The Ultimate Guide to AWS Certifications: Which One is Right for You and Your Team?

Choosing the right cloud certification for you

Are you looking to enhance your skills in cloud computing? As companies increasingly shift workloads to the public cloud, having expertise in cloud computing has become crucial. And when it comes to cloud computing, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the market leader and most mature provider. AWS offers a range of certifications that cover both foundational and specialty cloud computing topics. But with so many options to choose from, how do you know which AWS certification is the right fit for you and your team?

Choosing the right AWS certification: What’s the value?

Getting AWS certified demonstrates that you have in-demand skills validated by one of the most recognizable entities in cloud computing. It shows a shared understanding of a platform, a shared terminology, and a certain level of cloud expertise. Having an AWS certification can speed up time to value for cloud projects and open new opportunities in the job market.

Why is AWS certification important?

Despite the growing popularity of multi-cloud strategies, AWS remains the provider of choice for public cloud adoption. With over one million customers, AWS leads in public cloud adoption, with 75% of enterprises and 71% of SMBs running applications on their platform. As a result, having an AWS certification is highly valued in the industry.

AWS certifications for candidates and employers

AWS certifications are designed to rigorously evaluate a candidate’s skills, focusing on hands-on experience and best practices. For IT team leaders, obtaining AWS certification not only enhances their knowledge and skills but also enables them to benchmark their team members’ expertise.

In the enterprise, AWS certifications serve as valuable training materials, allowing companies to build their own certification programs tailored to their needs. Many companies combine vendor certification training paths with internal materials to create customized certification tracks.

Which AWS certification is best?

AWS offers 12 certifications in total, ranging from foundational to specialty certifications. Each certification focuses on different aspects of AWS services and solutions. Here’s an overview:

  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C01)
  • AWS Certified Developer – Associate (DVA-C02)
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate (SOA-C02)
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA-C03)
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional (DOP-C02)
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C02)
  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty (ANS-C01)
  • AWS Certified Security – Specialty (SCS-C01)
  • AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty (MLS-C01)
  • AWS Certified Database – Specialty (DBS-C01)
  • AWS Certified Data Analytics – Specialty (DAS-C01)
  • AWS Certified SAP on AWS – Specialty (PAS-C01)

Each certification targets different roles and skill sets within the AWS ecosystem. To find the right certification for you or your team, refer to Cloud Academy’s AWS Certifications page for a detailed overview of each certification and learning paths to prepare for them.

How do I become AWS certified?

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to studying for AWS certifications, here are some general steps to guide you:

  1. Enroll in an AWS training class to gain a deeper understanding of cloud computing and AWS services.
  2. Review available study guides and exam guides for the certification you are pursuing.
  3. Read AWS whitepapers to gain additional knowledge and insights.
  4. Practice with sample exams and hands-on labs to familiarize yourself with the exam format and AWS services.
  5. Schedule the exam once you feel confident and adequately prepared.

For specific guidelines on studying for each certification, Cloud Academy offers comprehensive learning paths to help you prepare.

Recertification and Staying Up-to-Date

To demonstrate continued expertise and knowledge of the latest AWS services and best practices, AWS certification holders are required to recertify every three years. Recertification helps ensure that certification holders stay up-to-date with the evolving AWS ecosystem.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take to become AWS certified?

The time required to become AWS certified depends on your existing experience and knowledge of AWS, as well as the certification level you are aiming for. While AWS suggests certain prerequisites, including hands-on experience, you can prepare for the exams with dedication and practical experience. A study schedule of at least one hour per day is recommended for the Practitioner and Associate levels, with more time dedicated to the Professional and Specialty levels.

How much does it cost to get AWS certified?

The cost of AWS certifications varies based on the level of certification:

  • Practitioner: $100
  • Associate: $150
  • Professional: $300
  • Specialty: $300

What are the different levels of AWS certification?

There are four different levels of AWS certification:

  • Practitioner: The foundation level for starting your certification journey with AWS.
  • Associate: Requires more experience than the Practitioner level and validates skills in provisioning resources and problem-solving in AWS.
  • Professional: Requires a comprehensive understanding of running, optimizing, and troubleshooting solutions within AWS.
  • Specialty: Focuses on specific domains within AWS, requiring deep technical knowledge and experience in a particular topic.

Which certification is best in AWS?

All AWS certifications are valuable and can significantly benefit your professional growth. The “best” certification depends on your interests, role, and career goals. Each certification caters to different skill sets and career paths. Choose certifications aligned with your interests and the direction you want to take in your career.

Are AWS certifications worth it?

Yes, AWS certifications are worth pursuing. They validate your knowledge and expertise within the IT industry and differentiate you in a competitive job market. AWS certifications demonstrate commitment, dedication, and a willingness to learn, making you an attractive candidate for potential employers.

Can I get AWS certifications online?

Yes, you can take AWS certifications online from the comfort of your own home. However, there are specific requirements and guidelines that need to be followed, such as communicating with an English, Japanese, or Mandarin-speaking proctor, ensuring your computer meets the system requirements, and being in a private and quiet place during the exam.


AWS certifications provide an excellent opportunity to enhance your skills in cloud computing and demonstrate your expertise to potential employers. By choosing the right AWS certification, you can accelerate your career and stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of cloud computing. Invest in AWS certifications and unlock new opportunities in the world of cloud computing.