AWS Certifications: How Do They Increase Your Employability and Progress Your Career?

AWS certifications are no walk in the park. They’re designed to validate in-depth, specialist knowledge and comprehensive experience, often requiring months of dedicated studying to earn even for those already working with the cloud platform.

But the rewards that AWS professionals can rake in once they’re certified are well worth the effort. In this post, we’ll take a look at a few of the reasons why securing one of those coveted badges can give your career a boost.

When you’re ready to dive into an AWS certification, check out Cloud Academy’s Certification Learning Paths. They are closely aligned to AWS certification exams and give you the hands-on practice you need working in a live AWS environment. You’ll not only ace the exam, but you’ll feel confident working in a production environment. 

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Certification in the AWS community

As part of our latest survey of the AWS community, we asked cloud professionals about their thoughts on accreditation. More than half (54%) of respondents had at least one AWS certification to their name, and a further 26% told us that they’re currently working towards earning their first one. 

With the majority of people working in the AWS space already certified, and many more aiming to achieve one soon, having a certification on your resume will help you compete when it comes to landing the best AWS jobs. 

It’s important to note that certification isn’t the be-all-end-all; the theoretical know-how corroborated by certification isn’t a substitute for years of experience getting your hands dirty with AWS products, but they are massively useful for both building out your knowledge and showcasing it to potential employers. 

Cloud professionals are already in short supply, but if you want to seize on this opportunity further, consider tackling one of the rarer breeds of AWS certification. While badges like AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) and AWS Certified Developer (Associate) are common among AWS professionals, those who hold specialty certs dedicated to a particular area of cloud operations, are more difficult to find. Just 7% of our certified survey respondents held the AWS Certified Security or AWS Certified Big Data specialty certifications, while only 6% had achieved AWS Certified Advanced Networking Specialty. 

Boosting your curb appeal

Employers highly regard IT certifications; more than nine in ten employers believe they play an important role in the hiring process and provide a reliable measure of employee success. For less tech-savvy hiring managers, they’re a fantastic shortcut that helps them validate your skills and quickly qualify whether you’re a good fit for a role. 

Yes, they demonstrably showcase your technical skills, but simply having a certification of any kind will make you more attractive to a potential employer. 

Employers love candidates who can show that they’re committed to their craft, have invested in their personal development, and are keen to stay ahead of the curve. These are fantastic qualities in any employee, but particularly in a space that moves as fast as cloud tech. Having studied for and achieved a certification demonstrates these soft skills perfectly, skyrocketing your value in the eyes of any organization looking to hire a dedicated member of staff. 

Increasing your market value

AWS certifications don’t just help you get your foot in the door and put you one step ahead of other candidates. They can also get you a bigger paycheck.

Nearly half (47%) of our certified survey respondents received a pay rise after landing their AWS credentials. Those who earned a raise post-certification reported an average salary hike of 28%.

Even if your current employer doesn’t up your salary, having a certification under your belt means you’re more likely to negotiate a better deal if and when you move onto a new role. 

According to our participants, they rated the AWS Solutions Architect (Professional) certification and the AWS DevOps Engineer (Professional) certification as the two badges most likely to have a positive impact on your earning potential as an AWS pro. 

Getting you access to more jobs

AWS is the undeniable leader in the cloud computing industry, with a market share of around a third. AWS’s closest competitor Microsoft Azure is hardly a close second, with a roughly 18% share of the market. 

Partly thanks to its seven-year headstart in the sector, AWS is dominating the public cloud space and continuing to grow at a rapid rate. And, of course, more market share means more customers, and more customers means more businesses looking to hire cloud professionals with AWS skills. 

More businesses are adopting AWS technology every day, creating new roles and flooding the job market with opportunities; if you have the right credentials, you can take your pick of attractive positions. According to recent research, demand for AWS developers has exploded by more than 400% over the past five years, with 14% of programming job listings now requiring familiarity with AWS. 

What’s more, certifications are especially useful for showcasing your skills to newer AWS customer businesses, who can use the accreditations to validate your prowess with a technology they may not yet be familiar enough with to fully understand. 

Many cloud skills are transferable between vendors, but if you’re going to invest in validating your skills with a particular cloud platform, it makes sense to hitch your wagon to the one that’s going to open the most doors in terms of job opportunities. 

Advancing your career

When ranking the factors that were most important to a successful career in AWS, the cloud professionals who took our survey touted experience in the IT industry (85%) and years of experience with AWS itself (84%) as far more important than a degree. 

More than half of AWS professionals we spoke to rated certifications as a crucial contributor to success in the AWS space, ranking them ahead of formal education by a considerable margin. 

Though most of our respondents cited years of experience in the IT industry, and with AWS in particular, as the most useful components of a lucrative and long-lasting career in cloud computing, the value the community places on these certifications is clear.

Earning an AWS certification has both immediate and enduring benefits for your career; you increase your knowledge of AWS, you make yourself more attractive to potential employers, and—provided you keep your certifications up-to-date — you boost your earning power long into the future. 

The world is in dire need of skilled cloud professionals, and getting your knowledge rubber-stamped by the world’s most popular cloud vendor can only put you at the front of the line for the best jobs on the market. 

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