The 12 AWS Certifications: Which is Right for You and Your Team?
As companies increasingly shift workloads to the public cloud, cloud computing has moved from a nice-to-have to a core competency in the enterprise. This shift requires a new set of skills to design, deploy, and manage applications in cloud computing.
As the market leader and most mature provider in the cloud computing space, analysts such as Gartner consider AWS a thought leader and point of reference for all of its competitors. In 2020, AWS continues to lead in public cloud adoption, and it currently offers 12 certifications that cover both foundational and specialty cloud computing topics.
Why choose the right AWS certification? Here’s why it matters.
Choosing the right AWS certification: What’s the value?
Getting AWS certified shows that you have some of the most in-demand (and profitable) skills as validated by one of the most recognizable entities in cloud computing. In the enterprise, certification demonstrates a shared understanding of a platform, a shared terminology, and a certain level of cloud expertise that can speed up time to value for cloud projects.
Why is AWS certification important?
Even as enterprises adopt multi-cloud strategies, this doesn’t diminish the importance of an AWS certification — quite the opposite. With more than one million customers, AWS is still the provider of choice for public cloud adoption, where 64% of enterprises and 68% of SMBs are running applications (according to the 2018 RightScale State of the Cloud Report). Continued strong financial performance, a constant stream of new services, and a continuous geographic expansion (including a dedicated intelligence community region announced in 2017) are an indication that there is still much more to come.
AWS certifications themselves stand out for their rigor and thoroughness in evaluating a candidate’s skills, with an emphasis on hands-on experience and best practices. If you’re already working with AWS, preparing for a certification can help strengthen your knowledge by clarifying key concepts. If you’re new to AWS, it can provide the foundational knowledge and skills you’ll need to work with AWS services and solutions down the road. For organizations looking for new recruits, AWS certifications validate a candidate’s familiarity and knowledge of best practices in cloud architecture, management, and security.
In the enterprise, the core training materials used to prepare for AWS certifications are a valuable component in a company’s own internal training path. As IT environments become more customized and requirements for new skills grow, an increasing number of companies are building their own certification programs. Many of them are using vendor certification training paths in connection with internal training materials to stand up certification tracks specific to their business needs.
How long does it take to become AWS certified?
With a full-time job and other commitments, investing 80 hours of study usually takes two months. If you are entirely new to AWS, we recommend approximately 120 hours or three months to prepare. Start with the fundamentals, and then move to the Solutions Architect — Associate Learning Path.
Which cloud certification is best?
AWS currently offers 12 certifications: a foundational certification, three associate-level certifications, two professional-level certifications, and six specialty certifications.
How do I become AWS certified?
While there are not set-in-stone steps to studying for the AWS certification, these steps are the most straight-forward.
- Enroll in an AWS training class, such as any of the ones mentioned in this article. They will certainly increase your knowledge of cloud computing and AWS.
- Review any Study or Exam Guides available.
- Read multiple AWS whitepapers. These hold some invaluable information, which may answer many of your questions.
- Practice, practice, practice. Practice exams will help ease any worries or stress you may be having about the certification exam.
- Schedule the exam once you are ready. It typically takes anywhere from 80–120 hours of practice/studying to be prepared for the exam based on experience and the certification you are pursuing.