To complement the PMI-ACP I earned earlier, I decided to take a more technical certification. I thought cloud certification would be the most useful, considering current technological trends and my knowledge gaps. Before jumping on the bandwagon with me, know that this may not apply to you. Your career circumstances are unique, and you need to make an independent assessment before proceeding. I share my thought process below to help you in making your own decision.

Why Cloud?

When it comes to digital transformation, cloud technology is the next biggest disruption to business operations since the internet. Starting with software, more product types have been migrated to cloud in an Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) model . In fact, many of the biggest tech unicorns in recent years use cloud technology to offer services in a scalable, efficient manner. Airbnb, Stripe, Didi Chuxing and Netflix are some of the more prominent companies in this growing service economy. If I want to increase my employability and relevance in IT project management, an understanding of Cloud concepts is essential.

A simple summary of XaaS. Source: Cambridge Global Payments

Why CompTIA Cloud Essentials+?

Among cloud certifications, most are vendor-unique and highly technical in nature. Each cloud computing company (Microsoft, Amazon, Google) offers their own proprietary certification for cloud professionals. Although there are no strict pre-requisites for most certifications, reviews made it clear that hands-on experience was essential. Being completely green to cloud technologies, I needed to start with something more oriented to business users. I also didn’t want to commit to one particular vendor’s platform without knowing the basics first. Finally, I needed a certifying organisation which had a good reputation to lend credibility to the certification. With these constraints, I chose CompTIA’s Cloud Essentials+, a vendor-neutral certification targeted at business users like myself.

Most valuable cloud certifications from

Purchasing the Test

Having settled on the certification, the next step is to decide which “test bundle” to buy. CompTIA bundles their exam voucher (the right to take the exam) with optional add-ons to help in your certification process. This includes an exam re-take voucher, eBook study guide, practice exams and online course. Since I preferred to study at my own pace and have practice questions to work on, I chose the Exam Prep bundle.

Test bundles offered by CompTIA for Cloud Essentials+

Although there is no re-certification needed (i.e. good-for-life), CompTIA reviews its syllabus every few years to keep up with cloud technology progression. This is why the exam code is CLO-002, as it replaces CLO-001 that was released in October 2011.

Because the syllabus is new (November 2019), there were not many third-party courses available at the time of writing. This might have changed by the time you read this article, so do keep a lookout if you think you need more guidance. With enough study and practice, the eBook and CertMaster are more than enough to help you pass.


Again, this is not a prep guide, so I will not dive into details of my exam prep or strategy. As I’m working, I set myself a target of clearing the certification in 4 weeks. Four hours on Saturdays plus 1 full weekday (day-off) for study and practice was comfortable for me. I completed studying by the third week so I could have the last week for practice and revision.

CompTIA doesn’t give you a personal downloadable copy of the products. Instead, you are given access to the electronic product hosted on a web portal through a unique license code. This means you will need your computer and internet connection whenever you study or practice.

CompTIA uses Skillpipe to distribute its eBook. Unfortunately, I can’t show you more due to intellectual property regulations.

The eBook is fairly detailed and lays down most of the concepts and knowledge you need to know for the test. Studying the material well should get you to 80% of the knowledge you need. Vendor and product knowledge (e.g. what is Google Cloudline) account for the remaining gap. Do note that many test questions are situational, so memorising is not enough.

**Exam Tip** Pay attention to the first part of each lesson where cloud characteristics, service models and deployment models are reviewed!

The CertMaster Practice has 2 components: a chapter-by-chapter review, and a practice test. The chapter-based section has a mechanism that forces you to re-attempt questions you are unsure of or got wrong. This is good for reinforcing learning, but gets irritating once you are ready for practice tests. I completed it once and did not revisit this section again. The practice test is a decent replica of the actual, although the question bank is limited. As you practice more, you can race through the repeated questions easily. The reduced time limit of 1-hour (1.5 hours for the actual) trains you to think and answer quickly.

The readiness gauge is pretty accurate

Taking the Exam

As with the PMI-ACP, I went for online proctoring. Due to COVID-19 fuelled demand, test slots were more limited than before. I initially booked a Monday evening slot so that I could free-up the coming Saturday to write. At this point, I did not feel very ready, but was assured because I had a retake voucher.

Since I was familiar with online proctoring, I decided to do some last-minute revision and checked in late. I was nervous and hurried: not the best state to be taking the test. As I began, the questions were harder than I expected and I took a while to adjust. I was about 40% done and getting in the groove when, horror of horrors, DNS error! I panicked for 10 minutes as I tried to reconnect, but to no avail. Eventually, I decided to forfeit the attempt.

The irony of this occurring during a Cloud exam…

After some sleuthing, my wife discovered our internet service provider had indeed suffered 5 minutes of downtime, disrupting my exam. In the system, it was recorded that I had failed the attempt though it was through no fault of mine. I tried using Live Chat on the proctor’s site for assistance, but did not get connected despite waiting for ~2 hours. Since I still had the free retake, I used it to book a Saturday afternoon slot. I guess it was all or nothing.

What are the odds?

On hindsight, it was good that I didn’t complete the exam on Monday given my mental state. I used the extra time to do 2 more practices and reviewed the material more thoroughly. When it came to test day, I was calm and collected. Thankfully, this attempt went uneventfully. After submitting my results, I was relieved to know I had passed!

Not a fantastic margin, but good enough

10 thoughts on “Getting CompTIA Cloud Essentials+ Certified

  1. I precisely wished to thank you very much all over again. I do not know the things that I might have implemented without the smart ideas shared by you directly on such a subject. It seemed to be an absolute frightful dilemma in my position, however , looking at the very specialised way you resolved the issue made me to leap for fulfillment. I will be happier for your guidance and then hope you recognize what an amazing job you were undertaking teaching some other people thru a blog. I know that you have never come across any of us.

  2. I would like to point out my passion for your kindness in support of those people who should have guidance on this area. Your real dedication to passing the message along was incredibly good and have in every case helped most people just like me to achieve their targets. Your own valuable facts can mean this much to me and especially to my peers. With thanks; from each one of us.

  3. I would like to show my thanks to this writer just for bailing me out of this particular scenario. Right after scouting throughout the the net and seeing suggestions which were not powerful, I thought my entire life was gone. Being alive without the presence of strategies to the issues you’ve sorted out all through the write-up is a critical case, as well as those that might have in a negative way damaged my career if I hadn’t come across the blog. Your good skills and kindness in taking care of almost everything was precious. I am not sure what I would have done if I had not discovered such a thing like this. I’m able to at this moment look forward to my future. Thanks a lot so much for the professional and results-oriented help. I will not think twice to suggest the blog to anybody who should get guide on this situation.

  4. My wife and i have been now joyful when Albert managed to deal with his survey out of the precious recommendations he obtained when using the web site. It is now and again perplexing to just be giving away helpful hints which usually many people could have been trying to sell. And we all consider we have got the blog owner to thank for that. Those illustrations you’ve made, the simple blog menu, the relationships your site assist to instill – it’s all exceptional, and it’s letting our son in addition to our family believe that the theme is brilliant, and that’s quite vital. Thanks for the whole lot!

  5. I precisely wanted to appreciate you once more. I’m not certain the things I would have created without the entire concepts discussed by you about my area of interest. This was the depressing concern for me personally, however , witnessing the very specialised technique you resolved the issue made me to jump over joy. I am just happier for your assistance as well as wish you comprehend what an amazing job you have been accomplishing training people today with the aid of your blog post. I know that you’ve never met any of us.

  6. I must convey my appreciation for your kindness supporting individuals who absolutely need assistance with this concept. Your real dedication to getting the message around turned out to be unbelievably effective and has always helped men and women just like me to reach their targets. The warm and friendly useful information can mean much to me and far more to my fellow workers. Thanks a ton; from each one of us.

  7. I truly wanted to make a small remark to be able to thank you for some of the stunning solutions you are writing on this site. My particularly long internet research has now been honored with really good know-how to go over with my neighbours. I ‘d believe that many of us website visitors are extremely blessed to exist in a very good website with so many outstanding professionals with great hints. I feel very privileged to have seen your entire site and look forward to many more thrilling moments reading here. Thanks a lot once more for everything.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.