The AWS Career Path – A Quick Guide

Amazon Web Services is a premium cloud service from one of the largest online retailers. It allows you to reutilize its building blocks to create cloud apps for different purposes. If you’re looking for AWS training & certification, you’re already on the right track.

AWS courses let you leverage one of the most powerful cloud platforms in the market right now. It’s an investment with huge potential for returns, so let’s look at how you can get started.

AWS services

Types of certifications

You have several certification categories to choose from. Right now, there are a dozen certifications available. Each one has different focuses and depth. Picking the right one is a fundamental first step.

When taking AWS online training, you need to take an entry-level certification. From there, you can take associate, professional, and specialization courses. Some certifications have different levels, so we’ll point that out for each one.

1. Cloud practitioner

The cloud practitioner certification is entry-level. It’s also the newest addition to the program. Its goal is to validate how much you understand about Amazon’s cloud.

The certification lasts 90 minutes, and you need six months’ minimum’s worth of experience. It covers the fundamentals of AWS architecture. It also goes through the common applications and security. It evaluates your core understanding.

2. Solutions Architect (associate)

At this level, you’re evaluated as a designer. Candidates for this certificate must provide evidence of their ability in designing and implementing AWS apps.

It covers network technology and how applications and their interfaces connect to the main platform. You must be able to build reliable apps and deploy hybrid services between AWS and on-premise components.

3. Developer (associate)

This 80-minute certification covers app development and maintenance. You need to understand how to work with code within AWS for custom applications.

The covered areas include understanding the architecture of AWS. You need hands-on experience developing and maintaining apps. You also need to work with AWS notifications, databases, and storage.

4. SysOps administrator (associate)

Certified SysOps administrators must have technical and conceptual expertise. It’s exclusively for administrators, and experience with Windows or Linux is a good advantage.

It covers AWS app deployment, as well as data communication between AWS and data centers. You also need to select the right services for specific organizations. Finally, management and provisioning in the environment are other relevant areas.

5. Solutions architect (professional)

Professional architects are able to evaluate the requirements of an organization. It focuses on architectural recommendations towards implementation and deployment. This certification requires extensive technical and design experience.

It covers the ideal practices for designing app architecture. You must select the correct services for your app’s requirements, as well as migrate systems to the AWS cloud. It also goes through cost optimization.

Dev Ops
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6. DevOps engineer (professional)

DevOps engineers focus on the provision, operation, and management of AWS platform applications. The exam prioritizes constant delivery and process automation. These processes are core for DevOps.

You’ll have to go through CD methodologies and systems as well as their implementation. You need to set up and monitor systems through AWS. The same is true for implementing scalable and available systems, as well as design/manage relevant tools for automating them.

7. Data analytics (specialty)

This specialty focuses on analyzing and developing big data solutions. Candidates have to be able to extract value available through AWS data.

The areas covered include architecting the ideal practices for AWS big data implementation. You also need to design and maintain big data, as well as implement AWS software for analysis automation. The same holds for security practices and several AWS services.

8. Advanced networking (specialty)

This specialty aims to verify the candidate’s experience and ability, connected with performance related to network operations. That includes applying said skills on both AWS as well as hybrid IT networks.

Therefore, backgrounds in network solutions and AWS networking are mandatory. It also covers cloud solutions’ design, development, and deployment. It evaluates core service implementation and task automation for deploying networks. Security, compliance, and optimization are also important.

9. Security (specialty)

This certification covers security in detail. Both professionals and teams must prove their mastery of security concepts, practices, and services. You’ll have to demonstrate your security knowledge, including encryption, infrastructure, response, and access management.

It covers AWS services for selecting the best security levels, based on data deployment and sensitivity. AWS courses for this certification must teach you how to pick the best protection techniques. Your monitoring solutions must spot and assess structure vulnerabilities.

10. Alexa skill builder (specialty)

This AWS certification is self-explanatory. Candidates must have the ability to create, test, and implement skills for Amazon Alexa. You’ll need a six-month minimum experience using Alexa’s Skills Kit and programming expertise.

It covers the value of voice implementation and user experience. You’ll need advanced knowledge on Alexa and AWS’ security practices. From skill creation and validation to use the developer console are relevant areas.

11. Machine learning (specialty)

Here, you’ll have to validate your skills in creating and implementing related solutions for several business situations. It’s for developers and data science-related professions. You’ll need at least a year of experience working with machine learning.

The covered areas go through implementing the best machine learning strategy for different business issues. You’ll have to prove you can identify the best AWS solutions for your methods. Lastly, optimized and scalable solutions must be part of your skillset.

12. Database (specialty)

Finally, this certification verifies your comprehension of all database-related services in AWS. You’ll have to provide value via database optimization, integration, and architecting. You’ll need at least a couple of years of experience using AWS and on-premise databases.

It covers database design as well as deployment and migration. You’ll have to show you can manage and operate these databases, along with monitoring and troubleshooting them. Naturally, security is another vital area.

How to start AWS training

Starting your AWS certification training doesn’t have to include spending too much time or even resources. Ideally, you want to get a general introduction to the career before going for a specific course.


Naturally, you want to take the entry-level certificate soon, but even that could be a considerable first step. Therefore, let’s go through a few things you can do before enrolling in a course and taking practice exams.

Learn the fundamentals

The best way you can prepare yourself to take a course—and your certification later—is to take matters into your own hand. There are many free resources available, covering the basics of AWS services and how it works.


Even Amazon’s main page provides plenty of documentation for you to prepare. Of course, taking AWS courses enables you to learn more efficiently. However, this information is completely free, and you can gain a decent understanding of the platform.

Assess your goals

As you could see, there’s a certification for every AWS aspect. You should evaluate your skills, knowledge, and expectations first. That way, you’ll know what certificate you want to take.


Keep in mind that AWS certification training can take a while. You can—technically—take all certifications, and completing the tests takes a couple of hours for the longest one. However, training is a significant time investment, so set clear goals before taking the first exam.

Socialize with like-minded people

Finally, the best way to learn more is to surround yourself with knowledgeable people. You can easily find community groups and forums around the internet. They’re filled with people constantly providing useful information via discussions and even casual conversation.

Learning AWS also goes beyond taking courses. You can find valuable lessons even after you’ve completed your certificate. These communities offer excellent insight for beginners and specialists alike.

Course durations

There’s no specific duration for the course you want to take. You can find dozens of people asking about the length of AWS certification, but all responses vary for every individual. That’s primarily because every certification category has its own requirements and subjects.

That means you need to think about the career you’re taking. In the end, that will be the main factor behind its length,

It’s mainly about your rhythm

The answers vary for everyone because you’re largely responsible for how quickly you want to complete it. Virtually all courses give you access to structured content, and some have you unlock new modules as you complete training.

However, learning AWS doesn’t have a set schedule. You have to balance your daily responsibilities and make time for your training. Naturally, people with full-time jobs will take longer. Luckily, the only reward for completing the training quickly is being able to start earlier.

What is the right AWS certification for you?

Picking a certification type can be intimidating at first. You might feel like you’re making a life-changing decision. In many ways, that’s true, but there’s no reason to make an obstacle out of it.

The best approach is to make your initial preparation and introduction shed light on which career you want to take. However, let’s go through every certification type to help you figure out where you want to focus your online AWS training.

1. Cloud practitioner

There’s not much thought behind this one. You should take it before going for an advanced certificate. It’ll help you validate your knowledge, which is vital for the following tiers.

2. Solutions Architect (associate)

Associate certifications aren’t mandatory to take a professional certification. However, it’s still recommended. This certification is for professionals with experience creating AWS apps.

3. Developer (associate)

Again, this degree isn’t a requirement for the DevOps profession. However, it’s intended for professional AWS developers with experience creating and deploying apps on AWS.

4. SysOps administrator (associate)

This is the entry-level for AWS administrators. It aims towards professional AWS admins, which includes operating, managing, and deploying AWS apps.

5. Solutions architect (professional)

This level is for people who have advanced experience designing apps and systems in the AWS cloud. If you can evaluate the needs of a business and focus on the right architectural solution, this is your certification.

6. DevOps engineer (professional)

The DevOps movement is for professionals with hands-on experience implementing and running different methodologies on AWS, as well as delivery systems. This certification also covers the DevOps role in the administration.

7. Data analytics (specialty)

This specialty is the ideal option for cloud experts with the skills to generate valuable observations from huge data volumes. It’ll also validate your skills in designing the best systems for different cloud architectures.

8. Advanced networking (specialty)

Networking deals with analyzing complex operations related to networking AWS applications and platforms. You’ll also need advanced technical knowledge in implementing hybrid structures between IT and AWS architecture.

9. Security (specialty)

This is the only security-related certification for AWS, but it’s also one of the most demanded in the industry. If you prefer to deal with security protocols and practices, this is the right certification.

10. Alexa skill builder (specialty)

Understandably, this certification is the best choice for people with designing and publishing expertise related to skills for Amazon’s Alexa. It also goes through skill certification for the platform.

11. Machine learning (specialty)

People working with both data science and development experience should go for this certification. It’ll also evaluate your skills in designing, deploying, and running related solutions tailored towards specific issues.

  1. Database (specialty)

Finally, this certification is for database administrators. There aren’t any prerequisites, either. It focuses on your expertise using different database services from AWS. It also covers proper database implementation for business growth.

The AWS Training & Certification Journey

Let’s say you already know what certificate (or certificates) you want to take for your AWS training & certification. The next step is to take action. Again, you might feel lost when figuring out the right approach to your certification.

Thankfully, it’s simpler than you think. You can follow a few simple guidelines to drive your general and specific objectives. Laying the right foundation for your training will make the rest of your journey a lot easier.

Plan your studies

The best way to boost your online AWS training is to take it seriously and build discipline. Being able to take the classes whenever you want can be a double-edged blade. It’s easy to fall for laziness and start procrastinating.

Therefore, you want to create a daily schedule for your education. Even a couple of hours every other day go a long way if you stick to them. Make sure to set aside time for your studies without neglecting other responsibilities, however.

Find the right course

Not all courses work for everyone. From content to structure, many factors determine the best AWS online training for everyone. However, you can follow a few guidelines to find the ideal program. Essentially, you want a deep course with plenty of content.


However, you also want to consider the course’s relevance. Not every syllabus is up-to-date, and going for an outdated course can result in wasted time and money. Finally, go for the right course format for you.

Take training exams

Like the fundamental documentation we already mentioned, you can find free practice tests on the internet. Even the AWS site has practice exams for your certification. However, those aren’t the only options.


Many courses offer practice exams as well. They don’t simply provide exam templates, but you can get courses with answer explanations. Other features you should look for include testing modes and difficulty options.

Sign up for the exam

Booking your exam is quite straightforward. You only need to visit the website and set aside the right day. Nevertheless, do keep in mind that you’ll have to pay a fee for different certifications.


Obviously, advanced certification exams are more expensive. That’s why you want to make sure that you’re ready for the exam. Of course, you won’t be 100% certain until you take it, but don’t think it’s something you should take lightly.

Apply everything you learned

Once you’ve paid and scheduled your exam, just put your gained knowledge to the test—no pun intended. Your AWS certification won’t be a walk in the park, but it doesn’t have to be an uphill battle with the right training.


Just remember that you’ll have limited time to answer a noticeable number of questions. Our last tip is to time your performance during practice exams. Assign a time amount per question—with a few minutes to spare. Don’t spend too long on one question. It’s better to go back to them after finishing the rest than losing the entire certification over a hard question.


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