What AWS Certification should I get?

What are AWS Certifications and are they worth it

AWS, like most other vendors of... well, anything, has a certification program. These are used to validate basic competency in a few areas. It can be related to services, application experience, domain knowledge, or a mix of all three. Obtaining a certification will be an act in 3 parts:

  1. Study, and know the stuff
  2. Schedule a test (and pay for an exam, depending on the certification level)
  3. Pass the test and share that news everywhere you can, congrats!

So let's dive into the types of vendor-certified.

Accreditations (no cost, not a proctored exam, don't expire)

These are tests that anyone can take, there are no prerequisites required, and there are no exam fees. And if you fail, you can re-test as many times as you need to pass. Because of this, although they do contain validation of valuable concepts, they are not regarded as a technical credential.

Good to know: you will not get into the "certified lounge" at "re:invent" or other regional conferences with just these credentials. Ask me for a funny story about that one ;)

So here are the accreditation courses:

  • AWS Technical Professional
  • AWS Cloud Economics
  • AWS STP: Foundations (technical)
  • AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials


Key points:

  • You pay to take these exams
  • They are proctored exams
  • The credentials don't last forever and three years is the current expiration
  • You will need to recertify to keep a valid certification
  • The "current" status is provable in public, via a unique id

Certification Types


  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

Associate Certifications

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

Professional Certifications

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer Professional

Specialty Certifications

  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking Specialty
  • AWS Certified Big Data Specialty
  • AWS Certified Security Specialty
  • AWS Certified Machine Learning Specialty
  • AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder Specialty

Recommended order (from my perspective)

  1. All three accreditations for every person in your company that will work in or develop in the cloud. Table stakes.
  2. Cloud practitioner for sales and technicians.
  3. One of the Associates, as a starting point.
  4. The other two associates, before you go for a Professional-level certification
  5. A Specialty-level certification, based on need or job role.
  6. A pro in your field.

And then get the rest, like pokemon. Hecc, it can't hurt.