AWS vs Azure vs GCP – Which One Should I Learn?

In the previous section, we outlined the different certifications paths for AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. In this post, we will now compare these top three cloud service providers and share the advantages of learning these technologies.

Selecting a cloud platform to learn depends on several factors like your current skills or demands in the job market. There is no absolute rule in learning a particular cloud platform, as most of them can be used to solve the same problems. This article will look at the key takeaways from the prominent three leaders in cloud computing and we’ll analyze them for you. At the end of the article, we will share our thoughts and give you bits of advice to help you decide which cloud platform to learn and can give you an edge in the competitive job market today.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS is the most widely used cloud platform globally, having more than a decade of experience with an expansive range of services tailored for different use cases. AWS is currently at the top of the food chain, holding the world’s largest public cloud market share. It has been around since 2006 and was the first to offer infrastructure services through the Internet. That being said, AWS has the advantage of having the most evolved technologies in terms of support and functionality.

  • Pros
    • Leading Cloud Innovator
    • Broad Global Presence
    • Mature and Feature-riched Cloud Technologies
    • Good Documentations Of Services
    • Extensive Training Materials
  • Cons
    • Complex Billing System
  • Notable Companies that use AWS
    • Netflix
    • Airbnb
    • Spotify
  • Why learn AWS?
    • AWS Certifications are the most sought after in the cloud industry.
    • There is more demand on AWS skills when compared to other Cloud Platforms.
    • AWS is easier to learn if you have no prior Cloud experience as there are more learning materials (blogs, eBooks, video tutorials) that you could find online.
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Microsoft Azure

Azure is the second-largest Cloud Service Provider next to AWS. The Azure platform has an excellent support for interoperability with data centers (especially with Microsoft’s software integration) making hybrid cloud its major advantage.

  • Pros
    • Offers a familiar environment to native Microsoft users
    • Ease of integration with other Microsoft products
    • Hybrid cloud
  • Cons
    • Costly pricing models
    • Complicated interface
    • Poor documentations of services
  • Notable companies that use Azure
    • eBay
    • Boeing
    • Samsung
  • Why learn Azure?
    • You’ll have a deeper reason to learn Azure if you are an experienced user of Microsoft’s services (Windows Server, SQL Server, .NET, Dynamics Active Directory)
    • If you have existing Microsoft Certifications like MCSA: Windows Server 2016, MCSA: Office 365, MCSA: Windows 10, then it is more logical to learn Azure to further solidify your credentials when applying for a Cloud-related job.
    • Azure has two certifications (Azure Fundamentals and Azure Administrator Associate) that are included in the 15 top paying IT certifications as reported by Global Knowledge.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

GCP is relatively new to cloud computing. And despite being an underdog, GCP is slowly catching up and becoming a threat to AWS and Azure. Among the three cloud platforms, GCP offers the cheapest pricing model and has flexible cost-control, allowing you to try the different services and features. It is estimated that 1.17 billion people use Google Search. And It is impressive to note how Google handles traffic with that kind of magnitude. One of the main benefits of running your applications in GCP is that you’ll get access to the same resources and tools that powers Google.

  • Pros
    • Live Migration Of Virtual Machines
    • Cheap Pricing Model
    • Broad Toolset for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
    • Strong Integration and management of Google’s technologies (Google APIs, Kubernetes)
  • Cons
    • Limited Product Range
    • Smaller Global Presence Compared To Other Cloud Platforms
  • Notable companies that use GCP
    • Coca-Cola
    • Snapchat
    • Ubisoft
  • Why learn GCP?
    • According to Global Knowledge, Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect is the top paying IT certification with an average salary of $175,761. 
    • Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional developer who mainly uses Google’s services (Firebase, Google Maps API) in your application, learning GCP would be beneficial to you or your company. GCP provides easy management and monitoring of APIs that are supported by Google by default.
    • Despite the limited features and products offered by GCP, it has pretty powerful integration with Google’s open-source technologies like Kubernetes. Kubernetes is a famous orchestration tool for managing containers. Modern applications are usually deployed on controlled containers in the cloud. And if you’re interested in operating Kubernetes, then learning GCP will make you more valuable than learning other cloud providers.

Below is a visual representation of the core services for AWS, Azure, and GCP. You can use this as a reference when studying or working on a specific cloud platform to easily differentiate their respective service counterparts:

AWS vs Azure vs GCP

Summary

If you’re fresh out of college or a newbie with no whatsoever background in cloud computing, we recommend learning AWS. AWS has an easy user interface, which makes it attractive for beginners. You’ll also have a better experience in studying AWS as you can find many great tutorials on the Internet on how to use its services. Because AWS is the widely used cloud platform, you’d quickly find online AWS communities and groups that could answer your questions when encountering problems that you don’t understand while doing hands-on exercises.

If you want to enter an entry-level position in a cloud-related job, you’d have a better chance if you choose to learn AWS as more job offerings seek expertise in AWS. And if you are interested in specialized fields like Big Data and Machine learning in the cloud, then consider looking into GCP.  If you’re applying for a company that heavily uses Microsoft Services, then chances are you’ll have to learn Azure.

In terms of demands in the job market, AWS and Azure have the upper-hand. But high demand isn’t always a good thing. If a particular skill is high in demand, the odds are the competition will also be high. Because GCP is less popular, it has a relatively low market in job postings, which means fewer people compete for a job position. Now, I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but companies won’t hire you out of desperation. They will still need the required competence to perform the job. So, if you have the time and resources to learn the necessary skills in GCP, then you’d have an easier path when looking for a job.

Regardless of the cloud platform that you choose, you should understand the core concepts of the cloud since the fundamentals and principles behind it are not different between cloud providers. Your time and effort will not be wasted whichever you choose to learn as you could still apply your skills and knowledge when switching to a different cloud service provider. Look at the bigger picture. Remember that these are just tools to solve problems. There is not a one size fits all solution to all problems. If your long term goal is to be an excellent Cloud Consultant, there’s a possibility that you’ll have to learn them all anyway. 

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On the next article, we will talk about one of the commonly asked questions of those who are new to cloud computing: Are Cloud Certifications Enough to Land Me a Job?

This article is part of our free Journey to Cloud: A Beginner’s Guide eBook. Click here to get a free copy.

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