In recent years, the Information Technology field has grown tremendously. We live in a digital age and it’s evolving every day. From Ivy league graduates to self-taught entrepreneurs, many people want to be involved in this career field. And for good reason.
Entering this field can lead to work in any number of industries, high pay, and the opportunity to grow constantly as the field evolves. Careers in this field typically offer a superior work/life balance, as well. With all that said, some of you may be wondering what the easiest way to enter the field is.
Is an AWS (Amazon Web Services) certification enough to get a job? Yes, there are a number of jobs that you can get with just an AWS certification. However, some of the higher level professional certifications may also require prior experience or education.
This is great news for anyone trying to break into this industry and get their career started, advance in the field, or switch career paths entirely. No matter what level you’re starting from, you can use this certification to your advantage.
An AWS certification will show evidence of your knowledge and skills, strengthen your argument for a higher salary, and make you a desirable candidate for open jobs and promotions. If this is all new to you, read on. It’s important to learn more about this certification before you move forward.
What are the different types of AWS certifications?
One of the great things about an AWS certification is that it can be used for a variety of jobs. They’re not made for just one career path. Amazon is fantastic at helping businesses scale and grow. For this reason, their secure cloud services platform is highly sought after.
According to Tech Target, there are six different certifications for you to choose from. They’re designed to help you provide visual evidence of your knowledge in skills in the following categories, and more:
- Cloud Practitioner
- Specialty Path (further divided into five subcategories)
The Cloud Practitioner certification was made for people who want to build and show their skills in the overall process and understanding of the AWS cloud. This is the most general category and can include people in industries from tech and finance to sales and management.
The Architect certification is, predictably, typically used by solution architects. It can also be used by design engineers and others who will use it primarily for system and design applications rather than general use. There are also two subcategories here: Associate and Professional. The requirements for each subcategory will be different, as well as the certificate itself.
The Developer certification was made for software developers. It’s typically used by those who want to learn or develop their skills in advancing cloud applications. There are two subcategories here, as well. Again, the options are Associate and Professional.
The Operations certification is ideal for anyone who wants to create repeatable and automatable applications, systems, and networks using the AWS platform. You can obtain this certification as an Associate or a Professional.
The Specialty path gives you certification options in many of the technical areas that weren’t covered in the others. This includes: Big Data, Advanced Networking, Security, Machine Learning, and Alexa Skill Building.
What are some jobs you can get with an AWS certification?
Depending on the certification that you choose and the level you’re prepared for, an AWS certification can help you obtain a variety of different jobs in the tech field. Here is a list of just a few of the different career options post-AWS certification:
- SysOps Administrator
- AWS Cloud Architect
- Cloud based Purchase & Sales Manager
- Cloud Developer
- Cloud based Key Account Manager
- Cloud based DevOps Engineer (think: senior developer)
- AWS Networking Specialist
- AWS Big Data Specialist
- AWS Systems Integrator
The career options and certification options are constantly evolving and growing. Learning AWS concepts and applying them to different certifications can only help your career growth and salary. It can also help you gain recognition in your field and in others.
How to get an AWS certification
Some certifications will require that you have a certain number of years of experience in that particular category, but others will only require that you complete and pass the applicable testing. Each individual AWS certification is awarded after the successful completion of the test in that particular area. The tests will be similar to the typical test style: direction questions, multiple choice, and multiple responses, mostly.
Each of the tests will be timed, so it’s important to prepare, study, and take practice tests at home first. The amount of time that you have to take the test will vary depending on the level of certification you choose. For example, the associate level tests will typically allot 80 minutes, while the specialty or professional level tests will last around 170 minutes.
Before you take the test, you’ll need to create an AWS Certification account. This is where you’ll get your results, approximately three days after you finish. A passing score will result in an e-certificate for your records and to pass along to anyone who needs to see it. You’ll also get access to badges and logos that show that you’re AWS certified. If you don’t pass the test, you can take it again in two weeks’ time.
They will provide practice tests, untimed labs, sample questions, and other materials you can use to prepare, but they will typically be an extra charge. Aside from the preparation fees, the actual test itself will cost between $150 (Associate level) and $300 (Specialty and Professional levels). You can choose one or several to boost your income, increase your knowledge, and showcase your skills. It’s all up to you.
Alternatives to the AWS certification
AWS certifications may be the most reputable in the information technology field. However, if you’re looking to get certified in slightly different areas or you are interested in obtaining one without spending as much money, there are a few creative options to do this. Keep in mind that alternatives may not carry as much weight as an official AWS certification when the time comes to share them with your boss or other professionals in your field.
Here are a few alternative ideas:
- Skip the certification and use the practice materials
- Use aCloudGuru to study for less
- Get a different certification through Cloud Academy
- Hone your skills through Linux Academy
One alternative idea is to just pay for the prep materials or try to find them online rather than paying for the actual certification. You can study all of the sample questions and answers without paying the full price. There are even free videos you can watch on the AWS YouTube channel.
However, this option eliminates a lot of the value of going through with the test. You’ll have the knowledge but you may not be able to convey it as quickly or easily. If you choose to take this path, you’ll have to rely on an otherwise impressive resume and excellently written cover letter.
aCloudGuru will give you a seven-day free trial to access all of their materials. If you decide to skip the AWS certification, I’d recommend starting here. You can train on your own time, for as few or as many certifications as you’d like. Once you’ve made use of the free resources, you’ll get access to the same 10 AWS certification courses with convenient monthly payments to help offset the costs.
Cloud Academy offers a similar option. Their seven-day free trial will give you complete access to their library of labs, quizzes, learning paths, and courses. In addition to the AWS certification options, you can also get certified as a Google Professional Cloud Architect or a Google Certified Professional Data Engineer through their site.
Linux Academy is a self-proclaimed “Cloud Playground.” You can learn, advance, and test out your skills through their platform. They offer interactive labs, courses, and different learning paths you can choose to follow. According to their website, they also have an impressive 95% learner satisfaction rating.
It’s a bit harder to find pricing on the Linux website, but there is a convenient “Contact Us” option on the home page to chat with a representative, and they can probably give you a more specific response if you provide them with a few details.