Different Types of AWS certification – Which AWS Certification is the Best for You?

Amazon Web Services or AWS is one of the largest public cloud service and infrastructure providers globally, with a market share of 32%. Since AWS has gained momentum, an organization using these solutions requires people to be proficient in Amazon’s cloud technology. 

AWS certifications provide valid proofs of your demonstrable AWS-native skillsets for everyone to acknowledge. Existing and prospective employers often see AWS certifications as brownie points while making critical hiring and promotion decisions.

AWS currently offers 11 certifications, including six core certifications, five specialty, and other niche certifications. 

Wondering which one is the best for you? Let’s dive right in.

What Makes AWS Certifications Distinct?

AWS certification courses are industry-recognized credentials offered to individuals once they clear the relevant assessments. The exam evaluates the knowledge on different AWS cloud expertise levels, helping organizations keep track of skilled individuals on cloud initiatives associated with AWS.  

Self-driven Certifications:

If you are looking for a cloud architect or administrator position, you can take up the AWS cloud practitioner certification exam to attain a deeper understanding of AWS. In addition, you can take up AWS certification online before taking up foundational exams so that it could bolster your chances of passing the exam with flying colors. Having AWS certifications help you stand out from the crowd, further enhancing your prospects of securing a lucrative career in the cloud technologies landscape. 

Employer-driven Certifications:

For employer-driven certifications include core training materials that complement the business objectives. These organizations liaise with learning partners to devise AWS certification courses modules specific to their needs. 

With the requirement of new skills, many companies are introducing these certification programs with the help of learning partners for providing training to new and existing employees to excel in the AWS domain. 

In addition, many giant players in the market, such as Adobe and Airbnb, are encouraging their employees to get AWS certified to meet the current rapidly changing requirements, with everything being pushed to the cloud.

AWS Certifications – Which one is Right Fit for You?

AWS offers 11 individual certifications across four different AWS certification paths. The four levels/tiers provided by AWS are as follows:

Foundational level certifications: 

This includes AWS cloud practitioner certification perfect for beginners who are yet to explore the AWS cloud architecture and platform. The AWS certification cost to take up this foundational level exam is USD 100; however, this cost will vary as per the country and learning partner you select. 

Associate level certifications: 

This level includes the AWS solution architect associate, AWS certified developer associate, and the AWS Certified SysOps associate exams. The associate level comes right after you get past the cloud practitioner exam.

The AWS solution architect associate exam primarily focuses on core AWS concepts involving IAM (Identity and access management), virtual private cloud, S3 storage, and EC2.

The AWS certified developer associate dwells on deeper technical aspects involving cloud services like the DynamoDB, Elastic Beanstalk, Amazon SQS, and SNS.

Another variant is the AWS-certified SysOps admin associate. The title may be misleading in the slightest sense. However, this is not restricted to SysOps admin grounds. This is for the admin running resources and data in AWS. This is regarded as the hardest associate-level exam. However, it will be as much as valuable to clear it before facing the professional level of AWS certification.

The AWS certification cost incurred for any associate-level exam is 150 USD.

Professional-level certifications: 

This tier is for AWS professionals who wish to advance their careers in AWS. The prerequisite for taking this exam is that the individual should have at least two years of comprehensive experience with AWS operating and handling data resources in the AWS platform.

The two certifications offered by AWS in this tier are:

1. AWS certified solutions architect and

2. AWS Certified DevOps Engineer

The skills covered at professional levels are critical. These involve deploying complex AWS data resources, CI/CD pipelines, monitoring and log AWS systems, and implementing scalable applications on AWS. The AWS certification cost for professional-level exams cost around USD 300.


There is no definite answer for which AWS certification is best for you. It solely depends on your current and aspirational skills and your understanding of AWS tools, services, and underlying technologies. The best way to gain knowledge is through multiple available AWS certification courses. 

You can go through each and select the best one for your learning path. Adhering to a steady, linear approach will lead you to faster learning and eventual quick certification. You can then leverage these gained credentials to further your career, whether in your current role or a new one.

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