What is the difference between AWS associate and professional?


With the boost in competition in the technology IT industry, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is different today. AWS has come up with many different level certifications to suit the need of each IT industry in the market. 

The technical AWS certifications are in huge demand by many IT aspirants and professionals, currently. 

AWS Cloud Services and Certifications

  • AWS cloud certifications allow you to carry a badge of worth and value. The AWS certifications state that you have the best level of expertise with you.
  • Any AWS certification holder has an exceptional storehouse of knowledge and understanding in Amazon Web’s services and functionality.
  • So, what is more, best than having the credential of an AWS? Get certified and call yourself the master of the cloud computing domain when it comes to Amazon!
  • Notably, there are many AWS certifications available. These can be taken up by individuals after judging the level of technical comprehension that they have in particular.

If an aspirant needs to strengthen his foundational skills, an associate-level certification can be the key! On the other hand, if an individual already has a certain level of AWS cloud experience and is assisting as a SA - Solutions Architect in any IT firm, then s/he can directly go for professional certification.

Three Levels of AWS Certifications -

Before making mind to take up any AWS solutions architect training, a candidate must know, how s/he can take the road to ultimate success in AWS certifications.

For this, the individuals must know what all levels of AWS certification are available for them. Here we tell you about these - 

  • Foundational Level 

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

  • Associate Level 

    • AWS Certified Developer Associate 
    • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
    • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
  • Professional Level

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

Difference between AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate and AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional

Associate versus professional: An intermediate level of certification against an advanced and professional level of certification. 


The Associate level certification denotes mid-level expertise and understanding of Amazon cloud services. 

The certification signifies that an individual has an intermediate mental capacity to offer the right architectural solutions as a Solutions Architect (SA). 

An AWS certified solution architect associate is equipped with - 

  • Generating and offering best architectural practices in AWS
  • Look at ranging AWS costs
  • Designing data protection and security practices as cloud solutions expert
  • Pushing scalability and security to the next level
  • Allowing a traditional firm to uplift to new modern cloud architectures


The Professional level talks about a more skilled and progressive level of expertise. It is the top level of certification in AWS. Besides, being the top-most level it is the toughest level of certification. 

If you have the credential of an AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional with you, consider yourself the most qualified and experienced professional in the IT industry. 

All in all, an AWS Solutions Architect - Professional must be able to perform all complex duties with ease and add to the overall growth of the organization. 

The work of a certified professional authority or a professional is to make processes more simple and painless for the immediate owner and teammates that are associated with cloud services. 

Exam Criteria of AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate  and AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional 

It’s simple; you have to pass the complex exam. Indeed, it’s not an easy one! One has to earn the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate and AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional certification. 

For this, strict exam criteria are fixed for professionals and learners. Let’s have a quick look at the exam criteria for both levels of AWS training. 

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate 

  • Hands-on experience
    • The candidates who have applied for the SA Associate certification must ensure that they have a pool of practical experience in the IT industry.
    • The SA Associate certification demands 4-5 years of hands-on experience in networking, storage, and database management. Other than this, a typical hands-on experience in the deployment of management services is essential.
  • Identification 
    • Determining technical requirements. 
    • Defining and identifying various technical needs of the AWS application systems in an organization. 
  • Understanding 
    • An understanding of AWS international and global structures and networking. 

Types of Questions

    • Multiple Choice 
    • Multiple Response


The exam has 4 domains:  

  • Design Resilient Architectures
  • Design High-Performing Architectures
  • Design Secure Applications and Architectures
  • Design Cost-Optimized Architectures 

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional  

  • Hands-on experience 
    • Two or more than two years with the designing and deployment of cloud architectures. 
    • Experience in recommending best AWS practices in an organization. 
    • Generating the right guidance.
    • Implementation of various complex architectural models in an enterprise; working on projects. 
  • Understanding 
    • An understanding of hybrid cloud environments and infrastructures 
  • Familiarity
    • AWS CLI
    • AWS APIs
    • AWS Management Console
    • AWS Billing Console
    • AWS Cloud Formation

Types of Questions 

    • Multiple Choice 
    • Multiple Response


The exam has five domains:

  • Design for organization complexity
  • Design for new solutions
  • Migration planning
  • Cost control
  • Continuous improvements for existing solutions

What does an AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional do?

  • Build, implement and execute cost-control strategies with an advanced approach 
  • Make strategies to resolve complex-tier applications
  • Looking at overall networking and formulating connectivity issues

Do these Courses Provide Anything More than Marketability? 

Although both of the AWS certifications are expensive and can be heavy on your pockets, you still have to sit for the exams to add any or both of these AWS certifications to your portfolio! 

Why? Because it is much more than something that makes you saleable and marketable. It adds to your knowledge and gives you real upgrades in AWS solutions, principles, and concepts. 

An Associate level of certification is more deep and complex. It starts with the fundamentals and takes a more narrow and specific take on subject areas, its practical observance, and hence, its implementation in the real marketplace.  

A professional level of certification builds on the core functional areas in the domain of AWS and helps in professional development. 

If a professional has an AWS solutions architect certification - be it associate or professional, s/he can be a multi-tasker, an all-around personality.  

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