The credential validates an individual’s ability to design, deploy, and troubleshoot cloud-based AWS applications. The 40-hour program — delivered over three days — includes coverage of various AWS services, including computing, storage, databases, and others, as well as infrastructure as code, security, and integration with different AWS services. There are a few more extensive cloud certifications.

Top 5 Best Certifications For Software Developers

1. AWS Certified Developer – Associate

The certification examines a developer’s ability to develop cloud-based applications across all application components and their ability to build, secure, and integrate with AWS services across an application. Brand value as we transition to cloud-based solutions remains quite high. This developer can build massively scalable, highly secure applications across all the modern cloud technologies Amazon offers.

Price: The exam ranges from $150 to USD 300.

Notable Features

  • Thorough coverage of AWS services and development tools.
  • Heavy emphasis on hands-on scenarios for real-world application deployment.
  • Recognized as one of the top certifications in cloud computing.
  • Applicable to professionals developing scalable, secure cloud solutions.
  • Addressing the immediate enterprise need for AWS experts.


The AWS Certified Developer—Associate certification is a game-changer for software developers specializing in cloud-based application development and AWS services. It is the primary credential for developers looking to prove to their employers or peers that they are knowledgeable in building scalable and secure applications on the AWS platform.

Watch Out For: The certification requires a working knowledge of AWS services and the ability to write code in at least one high-level programming language.

2. Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification is aimed at developers on the hook for designing, building, testing, and maintaining cloud applications and services on Microsoft Azure. The exam goes much deeper than that, however. It demands hands-on experience with the entire spectrum of Azure services and development tools. Those who pass the exam will demonstrate that they’re capable of designing applications for ultimate scalability, performance, and security; they can also join the current crop rolling out today’s tidal wave of cloud-based applications and services. This is an incredibly fast-growing development area and yet another in which developers are in high demand. This certification is built from the ground up around this real-world need and hands-on experience, allowing developers to place themselves smack in the middle of the current cutting-edge of this highly dynamic field.

Candidates interested in advancing their cloud development careers will find further opportunities for certification beyond Azure Developer Associate outlined here.

Price: The exam fee is typically between $165 and USD 195. Visit the Microsoft website for more information on the most up-to-date pricing.

Notable Features

  • Coverage of a myriad of Azure services and development tools.
  • Emphasis on best practices for building scalable, performance, and secure applications.
  • A well-respected certification that can make you stand out in a crowd of cloud developers.
  • A certification that aligns with the current industry uptick in demand for Azure-developer expertise.
  •  A stepping stone to further developing your career with higher-level Azure certifications.


The MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer) for Azure is meant for developers who want to prove they can design and build robust cloud solutions on the Azure platform. As the demand for Azure skills soar, it will become an increasingly important differentiator for professionals.

Watch Out For: According to the requirements, candidates “must be able to program in an Azure Supported Language.” They “must be able to code and debug” these Azure-supported apps and services. That means writing code from scratch in one of these languages, running and testing the code, and debugging any errors.

3. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

With the (ISC)² Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification, the premier certification for infosec professionals looking to take their administration skills to the C-suite and beyond becomes a critical asset. Since the field of infosec is one where new threats and “the sky is falling” pronouncements occur on a daily (hourly?) basis, CISSP has evolved, adapting its skill set and its areas of inquiry to keep the certification vital and top of mind for candidates looking for the tools to perform the essential work of developing, implementing and managing a best-in-class cybersecurity program. With a broad catalog of security domains, including security and risk management, asset security, security engineering, and communication and network security, CISSP is one of the weapons in a candidate’s arsenal. While CISSP provides deep funding for security standards and best practices, its name reminds everyone of the importance of understanding security principles and having the context to make the proper decisions to ensure that yard information systems operate securely. Leaders who have earned the CISSP are being sought after by companies and organizations worldwide as the fight to protect their critical infrastructure and precious data continues to open up challenging career opportunities for professionals in this fast-growing, ever-critical field of cybersecurity.

Price: The exam fee is around USD 699

Notable Features

  • A deep dive into the cybersecurity domains.
  • Focuses on an all-encompassing security mindset.
  • Considered one of the leading certifications in information security
  • Adaptable to various industries and sectors
  • A fitness builder for one’s cybersecurity career


The CISSP certification is a must-have for anyone looking to specialize in their career path in cyber-security. The certification provides an all-encompassing understanding of security principles and practices in various professional settings.

Watch Out For: CISSP requires at least five years of cumulative, paid, full-time work experience in two or more 8 domains (four if you don’t have the requisite expertise or baccalaureate credits).

4. Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 11 Developer

​The Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 11 Developer certification is designed for Java developers who already have a foundation in the subject and want to keep up with the latest improvements to the features and enhancements of Java SE 11. It is undoubtedly of interest to developers interested in receiving formal validation of their skills and knowledge in Java SE 11 application development, as it will test candidates on their understanding of the basic concepts of the Java programming language and related APIs, as well as show how to manipulate exceptions, develop multithreaded applications, and use for the I/O (e.g. file reader, file writer, file class ). However, this certification is also oriented towards practical project experience, and as a certification backed by Oracle, an industry-standard credential, it can help to authenticate that a candidate has the relevant skills to get more opportunities in the challenging field of a professional Java development, given the multiple updates and changes in Java made by Oracle over the years

​Price: About USD 245 for an exam voucher

Notable Features

  • Pay particular attention to the last bullet for the topics covered in the exam.
  • Skills in various Java SE 11 features and enhancements
  • Validation as a benchmark for an individual’s understanding of Java and recognition as a standard certification in the industry
  • Demonstrable knowledge of object-oriented programming with Java
  • Demonstrable understanding and use of the new enhancements in the Java SE 11 specification for a range of career paths in Java-based roles


For Java developers at all skill levels seeking to validate their skills with the latest Java SE 11 certification, the Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 11 Developer is a powerful choice.

Watch Out For: Make sure you are well-versed in Java programming fundamentals and have practical experience in Java development.

5. Google Professional Developer Certification

The Google Professional Developer Certification is a credential that Genies of the Lamp for developers working with a whole crew of Google technologies. With this certification, you can show the world that, as a software developer, you can design, build, and deploy scalable, reliable, and secure applications using Google Cloud Platform (GCP). More specifically, since the certification is based on GCP services, certified developers demonstrate the skills and knowledge to use GCP services to build robust and secure applications.

Many regard this certification as fundamental for everyone as the industry demand for application developers with the skills and knowledge to develop applications using cloud-based technologies provided by a leading cloud provider is expected to grow. Not all Google Professional Certifications are equal, but that’s not surprising. Many people are also. The certification includes no questions that test the depth of conceptual knowledge or require simply memorizing tasks. This one is all about the bread and butter. The exam wants to see that you have hands-on, practical experience with cloud development and can apply various implementations of cloud development using the richness of services provided by GCP. This makes the certification unique and a la mode – be one of the first to claim yourself as a “certified cloud computing professional”!

Price: The exam fee is typically around $200.

Notable Features

  • In-depth coverage of Google Cloud Platform services.
  • Emphasis on application scalability, reliability, and security.
  • Recognition as a certification from a leading cloud provider.
  • Alignment with industry demand for Google Cloud expertise.
  • Practical focus on real-world cloud application development.


The Google Professional Developer Certification is a valuable credential for developers who want the world to know how good they are at building applications on the Google Cloud Platform, especially since there’s a burgeoning world that says, “the future is in the (Google Cloud Platform)!” Indeed.

Watch Out For: Candidates should have hands-on experience with Google Cloud Platform services and a solid understanding of cloud application development principles.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Best Certifications For Software Developers

1. Relevance to Career Goals

This is the primary factor that should dictate the certifications you seek. Will a certification enhance your skill set and make you more effective in your current role? Or, if you’re looking for a new position or hoping to ascend the career ladder, will a particular certification help differentiate you from other candidates?

2. Industry Recognition

In your role as a software developer, a certification recognized widely within the industry naturally carries a lot of weight. In your pursuit of getting hired as a software developer, sought-after certifications from established organizations or those that are endorsed by the major technology vendors (e.g., Microsoft or Oracle) can be just what you need to guarantee you an interview.

The rapid pace of change has been a characteristic of the software development industry since day one, but the speed at which change occurs today is quickening by the day. Consequently, it’s worth your while to investigate those certification programs whose candidate curriculums align with the industry’s most recent trends or fastest-emerging technologies. Not only do you need to look at the most current certification tracks out there that are covering the latest tools, frameworks, or methodologies, but you also want the certification you pursue to align with the most popular trends in software development so that your skill set today is as applicable — and marketable — as it would have been six months or a year ago.

4. Practical Application and Hands-On Experience

Take into account the practical, hands-on component. If you’re only required to memorize a set of facts and figures and then regurgitate them in multiple-choice format, it’s less likely that certification will be as valuable as one that requires you to apply what you’ve learned in a real-world project. Provide you with much greater value. You learn how to put what you know into practice, and in the end, you are much better prepared to handle the real-world situations you’ll face on development projects.

5. Cost and Accessibility

Don’t forget the overall cost. It’s not just the cost of the exam – the cost of earning a certification also includes study materials, training required to pass the exam, and the exam fees, which can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars. As with many IT-related expenses, cost is more appropriately considered an investment, so evaluate the price of each certification you’re considering relative to your budget and the expected return on that investment. And, while you’re at it, don’t forget the logistic considerations. Can you get to the location in which you have to take an in-person test, or is all the testing online? Does the required training fit your schedule, or does it not matter much? Or is it only available online, and you’re a strictly classroom learner? Do exam scheduling dates align with your work schedule — or could your need for some last-minute crunch-time studying conflict with your work schedule?

6. Market Demand and Job Opportunities

In today’s tech job market, having the proper certification can do more than just spruce up your resume. It can be between nailing down that life-changing dev job or watching someone else walk off with it. Brush up on your Google-Fu to discover which certifications will most likely land you that opportunity. If you’ve got a specific type of software development job in mind, check out some job postings for the kind of work you want — note which certifications are listed as requirements or even preferences in the employers’ listings. Those should be the certifications you’re currently seeking out.

7. Continued Learning Path

You’ll also want to search for a certification you build upon over the years. Look for ones to which the same certification group adds more advanced levels over time. These certs can serve as a stepping stone to more advanced certifications in the same field or related certifications. They will make it much easier for you to add certifications in the future if a certification program has been designed to build upon its existing certifications like this. Your first certification will lay the groundwork for many that follow. It will be a considerable career boon in the long term, significantly since things the industry needs will shift over time.


One of the most pivotal career decisions developers make is that it can crack open doors and lay out the skills that will matter in a field where the technology changes so fast it’s almost a blur. In virtually every industry, technology’s impact is soaring. As it does, the skills of software developers continue to be in demand — and it’s a demand that shows no signs of abating. Remember, the certifications you choose should do more than validate your skills. It pays for them to represent the ones that align with industry needs the closest. A healthy demand for the certifications developers are considering represents only the beginning of the benefits they can expect from those certifications. Not only do the certifications they choose allow them to take advantage of the exciting opportunities in an increasing number of companies, but they also raise their professional status and ensure their continual growth in a dynamic and highly competitive environment. Making specific every new certification, they consider as they ramp up their skills helps them continue to align and advance their careers. Developers can rest assured knowing their certification journey is moving squarely in the right direction. 


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