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Which of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications is right for you? Let’s get an overview of how they break down and apply to your career.

At the time of writing, there are 12 Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications on offer. These certifications are a part of the AWS Training and Certification program. In this article, we will explore the top AWS certifications to boost your career.

What is an AWS Certification?

An AWS certification is among the most sought-after in the multi-billion dollar cloud computing market. Acquiring an AWS certification helps advance your technical and cloud expertise and prepares you to use the AWS Cloud.

At the moment, there are 12 AWS certifications to choose from, among which AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is the most in-demand information technology (IT) certification today. The certification courses are divided into four categories—Foundational, Professional, Associate and Specialty. Let us dive further into this!

AWS Certification Categories

The four AWS certification categories are:


No prior experience with AWS Cloud is required to partake in a Foundational certification course. Currently, AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is the only certification in this category. This certification establishes foundational knowledge of AWS Cloud.


Two years of previous AWS Cloud experience is recommended before undertaking a Professional certification course—AWS Certified Solutions Architect and AWS Certified DevOps Engineer are the two certifications in this category.

A Professional certification indicates advanced knowledge and skills necessary to design optimized, modernized and secure applications and automate processes on AWS.


An Associate certification showcases your skills and knowledge on AWS and furthers your credibility as an AWS Cloud professional. Earlier cloud and/or solid on-premises IT experience is recommended. Associate certifications include:

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect
  • AWS Certified Developer
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator


As the name suggests, a Specialty certification helps you validate expertise in strategic IT operational areas, and establish your credibility as a trusted advisor to customers/stakeholders. These certifications include the following:

  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking
  • AWS Certified Data Analytics
  • AWS Certified Database
  • AWS Certified Machine Learning
  • AWS Certified Security
  • AWS Certified SAP on AWS

12 AWS Certifications 2023

Here are the 12 AWS certifications:

  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner—Foundational
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect—Professional
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer—Professional
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect—Associate
  • AWS Certified Developer—Associate
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator—Associate
  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking—Specialty
  • AWS Certified Data Analytics—Specialty
  • AWS Certified Database—Specialty
  • AWS Certified Machine Learning—Specialty
  • AWS Certified Security—Specialty
  • AWS Certified SAP on AWS—Specialty

Choosing an AWS Certification

Opt for a certification course based on the next role you want to take on in your career, schedule an examination and prepare for it rigorously! For example, if you already have the foundational knowledge of AWS Cloud, it makes sense to opt for certification in the Professional category.

Top AWS Certifications 2023

Here are the best AWS certifications for 2023:

  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner—Foundational
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect—Professional
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer—Professional
  • AWS Certified Machine Learning—Specialty
  • AWS Certified Security—Specialty

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner—Foundational

Image source: Andrea Boonyarungsrit (Medium)

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner—Foundational certification course establishes rudimentary knowledge and understanding of AWS Cloud services, terminology and concepts.

This certification is a good starting point for professionals in non-technical roles that have no prior cloud or IT experience and those with on-premises IT experience that are looking for elementary AWS Cloud expertise.

Key Takeaways

  • This certification is ideal for non-technical professionals looking to explore a career in AWS Cloud, business analyst/marketing/sales professionals seeking to communicate more effectively with customers/stakeholders about AWS Cloud, and technical professionals with no prior cloud knowledge needing a primer before opting for in-depth, role-based certifications.
  • By preparing for and acquiring this certification, you will understand the basics of IT services and their use cases on AWS Cloud. You will also attain knowledge of security concepts, pricing and billing models, and how the cloud influences your business.
  • It takes 90 minutes (1 hour 30 minutes) to complete the examination.
  • You are required to answer 65 questions in the multiple choice/response format.
  • Delivery methods include Pearson VUE testing center and online proctored exam (same for all certification courses and referred to as “SAME” henceforth).
  • Offered languages include English, German, French (France), Simplified Chinese, Spanish (Latin America), Portuguese (Brazil), Japanese, Italian, Korean and Indonesian. Additional languages available only via Pearson VUE testing include Traditional Chinese and Spanish (Spain).
  • Download the exam guide, sample questions, practice question set, and other free training and webinar material to prepare for the examination. The subscription-based preparation material is available too.



Potential Jobs

Software Developer, Enterprise Cloud Jr. Architect, Cloud Engineer, Cloud Architect and Associate Solutions Architect.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect—Professional

Image source: Michael Gerard Galon (AlexaChamp)

AWS Certified Solutions Architect—Professional certification confirms advanced skills and knowledge in delivering solutions to complex issues, optimizing cost, security, performance, and automating tedious manual procedures.

Key Takeaways

  • This certification serves as a means for organizations to discover and nurture talent with the above skills for implementing cloud initiatives.
  • It is recommended that professionals with two or more years of direct experience designing and deploying cloud architecture on AWS take this certification examination.
  • Before taking the certification exam, candidates should possess the ability to design a hybrid architecture using AWS Direct Connect, VPN and other core AWS technologies. Candidates should also be able to assess cloud application requirements and draft architectural recommendations accordingly.
  • Familiarity with Windows and Linux environments, AWS APIs, AWS CLI, the AWS Billing Console, etc., is preferred.
  • It takes 180 minutes (3 hours) to complete the exam.
  • You must answer 75 questions in the multiple choice/response format.
  • Delivery methods: SAME.
  • Offered languages include English, French (France), German, Simplified Chinese, Spanish (Latin America), Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil), Korean and Italian.
  • You can download the exam guide and also review sample questions. Additionally, you can make use of other examination materials by paying extra.



Potential jobs

Technology Architecture—Consultant, Systems Development Engineer, Cloud Engineer, Enterprise Solutions Architect, Technical Trainer and AWS Architect.

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer—Professional

Image source: Aram Petrosyan (Pinterest)

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer—Professional certification demonstrates a technical expertise in operating, managing and provisioning distributed application systems on the AWS platform.

Note: The content outline for the certification course is being updated at the time of writing, with registration for the updated examination commencing on January 31, 2023. The new certification exam will start on March 7, 2023.

Key Takeaways

  • Professionals with this certification can ensure prompt delivery of compliant and secure systems that are highly scalable and available.
  • Professionals with at least two years of previous experience managing, operating and provisioning AWS environments are suggested to take this certification exam.
  • To pass this certification exam, candidates must be able to define and deploy metrics, monitor and log systems on AWS, implement and automate governance processes, security controls, and compliance validation, and understand modern development and operations methodologies and procedures.
  • The exam duration is 180 minutes (3 hours).
  • 75 multiple-choice/response questions must be answered.
  • Delivery methods: SAME.
  • Offered languages include English, Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
  • Download the exam guide and make use of free sample questions and digital training sessions. Take advantage of paid examination resources if you wish to.



Potential Jobs

DevSecOps CI/CD Engineer, DevSecOps Engineer, Docker Engineer, Software Engineer—DevSecOps, Sr. Systems Development Engineer, DevOps Developer, Systems Development Engineer, Solutions Architect and DevOps Engineer.

AWS Certified Machine Learning—Specialty

Image source: Chouaieb Nemri (Ramsey Elbasheer)

AWS Certified Machine Learning—Specialty certification affirms expert skill in building, training, deploying and tuning machine learning (ML) models on AWS.

Key Takeaways

  • The certification course is recommended for professionals who perform a data science or development role and have a year or more (preferably two) of experience architecting, developing or running deep learning/ML workloads in AWS Cloud.
  • To obtain the certification, candidates must have the ability to perform simple hyperparameter optimization, follow deployment, model training, and operational best practices, and intuitively understand basic ML algorithms.
  • The exam duration is 180 minutes (3 hours).
  • This certification examination features 65 multi-choice/response questions.
  • Delivery methods: SAME.
  • The languages on offer include the following: English, Japanese, Simplified Chinese and Korean.
  • Specialty examinations are tougher to crack. Take full advantage of all free resources, including the exam guide, sample questions, practice questions, digital training and the webinar. Several paid (subscription-based) resources are available as well.



Potential jobs

Sr. Cloud Computing Specialist, Machine Learning Architect, AI ML Engineer, Enterprise Cloud Jr. Architect, Sr. Data Architect, Data Architect, Systems Development Engineer and Enterprise Architect.

AWS Certified Security—Specialty

Image source: Prashant Lakhera (RefinedInfo)

AWS Certified Security—Specialty certification confirms expertise in securing workloads and data in AWS cloud.

Key Takeaways

  • Security professionals with a minimum of two years of experience securing AWS workloads and data and five years of IT security experience in implementing and designing security solutions are best suited for this certification.
  • To obtain the certification, candidates must hold knowledge of AWS security services and their features, the AWS shared responsibility model, and AWS data protection mechanisms and specialized data classifications.
  • You will have 170 minutes to finish this certification examination (2 hours and 50 minutes).
  • This examination consists of 65 multiple-choice/response questions.
  • Delivery methods: SAME.
  • The available languages include English, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, French (France), German, Spanish (Latin America), Portuguese (Brazil), Italian and Korean.
  • As mentioned earlier, cracking a Specialty examination is far from easy. Latch onto all free examination preparation material and utilize paid resource subscriptions for further assistance.



Potential Jobs

Consultant—AWS Application Security and Principal Security Consultant, Enterprise Architect, AWS Solution Architect, Principal Associate—Security Testing, and Security Engineer.

About the Author

Surajdeep Singh

Surajdeep Singh has been working in the tech sphere as a marketing guru and journalist for more than six years, with a specialty in blockchain and Web3. He has donned several hats in marketing and journalism over the years and worked with many reputable brands. Feel free to reach out to him on LinkedIn.

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