How AWS Certifications Can Accelerate Your Career

Expand your skillset, up your job search game, grow your network

As students in the UC Davis Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) start the one-year program, strategic job hunting is already on their minds.

Very soon they will devote much of their time and energy to conducting an active search in an unpredictable, yet high-demand market for their skills. I was in their shoes a year ago.

Amid the job market uncertainty, students must be as prepared as possible. A great way to do so is to earn AWS (Amazon Web Services) certifications.

There are tons of professional certifications out there. What makes AWS certifications—specifically, Certified Cloud Practitioner and Certified Solutions Architect-Professional—credible and valuable to our career development?

What Is a Certified Cloud Practitioner?

The Certified Cloud Practitioner is an entry-level IT industry certification offered by Amazon. Earning the certification demonstrates a fundamental understanding of AWS and its value to organizations, as well as your ability to navigate the AWS management console.

It is ideal for sales, marketing and business analysts looking to use AWS tools and communicate with stakeholders more effectively. It is intended for analysts with minimal IT or cloud experience, and even people in nontechnical roles. In other words, it’s a great option for MSBA students.

This Certified Cloud Practitioner also lays the groundwork for obtaining advanced AWS certifications further down the road.

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Fred Xue joins the class of most recent graduates of the AWS Certification at Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center at UC Davis.

What is a Solutions Architect-Professional?

The Solutions Architect-Professional is an advanced certification that showcases proven expertise in problem solving, optimization and process automation.

It is tailored for people with a few years of experience developing and implementing cloud architecture on AWS. There are some prerequisites to the certification.

What’s great is the UC Davis MSBA program offers these AWS certification courses as options alongside the degree curriculum.

The Value of AWS Certification

Having an AWS certification provides many benefits to UC Davis MSBA students entering the job market.

  • First and foremost, becoming certified provides you with relevant industry skills. You’ll have a deeper understanding of commonly used AWS products and how to apply them in the practical context of cloud computing and analytics. The learning here can have a lasting effect on your career trajectory.
  • You’ll gain a competitive edge over job candidates with otherwise similar backgrounds. An AWS certification tells employers you have the skills they seek. Knowing this, two months before graduation, 83% of the 2021–2022 MSBA cohort earned AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner or other certifications from AWS and other organizations.
  • Becoming certified helps “build your brand,” a concept that’s been discussed from our MSBA orientation programming to almost every workshop and career session thus far.
  • The AWS certifications are widely recognized and respected in the industry. Stamping the certifications on your resume not only demonstrates to potential employers that you have the knowledge and skills to manage AWS programs, it also shows that you are passionate about learning the latest trends in cloud computing—that you will take the initiative to grow your skillset and be proactive about your career development. 
  • You’ll expand your network and build meaningful professional relationships beyond the MSBA community. You will learn alongside classmates from both the MSBA and other programs at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and interact with our talented course instructor, Noah Gift MBA 13, a certified AWS Solutions Architect, teaches graduate machine learning and consults on Machine Learning and Cloud Architecture for students and faculty. Once certified, you will join the wider AWS community and network with other certified professionals.
  • Finally, obtaining an AWS certification is an economically wise decision. Certified individuals get a nice boost on their salary figures and earning potential: 56% of AWS professionals reported a salary increase averaging 25% after passing their certification. Additionally, the course that Gift put together includes tons of resources to help you prepare for the certification exam. And all of this is free. The certification exam itself costs $100, a very reasonable investment on future returns.

To sum up, the AWS certification is an incredible opportunity to enhance your technical skillsets, up your game during job search, expand your professional network, and pay yourself dividends in the long term.

The AWS certification help me land a senior data analyst role at Acumen, which provides impartial data-driven analysis to government agencies to help inform health care and social policy.