How to Learn AWS

Read this guide to find out what AWS is, what it stands for, how you can learn AWS, and what you can do with AWS certification.
8 min read

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  • There are several ways to learn AWS, including paid and free options.
  • Individuals who earn AWS certification may improve their job prospects.
  • AWS skills are required for many tech jobs, including AWS cloud engineers and data analysts.

Millions of companies and customers use AWS. But what is AWS? And what does AWS stand for?

AWS stands for Amazon Web Services. AWS offers more than 200 cloud-based web services that help companies innovate faster, become more agile, and reduce costs.

AWS operates on a pay-as-you-go system, so companies only pay for what they use. This allows companies to scale up or down according to their needs. For some services, pricing is tiered — as a company's volume increases, their cost per unit decreases.

How to Learn AWS

If you're wondering how to learn AWS, you can pursue several options. You can learn AWS through online courses (hosted by AWS or another provider), by watching YouTube videos, or by simply playing around with AWS after creating a free account. You could also attend a coding bootcamp that covers AWS in its curriculum.

Online Courses

You can find free and paid AWS courses on Udemy and Coursera. EdX also offers several free online courses about AWS. And, of course, AWS itself offers over 500 free AWS courses directly through the AWS website. Most courses are self-paced and free. However, AWS does offer some classroom-based courses, which require a registration fee.

YouTube Videos

Several content creators offer free AWS tutorials on YouTube. You can find online video courses by Simplilearn, Intellipaat, and These options range in length from 5-11 hours. All of these videos are free to watch and great for AWS beginners.

AWS also has its own YouTube channel, where it hosts videos such as, "What Is AWS? | Amazon Web Services." The AWS YouTube channel includes knowledge center videos where Amazon Web Services answers frequently asked questions.

Coding Bootcamp

Coding bootcamps teach students the skills they need to land an entry-level job in their chosen career. For example, Simplilearn offers a cloud architect bootcamp and an AWS cloud architect bootcamp, both of which cover AWS. Vibrant Bootcamp also offers an AWS bootcamp. Data analytics bootcamps may also cover AWS, but they focus more on analyzing and using large amounts of data.

Pros and Cons
Learning Method Pros Cons
Play With AWS
  • Hands-on
  • Free, unless you use paid services
  • Very little guidance to help you learn
Online Courses
  • Inexpensive or free
  • Usually self-paced
  • Material walks you through using AWS
  • There may not be an instructor available to answer questions if you need help
YouTube Videos
  • Free
  • Great for those who learn better by watching videos
  • It's hard to get help through YouTube's comment section
Coding Bootcamps
  • Structured curriculum
  • Instructors available to help if needed
  • Much more expensive

AWS Jobs

As of November 2021, Indeed listed over 135,000 jobs that mentioned AWS. These include positions for senior NodeJS and Ethereum solidity engineers, front-end Drupal developers, system administrators, software engineers, AWS cloud engineers, and more. Here are a few top tech jobs you may qualify for with AWS training.

  • Front-End Developer: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), web developers and digital designers earned a median salary of $77,200 per year in 2020. The BLS projects that demand for this position will grow 13% from 2020-30.
  • Software Engineer: As of February 2022, Payscale reported the average software engineer salary was $88,360 per year. Software engineers typically earn more as they gain experience. Those with 20+ years of experience take home an average salary of more than $116,000 per year.
  • System Administrator: The BLS reported that the median pay for network and computer systems administrators in 2020 was $84,810. The BLS projects 5% growth in systems administrator jobs from 2020-30.
  • AWS Cloud Engineer: According to Payscale, the average base salary for a cloud solutions engineer was $87,950 per year, as of February 2022.
  • Data Analyst: In February 2022, Payscale listed the average base salary for a data analyst at $61,900 per year. Data analysts with 20+ years of experience earned an average of $74,130 per year.

What Are the Benefits of AWS Certification?

First, what is AWS certification? AWS certification is a credential offered through Amazon Web Services that lets employers know you are skilled in using AWS. There are several levels and categories of AWS certification, including five specialty certifications.

The foundational level of AWS certification is the cloud practitioner certification, which represents about six months of industry knowledge. Moving up, the associate level offers three categories of certification: solutions architect, sysops administrator, and developer. The highest level is professional certification, which offers two options: solutions architect and devops engineer. The five specialty certifications are related to advanced networking, data analytics, databases, machine learning, and security.

Getting AWS certification can help you qualify for better jobs. It may also enable you to move up the career ladder more quickly. Adding this credential to your resume can show your employer that you are dedicated to your career.

Frequently Asked Questions About AWS

Is it difficult to learn AWS?

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Learning AWS may not be very difficult for those with some experience in technology and a basic knowledge of cloud computing. However, if you don't know anything about cloud computing, you should learn the basics before attempting to learn a specific platform like AWS or Azure.

You could start by watching a cloud computing tutorial on YouTube to give you a basic understanding of what the cloud is and how it works. Once you have that foundation in place, you can choose a platform for learning AWS and go from there.

Is AWS free to learn?

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There are many ways to learn AWS for free. You can take an online course, watch YouTube videos, or play around with a free AWS account. If you choose the last option, be careful not to use paid services to do your testing, or you will incur fees for those services.

The best free AWS training is probably the training offered by AWS itself. There are more than 500 free AWS courses on the AWS website. The site includes learning paths for full-stack developer, data scientist, database administrator, and more.

What is the difference between Azure and AWS?

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AWS and Azure are both cloud-based web services. Together, these two companies account for roughly 40% of the market share worldwide. However, there are a few key differences between the two services.

Azure has more availability zones and supports hybrid clouds better than AWS. AWS offers direct connection instead of the express routes offered by Azure. Another difference is security. Azure requires users to set permissions for the whole account, whereas AWS has defined roles that can access different levels of services.

Google also offers a variety of comparable services through Google Cloud, each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses.

How long does it take to learn AWS?

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Depending on your background, you can probably get a pretty good grasp of the basics of AWS within a month or so. However, you should expect it to take 3-6 months of using AWS regularly to become competent. Of course, some people learn faster or slower than others.

A good place to start would be the cloud practitioner course on the AWS website. This course helps prepare learners for the cloud practitioner exam. This certification signifies that an individual has about six months' worth of knowledge using AWS services.

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