Today, cloud computing has emerged as a driving force behind technological innovation and business transformation. As organisations across industries migrate their operations to the cloud for efficiency and cost savings, the demand for skilled professionals with cloud expertise has surged. In response to this growing trend, cloud computing certifications have become a pivotal steppingstone for individuals looking to secure their careers in the ever-expanding realm of technology.
However, choosing a cloud computing certification can be a daunting task, as there are many options available in the market. Two of the leading cloud computing platforms that offer certifications are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Both platforms provide a range of cloud services and solutions for various domains and industries. AWS is the top cloud computing platform in Australia, holding a 31.9% market share, while Azure closely follows with 29.8%.
If you’re an aspiring cloud computing professional, you may be wondering which certification path you should choose. In this blog, we will discuss the differences between AWS and Azure and dissect the key considerations that can help you make an informed decision tailored to your career goals.
AWS and Azure Certifications: What’s the Difference?
Both AWS and Azure offer a range of certifications to validate your skills and knowledge in working with their respective cloud platforms. However, there are some differences between the two certification paths that you should be aware of.
AWS certifications are generally categorised with respect to role-based learning paths. These certifications fall under four levels:
Foundational: Covers the basics of AWS cloud
Associate: Showcases your skills in specific AWS roles
Professional: Validates your advanced skills and knowledge on AWS
Specialty: Dives deeper into specific technical AWS areas
Azure certifications, on the other hand, are organised into three tiers: Fundamentals, Associate, and Expert. Additionally, Azure encompasses Specialty certifications like Cosmos DB Developer and Virtual Desktop.
Fundamentals: Demonstrates foundational knowledge of cloud concepts and Azure services
Associate: Proves your expertise in implementing solutions on Azure
Expert: Certifies your ability to design and architect complex solutions on Azure
Specialty: Focuses on specific domains and technologies on Azure.
AWS certifications cover a broad spectrum of domains, including architecture, development, operations, security, machine learning, networking, and more. Each certification exam tests your understanding of the relevant AWS services and features, as well as the best practices and design principles for implementing solutions on AWS. Some of the popular certifications are:
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner: This certification validates your overall understanding of the AWS cloud platform, such as its benefits, pricing models, security aspects, and core services.
AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate: This certification demonstrates your ability to design and implement scalable, secure, and cost-effective solutions on AWS using various services and architectural patterns.
Meanwhile, Azure certifications cover domains such as infrastructure, development, AI, security, data management, DevOps, and more. Every certification exam evaluates your proficiency in utilising Azure services and functionalities to create, deploy, and oversee solutions within the Azure environment. Popular Azure certifications include:
Microsoft Azure Fundamentals: This certification validates your basic knowledge of cloud concepts and Azure services, such as compute, networking, storage, and security.
Microsoft Azure Administrator: This demonstrates your skills in managing Azure resources, such as virtual machines, virtual networks, storage accounts, and subscriptions.
Microsoft Azure Developer Associate: This certification proves your skills in developing applications on Azure using various languages, tools, and frameworks.
The difficulty of AWS and Azure certifications varies by tier and domain, with higher levels generally indicating more challenging exams. Other factors impacting difficulty include question variety, exam duration, format, passing score, and available prep resources.
AWS exams feature multiple-choice and multiple-answer questions, spanning 65 to 180 minutes, with ample prep resources like guides, practice questions, and training. Azure exams, meanwhile, include diverse tasks like case studies, multiple-choice, and more, lasting 60 to 180 minutes. Both Azure and AWS provide practice tests, learning paths, and guides to ensure comprehensive exam preparation.
Both AWS and Azure certifications are widely recognised and respected in the tech industry as they demonstrate cloud expertise and credibility. They are also among the most in-demand and highest-paying certifications in the IT field.
In fact, according to Skillsoft’s 2022 IT Skills & Salary Report, AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Professional is one of the highest paying certifications in Asia Pacific, with its holders getting an average salary of US$73,747. Meanwhile, Azure Administrator Associate was one of the highest-paying certifications for 2021, with its holders earning US$54,532 annually.
What Should You Consider When Choosing a Cloud Certification?
One of the most important factors to consider is your career goals and aspirations. What kind of role do you want to pursue in the cloud domain? What kind of skills and knowledge do you need to excel in that role?
Depending on your answers, you can choose a certification that aligns with your desired role and domain. For example, if you want to become a cloud practitioner, you can opt for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification. Or if you want to be an Azure administrator, you can go for a certification like Microsoft Azure Administrator AZ-104.
Consider your familiarity and comfort level with the cloud platforms offered by AWS and Microsoft Azure. Do you already work with one of these platforms in your current role? Your existing experience and preferences can guide your decision-making process.
Additionally, think about the learning format that suits you best. Some certifications can be taken through online courses (like the ones Lumify Learn offers), while others may include in-person classes. Your preferred learning style and availability should match the format provided by the certification program.
Cloud certifications come in different levels of complexity, ranging from foundational to specialty. Those new to cloud computing should start with a foundational certification. For those with more experience, pursuing intermediate, expert, or specialty certifications can demonstrate in-depth knowledge and expertise.
Resources and support
Look into the resources and support offered by each certification program. Are there official study materials, practice exams, or sample questions available? Having access to comprehensive study resources can significantly aid your preparation. Additionally, see if the certification program provides a community or support forum where you can connect with fellow candidates, share insights, and seek guidance.
Cost and commitment
Lastly, evaluate the cost and commitment required for each certification. This includes study materials, potential training costs, and other fees. Compare these factors against your budget and the time you can dedicate to preparing for the certification exam. Remember that investing in a certification is an investment in your career, so weigh the costs against the potential benefits it can bring to your professional growth.
Build your AWS/Azure cloud computing skills with Lumify Learn
To launch or accelerate your IT career, and gain certifications in AWS or Microsoft Azure, it’s important to take an appropriate course. Lumify Learn offers the following:
These courses are available in two formats:
Full Bootcamp: Includes three industry and vendor certifications that will validate your cloud computing knowledge and skills. This format is ideal for beginners and career changers who want to start from scratch and gain a comprehensive understanding of cloud computing.
MSCCP: CompTIA Cloud Essentials+, Microsoft Azure Fundamentals AZ-900, and Microsoft Azure Administrator AZ-104
AWCCP: CompTIA Cloud Essentials+, AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner CLF- C02, and AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate SAA- C03
Fast Track: This format includes two vendor certifications that will prove your expertise in using a specific cloud platform. This format is perfect for upskillers and those already working in the industry who want to enhance their cloud computing skills and credentials.
Our courses are conducted by expert trainers and mentors 100% online. This means you can study anywhere you please, allowing you to balance your studies with your personal and professional commitments. When you complete the course, you can also join Lumify Edge, an exclusive program that provides you with the tools and opportunities to launch a successful IT career. You can enrol even if you’re an international student struggling to find work because you don’t have local work experience.
Master your cloud computing skills in AWS or Azure. Enquire with us on one of these courses today.