The Definitive AWS Certification List for Businesses and IT Departments

The Definitive AWS Certification List for Businesses and IT Departments

Source: AWS Certification

If you want to showcase your expertise in a particular field of IT technology, you should consider studying for and earning some certifications. Certifications demonstrate that the holder has knowledge and skills for a specific tool, industry, or technology. Often, these certifications are offered by major vendors in that technology space, and that holds true for cloud computing as well. The leading cloud providers, like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, all offer their own cloud certification series to those who exhibit proficiency for their cloud environment.

For businesses, these certifications show that your company and employees are skilled in the cloud environments they use. Earning an AWS certification demonstrates expertise with using the AWS platform, both as a whole and on the individual service level. There are currently 11 certifications offered by AWS, each one targeting either a specific solutions field or general application of AWS Cloud. Below, we’ve listed the certifications that every enterprise IT professional that uses AWS on a daily basis should earn.

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification

Certification level: Foundational
Estimated time for exam:
90 minutes
Cost:
$100 USD
Recommendations: 
At least six months of basic AWS and industry knowledge

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification is the quintessential certification for any IT professional and enterprise with AWS in their infrastructure. The certification demonstrates fundamental understanding of AWS, including the AWS console and platform, key AWS services, and basic knowledge of deploying AWS solutions. This certification is the best way to show a user’s practical knowledge of the AWS environment; as such, it’s the perfect supplement for any IT professional who works with AWS.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect certifications

Certification level: Associate/Professional
Estimated time for exam:
130 minutes/170 minutes
Cost:
$150 USD/$300 USD
Recommendations: 
At least one year of experience building and deploying solutions in AWS

If your IT department builds and deploys solutions in AWS, then the AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification is for you. This certification shows that the recipient is able to successfully construct a tech solution using the AWS architecture and maintain it throughout its entire lifecycle. It requires hands-on experience developing and deploying solutions using AWS services, both ones that provide resources for the project and that help businesses manage and deliver them.

IT professionals with more than two years of experience in developing AWS-powered solutions should also consider the Professional-grade Solutions Architect certification.

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator certification

Certification level: Associate
Estimated time for exam: 130 minutes
Cost:
$150 USD
Recommendations: 
One to two years of AWS systems operations experience

Your enterprise should definitely look into the AWS certified SysOps Administrator certification if it employs a systems administrator or operations professional. It is designed specifically for systems administrators and demonstrates proficiency with integrating the AWS environment into your business infrastructure. Required knowledge includes workload migration, AWS best practices, and understanding the right AWS service for specific business needs.

AWS Certified Developer certification

Certification level: Associate
Estimated time for exam:
130 minutes
Cost:
$150 USD
Recommendations: 
At least one year of experience coding, building, and debugging applications built in AWS

An AWS Certified Developer certification means that the recipient can fully develop applications using the AWS environment. It not only requires basic knowledge of the AWS platform, but also in-depth knowledge of how to utilize AWS services to build and run applications. This is a must for any enterprise that employs developers that work in AWS to create apps, both internal business apps and external apps for clients.

AWS Certified Security certification

Certification level: Specialty
Estimated time for exam:
170 minutes
Cost:
$300 USD
Recommendations: 
At least two years of securing AWS deployments, plus long-term (5+ years) IT security experience

Security should be a top priority for every solution and technology an enterprise uses. The cloud is no exception, and the AWS Certified Security certification seeks to increase the IT professional’s knowledge in AWS security. It validates experience and knowledge in how to secure an AWS environment and deployment. This considers both the user’s utilization of native AWS security services and best practices for enterprise AWS workflows.

AWS Certified Advanced Networking certification

Certification level: Specialty
Estimated time for exam:
170 minutes
Cost:
$300 USD
Recommendations: 
At least five years of network architecture and solution expertise

Many enterprises leverage their business network to work alongside their cloud deployment. If you’ve integrated AWS network services into your company’s infrastructure, the AWS Certified Advanced Networking certification should definitely be considered. It demonstrates the ability to perform complex network tasks while implementing core AWS network services.

AWS Certified Machine Learning certification

Certification level: Specialty
Estimated time for exam:
170 minutes
Cost:
$300 USD
Recommendations: 
One to two years of hands-on AWS machine learning implementations

Machine learning is one of the most noteworthy emerging technologies of the past couple of years. AWS offers several services for machine learning, and their AWS Certified Machine Learning certification shows expertise in choosing and deploying machine learning applications. AWS users with this certification can show knowledge in applying machine learning solutions and also AWS machine learning services.

Everything else you need to know about AWS certifications

AWS certifications currently come in four different levels. These levels are Foundational, which explores the basics of AWS; Associate, for those with experience using solutions in the AWS platform; Professional, for users who can develop, run, and troubleshoot AWS solutions; and Specialty, which certifies knowledge in a specific area of the AWS environment.

An AWS certification is valid for three years. If your certification is about to expire, you can recertify yourself by taking the exam again. For the Foundation-level certification, passing the exam for an Associate or Professional-level certification will automatically recertify you; Associate-level certifications are automatically recertified if you pass a Professional-level exam.

Amazon does not strictly require lower-level certifications in order for you to take a higher-level certification (unless you’re going for a higher-level version of the same certification). You’re free to pursue Professional or Specialty-level certifications without passing others, though AWS does recommend you start with Foundation certifications and work your way up.


Running a cloud environment and need help managing the cloud services you use? Our MSP Buyer’s Guide contains profiles on the top cloud MSP vendors for AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, as well as questions you should ask providers and yourself before buying. We also offer an MSP Vendor Map that outlines those vendors in a Venn diagram to make it easy for you to select potential providers.

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Daniel Hein

Dan is a tech writer who writes about Enterprise Cloud Strategy and Network Monitoring for Solutions Review. He graduated from Fitchburg State University in 2018 with a Bachelor's in Professional Writing. You can reach him at dhein@solutionsreview.com
Daniel Hein