AWS Certification Path to Enhance Your Professional Value

Become AWS certified and demonstrate your technical proficiency with an AWS certification.
AWS Certification
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Updated on
May 10, 2023

As most companies continue to shift their workloads to the cloud, there is no disputing that AWS skills continue to rise as one of the most in-demand career paths in cloud technologies.

AWS has matured incredibly over the past 10 years and dominates as a leader in public cloud adoption and migration. AWS provides highly reliable, scalable, and low-cost infrastructure in the cloud that powers over 1 million business customers in 190 countries across the globe as of 2022. This transformation has increased the demand for competent cloud skills in order to manage, design, and deploy cloud-based applications.

Even though there is increasing popularity of multi-cloud strategies, AWS remains the cloud leader. That's part of why AWS Certifications are far more valuable from a professional perspective and can speed up your chances of standing out in a competitive job market.

Learn about AWS Certification Paths. AWS Certifications help cloud professionals to show an understanding of the AWS platform, best practices, and common terminology. It is an industry-recognized credential that validates practitioners’ working knowledge, expertise, and specialty.

In this guide, we summarize all AWS Certification Paths with career outcomes, including the prerequisite knowledge and skills required to become AWS certified.

The 12 AWS Certifications—Which Path Is Right For You and Your Team?

AWS has a growing number of training and certification programs, including programs for cloud architecture, operations, and development. There are 12 AWS certification programs spread across four experience levels:

  • One Foundational certification
  • Three Associate-Level certifications
  • Two Professional-Level certifications
  • Six Specialty-Level certifications

AWS Certification can help you become competent and strengthen your portfolio to stand out in a tough market and reach your professional goals. Read on to find out more about which AWS Certification is right for you, what skills you'll need for the exam, and how you can start on a path to become certified.

1. AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C01)

AWS Cloud Practitioner certification program is the starting point for people who are new to cloud computing. This certification program provides an expansive view possible of cloud architecture and AWS. It is an entry-level certification that validates your foundational AWS knowledge.

Career Outlook

This AWS Certification program has a strong focus on billing and business-centric concepts and is suitable for Sales and management roles. It does not validate skills for technical implementation roles and it is not enough to get the cloud role, but it as an essential study for your AWS Journey. We strongly advise you to prepare for the AWS Solutions Architect exam after completing this program.

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

Exam Preparation

You only need a high-level introduction to AWS. It is not a difficult exam, but you need to get a deeper understanding of the AWS Cloud and the Cloud value proposition. We recommend exam preparation courses and practice tests to build the foundation you’ll need as you delve deeper into the inner workings of AWS. Here are a few comprehensive resources available to help you become confident about engaging in knowledgeable discussions about AWS.

Is AWS CLF-C01 Right For You?

We highly recommended the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification program to the beginners with no experience in cloud computing or background in coding. It is also good for Senior Cloud Engineer or Solutions Architect who need to refresh their AWS knowledge.

Study Guide — AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

2. AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate (SAA–C02)

AWS Solutions Architect is essentially a trusted advisor for the customer and very responsible for designing the blueprint for application designs. This certification program validates practitioners' skills to design well-architected solutions in the business case.

It is the most popular in demand AWS Certification program globally. Solutions Architects provide technical guidance to customers for building solutions that are secure, scalable, high-performing, cost-optimized, and fault-tolerant.

Career Outlook

Solutions Architects don’t go deeper into developing, building or deploying for the customers, but there are other teams you will collaborate with for implementing the solutions. You, however, will spend the significant portion of your time with customers by addressing their concerns and understanding their needs. In duty, you'll build proof of concepts for the customers, showcasing them through the demos, and conduct meetings with teams responsible for implementations.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate
AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate

Exam Preparation

Be able to demonstrate proficiency (not implementation skills) to provide solutions that work for businesses. The Solutions Architect - Associate is a scenario-focused certification exam. There are several resources available to help you learn and practice what you’ve learned.

Is AWS SAA–C02 Right For You?

You will find AWS Solutions Architects mostly speaking at the conferences and events, writing blogs, mentoring interns, running technical workshops, and more. After gaining some experience, you can also prepare for Solutions Architect Professional or a Specialty level certification exam in Big Data, Machine Learning, or Security.

Study Guide — AWS Solutions Architect Associate

3. AWS Certified Developer Associate (DVA-C01)

This Associate-Level exam for AWS Certified Developer validates developers skills to write, deploy, and also maintain cloud based applications. AWS Developer is a professional who creates applications and services that are deployed on AWS Cloud.

You can also prepare for AWS DevOps Engineer Professional Certification as you progress through the AWS Developer path and gain all the knowledge required to fulfill the domain expectations and a deeper understanding of each area.

Career Outlook

This AWS Certification is suitable for practitioners who intend to perform development roles like developing and maintaining AWS based applications. Talking about job roles, this will be simply the starting point, no matter if you are an experienced developer or a software engineer.

AWS Certified Developer Associate (DVA-C01)
AWS Certified Developer Associate (DVA-C01)

Exam Preparation

Become prepared to show skills in programming, show a clear understanding of Cloud application development, and your abilities to apply foundational knowledge of cloud-native applications to write code. To qualify for the exam, consider following resources to learn AWS skills for developing infrastructure and software applications.

Training Courses

The certification exam validates your knowledge required to fulfill the domain expectations.

Is AWS DVA-C01 Right For You?

AWS Developer Associate-level certification exam is hard because it covers a lot of ground. You should have a functional knowledge of at least one high-level programming language and also be well-versed in identifying the key features of the core AWS services to build serverless applications and leverage S3, DynamoDB, Elastic Beanstalk, Lambda, and API Gateway.

4. AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate (SOA-C02)

AWS SysOps Administrators are primarily responsible for maintaining the AWS based application once it is designed and developed. The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator—Associate exam is for SysAdmins. It is an associate-level exam which comprises the depth and knowledge of the AWS services, Elastic Block Storage and AWS IAM.

Career Outlook

AWS SysOps Administrator plays a necessary role in controlling most of the tasks and activities that follow the process of development. They are also responsible for managing user access, security, routine operations, etc.

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate (SOA-C02)
AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate (SOA-C02)

Exam Preparation

AWS SysOps certification exam is considered as the hardest one among all the associate level AWS certifications. On becoming AWS Certified SysOps Admin, you will get more recognition, opportunities, and a better salary.

Training Courses

To prove your skills and knowledge, you will be tested across 6 different domains.

Is AWS SOA-C02 Right For You?

To become a SysOps Administrator, you must have the skills and working knowledge of building cloud solutions on the AWS platform. The certification exam is geared towards system administrators in a cloud operations role with at least 1 year of hands-on experience in deployments, management, networking, and security on the AWS platform.

5. AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Professional (SAP-C01)

A professional AWS Solutions architect can evaluate an organization’s requirements and make architectural recommendations for implementing and deploying AWS-based applications. The AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional exam requires an extensive understanding of designing technical strategies to design solutions across multiple platforms and providers.

This program reaches far beyond testing in-depth knowledge of the AWS platform and delves into your abilities to balance best practices and trade-offs based on business context.

Career Outlook

The professional certification program is for advanced practitioners to confirm high-level technical skills and multi-dimensional mastery of cloud architectures to qualify for Cloud Architect and Solutions Architect job roles at the professional level.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Professional (SAP-C01)
AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Professional (SAP-C01)

Exam Preparation

The AWS Solution Architect Professional Certification requires its practitioners to be comfortable architecting, securing, migrating, optimizing deployments, and managing production operations on AWS.

Training Courses

To demonstrate your expertise, you will be tested across 5 different domains.

Is AWS SAP-C01 Right For You?

This is one of the two AWS Professional certifications and it's suitable for those who already have already passed the AWS Solutions Architect - Associate exam, but this is not a prerequisite for taking this certification exam. Badge owners of this professional certification are highly competent in designing solutions across multiple platforms and providers.

6. AWS Certified DevOps Engineer — Professional (DOP-C01)

The AWS DevOps Engineers have an extensive understanding of implementing continuous delivery systems and methodologies on the AWS Cloud. The certification program focuses on provisioning, operating, and managing AWS applications.

AWS DevOps Engineers need a strong eye for detail—so make sure you learn every concept thoroughly. This certification doesn't just look good on your resume—it will significantly increase your chances of getting hired.

Career Outlook

There's an enormous demand for AWS Certified DevOps Engineers who can incorporate DevOps principles, application design, development and releases for businesses. The average salary for AWS Certified DevOps Engineers in the U.S. is $$127,116; this rises to 154,548 among Senior DevOps Engineers. Making the eventual transition from AWS Certified Developer or AWS Certified SysOps Administrator to AWS Certified DevOps Engineer can boost the salary even further.

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer — Professional (DOP-C01)
AWS Certified DevOps Engineer — Professional (DOP-C01)

Exam Preparation

You can learn the fundamentals of AWS DevOps Engineering on your own. The exam is heavily focused on continuous delivery (CD) and automation of processes, which are two key concepts in the DevOps movement. It’s worth mentioning that earning this certification isn’t easy and you may fail your exam in the first attempt. Consider following resources to get hands-on experience in developing and maintaining AWS applications.

Training Courses

To validate your knowledge, you will be tested across 6 different domains.

Is AWS DOP-C01 Right For You?

To become an AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, you must possess abilities to automate resilient applications and infrastructure deployments using AWS services. In addition to having the fundamental skills, you must be able to enforce policies, implement automated monitoring, and configure event management of an environment.

7. AWS Certified Advanced Networking — Specialty Certification (ANS-C01)

AWS Advanced Networking certification program is intended to validate candidates’ expertise in designing and implementing network solutions and technical knowledge to carry out complex networking tasks on AWS.

This Networking Certification validates your knowledge of advanced networking architectures and high-level familiarity using AWS technology. You’ll need to possess advanced functional knowledge of cloud-native and hybrid IT network architectures at scale. It is practically good for individuals who want to architect, design, deploy, and maintain cloud-based networking solutions using a full array of AWS service capabilities.

Career Outlook

There is an ever-increasing demand for Cloud Networking Engineers, and it is one of the rising professions as organizations want to get the most of their AWS Cloud infrastructure and, as an AWS Cloud Networking Engineer, you will be highly responsible for ensuring that real-world networks are successfully integrated with cloud resources.

AWS Certified Advanced Networking — Specialty Certification (ANS-C01)
AWS Certified Advanced Networking — Specialty Certification (ANS-C01)

Exam Preparation

This program is very suitable for professionals who have an associate-level certification, ideally SysOps Administrator for learning advanced networking topics. It has a steep learning curve and you’ll need to increase your technical understanding about cloud-native and hybrid networking on AWS.

Training Courses

The latest ANS-C01 certification exam determines your knowledge across 4 content domains.

Is AWS ANS-C01 Right For You?

AWS Certified Network Specialist certification program is suitable for network architects, network engineers, and DevOps engineers who are interested in designing, deploying, and managing AWS cloud and hybrid network solutions. Most examinees have experience with — and certification by — underlying network vendors such as Cisco, CompTIA or VMware.

8. AWS Certified Data Analytics — Specialty (DAS-C01)

AWS Certified Data Analytics — Specialty certification is for data professionals who want to establish their data career by validating their expertise in big data design and architecture on the AWS platform.

To qualify for the exam, you’ll need to possess sound skills to evaluate business requirements for big data applications, and have the functional knowledge to build, secure, maintain, and design data analytics solutions on AWS.

Career Outlook

This AWS Specialty Certification validates a deep understanding of AWS data analytics services and how they integrate with each other. The certification is suitable for individuals who intend to pursue a data analytics-focused role.

The data is abounding for companies, and that has created a growing need for engineers who are skilled at working with common data analytics technologies to gather insight from that data. This is where the AWS Certified Data Analytics specialist perfectly fits in the picture.

AWS Certified Data Analytics — Specialty (DAS-C01)
AWS Certified Data Analytics — Specialty (DAS-C01)

Exam Preparation

Become prepared to demonstrate expertise in major tools, topics, and services needed for a successful data analytics pipeline. Consider an online course and updated practice tests to learn new big data services and analytics tools you can use in the AWS platform to build data analytics applications. Learn how to build and manage the entire lifecycle of data collection, storage, processing, visualizing your data, etc.

Training Courses

The aim of the certification exam is to validate your knowledge across 5 different domains.

Is AWS DAS-C01 Right For You?

It helps if you have an analytical frame of mind. You will must be highly equipped to demonstrate your abilities to extract value from data using AWS services. The certification is also suitable for practitioners who have some business experience and intend to move up the ladder in data analytics.

9. AWS Certified Database — Specialty Certification (DBS-C01)

AWS Database — Specialty program is intended to validate candidates’ expertise in recommending, designing, and implementing AWS cloud-based relational and NoSQL database systems.

To become a certified specialist, you must possess an exhaustive functional knowledge of databases, including but not limited to designing, migration, deployment, data storage, maintenance, automation, monitoring, security, and troubleshooting database functionality issues.

Career Outlook

This program certifies you have gained extensive real-world experience in AWS cloud-based database technologies and become qualified for the AWS Database Engineer/ specialist job roles. The average salary for an experienced AWS Database Engineer can go up to $296,000, which is 147% above the national average. With less than five years of relevant experience, an Amazon Database Engineer can make approximately $134048.

AWS Certified Database — Specialty Certification (DBS-C01)
AWS Certified Database — Specialty Certification (DBS-C01)

Exam Preparation

Build a foundational knowledge of which database service is best leveraged for a workload, considering feature availability. Learn how to properly and technically leverage various AWS database offerings, such as RDS, Aurora, Aurora serverless and global database, DynamoDB, Database Migration Service, and even services like Redshift and Neptune.

Training Courses

The latest DBS-C01 certification exam determines your knowledge across 5 content domains.

Is AWS DBS-C01 Right For You?

AWS Certified Database — Specialty certification program is practically suitable for database engineers and solutions engineers. This certification program is challenging and you’ll need a high-level familiarity with all of AWS database solutions to pass the exam to validate your abilities as a database engineer.

10. AWS Certified Machine Learning — Specialty Certification (MLS-C01)

AWS Machine Learning Certification program validates your Machine Learning skills to design, deploy, and maintain machine learning solutions for a range of business problems in the AWS Cloud.

This is one of the six specialty level certifications available with AWS and it's recommended you have experience developing, architecting, or running Machine Learning workloads on AWS, but these are not prerequisites to take this certification exam. It is open to all who work in data science and machine learning.

Career Outlook

With a boom inside the range of Machine Learning and Data Science jobs, competition is fiercely growing as well. This is wherein AWS ML Certification comes into play. It certifies your functional knowledge to build and deploy machine learning (ML) solutions on AWS. As an AWS Certified Machine Learning Engineer/Specialist, you will build, deploy, and implement both scalable and cost-optimized ML solutions for business to solve complex real-world problems.

AWS Certified Machine Learning — Specialty Certification (MLS-C01)
AWS Certified Machine Learning — Specialty Certification (MLS-C01)

Exam Preparation

You can build knowledge and skills to propel your Machine Learning career with exam blueprints, online courses, and whitepapers to gain a solid understanding of the services and platforms available on AWS for Machine Learning projects. Build a foundation to pass the certification exam and feel equipped with hands-on labs and practice tests to use the AWS Machine Learning portfolio in your own real-world applications.

Training Courses

To demonstrate this expertise, you will be tested across four different domains.

Is MLS-C01 Right For You?

The AWS Certified Machine Learning Specialty certification is practically suitable for ML Engineers and data scientists who want to certify their ML skills and specialty on the AWS platform. The exam is specifically designed to test your knowledge of core ideas related to machine learning and deep learning. Therefore, you must have an ability to express the intuition behind Machine Learning algorithms.

11. AWS Certified Security — Specialty Certification (SCS-C01)

AWS Security Certification validates that you possess Ninja-level cloud security skills to enforce strict security controls across all levels of AWS infrastructure deployments. This program helps security professionals to advance their expertise in designing and implementing security solutions for data protection, encryption, infrastructure security, incident response, etc.

To pass the certification exam, you need to master security basics, learn best practices, and gain deep knowledge to secure AWS services. Most examinees have years of security experience and expert knowledge of security controls for workloads on AWS.

Career Outlook

AWS Security certification lies at the intersection of two of the hottest trends in technology today — cloud computing and security. If you work in the InfoSec arena, then taking your security expertise and applying it to the cloud is the one of the wisest step in expanding your competence. AWS Cloud Security Engineers are in high demand and earn top-paying salaries. It is will pay dividends as AWS Security Certification is one of the most practical specialty certifications and most useful for organizations.

AWS Certified Security — Specialty Certification (SCS-C01)
AWS Certified Security — Specialty Certification (SCS-C01)

Exam Preparation

The security exam will test your expertise and give you scenarios that focus on a secure way to solve problems. With a blend of instructional courses, hands-on labs, AWS quizzes, and practice tests, you can pass the exam with extensive studying and a lot of hands on experience.

The certification exam is broken down into 5 domains.

Is SCS-C01 right for you?

The AWS Certified Security Specialty certification is practically ideal for anyone interested in cloud security to design more secure systems. This credential will validate your abilities to recognize, analyze, and implement security solutions on the AWS Cloud.

12. AWS Certified: SAP on AWS — Specialty Certification (PAS-C01)

AWS SAP Certification validates advanced technical skills and experience in managing and deploying SAP workloads on AWS. This program helps SAP Architects show their knowledge, skills, experience, and competence to design, implement, migrate, and operate SAP workloads optimally on AWS.

To pass the certification exam, you need the technical expertise to design SAP solutions for the AWS Cloud in adherence to the AWS Well-Architected Framework and SAP requirements. You also need sound presentation and communication skills with the ability to articulate complex concepts in simple language.

Career Outlook

With many organizations taking their workloads online through the SAP on the AWS cloud, earning AWS SAP Certification can be a significant boost to your cloud career. The sspepecialty certification program formally recognises your SAP and AWS skills. It helps companies identify and develop the right talent with critical knowledge and skills in optimizing SAP workloads on AWS.

This is the newest certification program. You can become part of the earliest AWS Certified SAP Specialists in the field. It validates your proficiency to think strategically about business, product, and technical challenges. Naturally, that increases your opportunities to secure lucrative employment.

AWS Certified: SAP on AWS — Specialty Certification (PAS-C01)
AWS Certified: SAP on AWS — Specialty Certification (PAS-C01)

Exam Preparation

Learning the basic and its well architected principals should be the first step. The SAP Specialist considers the responsible development process and collaborates closely with other stakeholders, like solutions architects and SAP engineers, to ensure the long-term success of the SAP solutions and workloads running in the AWS Cloud.

Training Course

The aim of the certification is to validate your expertise across a number of key areas. Your knowledge will be tested across 4 different domains.

Is PAS-C01 Right For You?

The AWS Certified SAP — Specialty certification is suitable for anyone wanting to demonstrate experience and deep working knowledge of SAP systems on AWS Cloud. The target candidates for this specialty certification are likely to have 5 or more years of SAP experience and 1 or more years of experience in working with SAP on AWS. This credential will validate your abilities to implement, migrate, and operate SAP workloads on AWS.

FAQs about AWS Certifications

Why Should I do AWS Certifications?

AWS Certification is more than just validating your knowledge. Each Certification program is designed to test you on the practical aspects of the technology rather than asking some questions that you can cram, regurgitate, and then forget later on. The prime reason AWS Certifications are valuable in the industry is that they are distinguished by their thoroughness and rigour. They validate your competence based on practical experience to help you stand out in a competitive market to reach your professional goals.

What is the easiest AWS Certification?

There's only one certification program "AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner" to validate the foundational knowledge — like what is cloud computing, what is cloud migration, and how AWS works at a high level. Foundational Certification path does not focus on implementation but is a launchpad for novices and recommended to the experienced engineers as well.

Is AWS Specialty Certification helpful for Career?

Learning AWS and becoming a certified specialist will play a critical role in your career growth. AWS Specialist Certification not only makes you receive a higher salary, but a recognized position in your field. This certification doesn't just look good on your portfolio—specialty is technically the highest level of AWS certification. It will significantly boost the salary or rate you command.

How Long Does it Take to Become AWS Certified?

This is true not only for the AWS Certifications, but really for any aim you wish to accomplish in life. You can learn the skills needed to become AWS Certified depending on your previous experience and present knowledge in AWS. By continuing to practice your skills and learning to increase your understanding, you could enrol for the desired certification exam when you are positively ready. If you want to become AWS Certified, start online courses, exam simulators and practice tests offered by AWS and notable educators like Udacity, Pluralsight, Coursera, etc.

Is AWS Certification Useful to Get an Entry-Level Job?

AWS Certification is valuable. It establishes your credibility and dedication to learn to be at the forefront of innovation. Sometimes, this indicator is more important than the imperative that shows your expertise. AWS is a widely accepted certification that demonstrates your skills and you will also gain a competitive edge over peers without the certification, as companies value AWS Certified professionals.

How to Prepare for AWS Certifications?

AWS Training and many cloud computing educators provide adequate resources to supplement your learning.

  • Learning paths and Career Tracks
  • Online courses and instructor-led training
  • Exam-prep courses
  • White-papers and blogs
  • Review sample questions from AWS and Third-party sources.
  • Free tier access to AWS services

How Much Does AWS Certification Cost?

Prices for exams vary depending on the level of certification. These prices are valid for one exam attempt and taxes may apply.

  • Foundational → $100
  • Associate → $150
  • For professionals → $300
  • Specialty → $300
Image by AWS
Image by AWS

Closing Note

AWS is continually growing its services, and we will definitely see new certifications like AWS Certified SAP related to different domains in the future.

There are many career opportunities within AWS. Given the demand is growing for Cloud computing skills, getting AWS certified makes sense, especially because hiring managers know that AWS certification isn’t easy to come by.

Now that you have a better understanding of how to jumpstart your cloud computing career with AWS. Are you ready to start learning? Bookmark our AWS Stack to discover updated learning resources to gain the underlying AWS knowledge in a demanding industry.

And with that, good luck with your AWS Certification.

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