AWS Cloud Practitioner

After AWS Cloud Practitioner, Which Certification Is Best? 

As a cloud aspirant who wishes to build a career in a significant cloud domain like AWS, you prepared, attempted, and passed the AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification (CLF-C01 exam). But now what? The CLF-C01 course is just a starter pack or a domain entry gateway.

To excel in your cloud journey and become an all-rounder cloud pro, you would need to identify your strong forte and decide which further certification will help you amplify your skills.   

After you are certified as an AWS Cloud Practitioner, you must assess your skills in the operations, architecture, or developer field. To help ease your choices, this blog dives into a detailed analysis of the paths available after AWS cloud practitioner certification.

Let’s quickly jump into what is next after the CLF-C02 exam!

An Overview of the AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification 

The AWS Cloud Practitioner certification (CLF-C02 exam) is designed for individuals capable of showcasing comprehensive knowledge of the AWS Cloud, irrespective of a particular job role.

The AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification exam assesses a candidate’s proficiency in accomplishing the following tasks: 

  • Articulating the significance of the AWS Cloud. 
  • Comprehending and elucidating the AWS shared responsibility model. 
  • Grasping security best practices. 
  • Understanding AWS Cloud costs, economics, and billing practices. 
  • Describing and situating core AWS services, encompassing compute, network, database, and storage services. 
  • Identifying AWS services suitable for everyday use cases. 

As an aspiring candidate for this certification, you should aim for a maximum of 6 months of hands-on experience in AWS Cloud design, implementation, and/or operations. This certification is specifically tailored for individuals with non-IT backgrounds, making it an ideal choice for those in the early stages of building a career in the AWS Cloud or collaborating with professionals in AWS Cloud roles.

To excel in CLF-CO1 certification, ensure your knowledge spans essential areas including AWS Cloud concepts, security, and compliance in the AWS Cloud, core AWS services, and a grasp of the economics of the AWS Cloud. 

What’s next after the CLF-C01 certification?  

Embarking on your cloud journey post-AWS Cloud Practitioner opens a thrilling world of specialization. From crafting scalable solutions as a solutions architect to orchestrating large-scale hybrid cloud environments as a cloud dev ops engineer and mastering strategic reliability as an application architect, the opportunities within the AWS ecosystem are vast.  

AWS cloud practitioner

Similarly, for coding enthusiasts, the path of a Software Development Engineer awaits, offering the chance to construct cutting-edge software across platforms. Each role brings unique challenges and innovation, making the post-certified Cloud Practitioner journey both exciting and rewarding. Here is a framework you can follow as the next steps after CLF-C01.  

Also Read: Top Hands-On Labs To Prepare For AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification 

The ‘Architect’ domain 

The AWS Solutions Architect certifications, encompassing both the Associate and Professional tiers, present a coherent and sequential trajectory after acquiring the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification. Here’s an overview of how the AWS Solutions Architect certifications harmonize with and extend the foundational understanding gained through the Cloud Practitioner certification: 

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA-C03) exam caters to individuals in the solutions architect role, assessing their proficiency in designing solutions aligned with the AWS Well-Architected Framework. This certification validates your capability to craft solutions integrating AWS services to address present business requirements and anticipate future needs. Additionally, you will be evaluated on your skills in designing architectures that prioritize security, resilience, high performance, and cost optimization. The exam also tests the ability to review existing solutions and critically identify opportunities for improvement. 

As a Solutions Architect, you’ll craft and manage cloud solutions by working with stakeholders. Collaborate with DevOps teams to smoothly move applications to the cloud, ensuring they perform efficiently. 

What will you gain? 

  • In-Depth Architectural Exploration: This certification concentrates on the intricacies of designing distributed systems on AWS. 
  • Scalability and Reliability: It explores advanced scalability, reliability, and cost optimization concepts. 
  • Hands-On Proficiency: Candidates acquire practical experience with AWS services, mastering the art of architecting solutions tailored to specific use cases. 

 AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

By earning the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional Certification (SAP-C02 exam), you can highlight your advanced knowledge and skills in delivering sophisticated solutions for intricate challenges. Showcase your expertise in optimizing security, cost, and performance and automating manual processes. This certification is a valuable tool for organizations like yours to pinpoint and nurture talent equipped with these crucial skills essential for successful cloud initiatives. 

 What will you gain? 

  • Advanced Architectural Insights: Building upon the groundwork laid by the Associate level, this certification delves into more sophisticated aspects of architectural design.
  • Handling Complex Scenarios: It addresses intricate architectural scenarios, encompassing multi-tier applications and scalable, reliable solutions across enterprise-wide landscapes.
  • Real-World Problem Solving: Professionals learn to adeptly navigate real-world challenges in the design of distributed systems, ensuring alignment with business requirements. 

What are the Advantages of this Path? 

  • Progressive Learning: The certifications offer a logical progression, enabling incremental knowledge enhancement. 
  • Deep Specialization: The Associate level provides a robust foundation, and the Professional level elevates expertise in architectural design.
  • Career Growth: Attaining the AWS Solutions Architect – Professional certification signifies a high level of proficiency, positioning individuals for senior and specialized roles.
  • Validation of Skills: Each certification serves as a testament to skills and knowledge, enhancing marketability in the industry. 

 The ‘operations’ domain 

 The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate and AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional certifications constitute a coherent and progressive trajectory following the acquisition of the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification. Here’s how these certifications align and progressively build upon each other: 

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate

The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate (SOA-C02) exam is designed for individuals like you who work in a cloud operations role as system administrators. This exam assesses your capability to deploy, manage, and operate workloads on AWS effectively. 

What will you gain? 

  • Operations Focus: The SysOps Administrator – Associate certification centers on operational aspects, encompassing tasks such as deployment, management, and optimization of AWS infrastructure. 
  • SysOps Perspective: Ideal for individuals inclined towards system operations, monitoring, and ensuring the reliability of AWS applications. 

 AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional

If you are in a DevOps engineer role, the AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional (DOP-C02) exam is tailored for individuals like you. This examination serves to validate your technical expertise in provisioning, operating, and managing distributed systems and services on AWS.  Transition into a Cloud DevOps Engineer role, focusing on designing, deploying, and running large-scale global hybrid cloud environments. Advocate for automated CI/CD pipelines, making software development faster and more reliable. 

What will you gain? 

  • Advanced DevOps Practices: Advancing to the DevOps Engineer – Professional certification entails a deeper exploration of advanced DevOps practices, focusing on automation, continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD), and efficient collaboration. 
  • Architectural Considerations: The certification covers best practices in architecture for implementing scalable and highly available systems. 

What Are the Advantages of this Path?

  • Operational Expertise: Commencing with the SysOps Administrator – Associate, you acquire operations and system management expertise within the AWS environment. 
  • DevOps Mastery: The DevOps Engineer – Professional certification takes you further, emphasizing advanced DevOps principles, automation, and architectural considerations. 
  • Career Growth: Attaining these certifications showcases a well-rounded skill set in both operations and development, positioning you as a valuable asset in DevOps roles. 

 The ‘developer’ domain 

If you’ve achieved the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification, the AWS Certified Developer – Associate and AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional certifications present a cohesive and progressive path. Here’s how these certifications complement each other, creating a logical progression: 

AWS Certified Developer – Associate

If you are in a developer role, the AWS Certified Developer – Associate (DVA-C02) exam is designed for individuals like you. This examination will validate your ability to develop, test, deploy, and debug AWS Cloud-based applications.  

What will you gain? 

  • Developer Focus: Tailored for individuals involved in application development on the AWS platform. 
  • Coding and Deployment: Covers selecting the appropriate AWS services for development, writing code, and deploying applications.

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional

By achieving the AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional certification (DOP-C02 exam), you demonstrate your technical proficiency in provisioning, operating, and managing distributed application systems on the AWS platform. This accomplishment boosts your confidence and enhances your credibility with peers, stakeholders, and customers. For organizations employing these qualified professionals, the certification assures the prompt delivery of secure, compliant systems that are highly available and scalable. 

 What will you gain? 

  • Advanced DevOps Practices: Moving to the DevOps Engineer – Professional certification involves a deep dive into advanced DevOps principles, focusing on automation, continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD), and efficient collaboration. 
  • Architectural Considerations: Encompasses architectural best practices for implementing scalable and highly available systems. 

Read More: Top AWS Certified DevOps Engineer Professional Hands-on Labs 

What Are The Advantages of This Path? 

  • Developer Expertise: Starting with the Developer-Associate certification, you acquire expertise in developing applications on the AWS platform. 
  • DevOps Mastery: The DevOps Engineer – Professional certification takes you further, concentrating on advanced DevOps practices, automation, and architectural considerations. 
  • Full Stack Understanding: This path provides a comprehensive understanding of development and DevOps practices, rendering you versatile in managing the entire software development lifecycle. 


 Why are AWS Developer Associate Certification and AWS DevOps Engineer Professional Certification the best path after cloud practitioner? 

The progression from AWS Cloud Practitioner to AWS Certified Developer – Associate and further to AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional is regarded as a strategically advantageous path for several reasons: 

1. Seamless Skill Advancement

  • Foundational Knowledge: The journey begins with the Cloud Practitioner certification, establishing a solid foundation in AWS services and cloud concepts. 
  • Developer-Centric Expertise: Transitioning to the Developer-Associate certification allows for a deeper dive into application development on the AWS platform, refining coding and deployment skills. 
  • Advanced DevOps Practices: Climbing up to the DevOps Engineer – Professional certification introduces advanced DevOps practices, automation techniques, and architectural considerations.

2. Versatility Across Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)

  • Full-Stack Proficiency: This pathway imparts a comprehensive understanding of the development and DevOps practices, enabling proficiency in managing the entire SDLC. 
  • Enhanced Collaboration: The combination of Developer – Associate and DevOps Engineer – Professional certifications promotes effective collaboration between development and operations teams.

3. Alignment with Industry Trends

  • Emphasis on DevOps: Given the widespread adoption of DevOps practices in organizations, this path aligns with current industry trends, emphasizing collaboration, process automation, and accelerated software delivery. 

4. Holistic Cloud Proficiency

  • End-to-End Mastery: This pathway ensures a holistic understanding of deploying applications on the AWS platform, covering the entire spectrum from development to efficient operational practices. 


I hope this blog helps you understand the best path after the AWS cloud practitioner certification (CLF-C01 exam). While all three approaches

  • Architect domain (AWS Solutions Architect – Associate certification + AWS Solutions – Professional accreditation),
  • Operations domain (AWS Sysops Administrator – Associate certification + AWS Devops Engineer Professional certification)
  • Developer domain (AWS Developer Associate Certification + AWS Devops Engineer – Professional Certification)

While the experts highly recommend the last combination of the AWS Cloud Practioner certification path, your choice of next step will depend on your existing skill set, type of job role, and your area of interest.  

Whizlabs can help you gain a comprehensive overview of each of these courses and understand if they are a good fit for you. Apply for our nuanced training programs, supported by video lectures, practice papers with exhausting explanations, and AWS hands-on labs and AWS sandbox so you can experiment and apply theory into practice.

About Karthikeyani Velusamy

Karthikeyani is an accomplished Technical Content Writer with 3 years of experience in the field where she holds Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering. She is well-versed in core skills such as creative writing, web publications, portfolio creation for articles. Committed to delivering quality work that meets deadlines, she is dedicated to achieving exemplary standards in all her writing projects. With her creative skills and technical understanding, she is able to create engaging and informative content that resonates with her audience.

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