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AWS Solutions Architect Associate vs Professional: Key Differences

17th Nov, 2023
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    AWS Solutions Architect Associate vs Professional: Key Differences

    In today's IT world, many students desire to become Amazon Web Services (AWS) Solutions Architect Associates or AWS Solution Architect Professionals. AWS has come up with many level certifications to fulfill the needs of the IT industry. The AWS Certified Solutions Architect is an exam with associate level and professional level that tests the candidates' skills regarding managing and operating systems on AWS. The AWS-certified solution architect is a better option than other cloud platforms for the IT industry, and spending on the AWS Solution Architect certification would be a good choice.

    AWS certifications help you excel in trending cloud computing skills. AWS Solutions Architect Associate is a mid-level expert that understands Amazon cloud services. This certification offers the right architectural solutions. On the other hand, to become a certified AWS Solution Architect Professional, you must first be an AWS Solution Architect Associate. This is a tougher exam compared to the AWS solution architect associate exam. Let us go through greater details of AWS Solutions Architect Associate vs Professional in the following sections.

    AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate vs AWS Certified Solutions Architect ProfessionalTabular Comparison 

    ParametersAWS Certified Solutions Architect AssociateAWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional
    Level of Certification
    It is an intermediate level of certification and denotes mid-level expertise.It is an advanced and professional level of certification. It is the top level in AWS.
    ExperienceThe candidate must have four to five years of experience in networking, storage, database management, deployment of management services.The candidate must have two or more years of experience in designing and deployment of cloud architectures and implementing various architectural models.
    UnderstandingThis includes understanding of AWS international and global structures and networking.This includes understanding of hybrid cloud environments and infrastructures.
    Exam Domains
    The AWS Certified Solution Architect Associate exam has four domains.The AWS Certified Solution Architect Professional exam has five domains.
    Earn Certification
    To earn the certification for AWS solution architect associate, you will need to pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam.To earn the certification for AWS SA Professional, you will need to pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect professional exam.

    AWS Solutions Architect Associate vs Professional: Detailed Comparison

    1. Level of Certification
    Levels of AWS certification

    The levels of AWS certification are as follows 

    A) Foundational Level

    The first level in AWS certification is the Foundational level. It is mainly recommended for beginners. At this level, only one certification is offered- AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. 

    AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner  

    This comes under the foundational level as an entry-level AWS certification. This gives a basic knowledge of the AWS cloud platform, and a candidate needs 6 months of industrial experience in the AWS cloud domain before appearing for this exam. The foundational level covers aspects such as- 

    • Basic global infrastructure 
    • Architectural principles 
    • Value proposition 
    • Basic security 
    • Compliance aspects 
    • Pricing models etc. 

    B) Associate Level 

    The next level is the Associate level. This requires a deep knowledge of a specific domain. Compared to the foundational level, the associate-level exam is tough. At this level, three certifications exist - AWS-Certified Solutions Architect, AWS-certified SysOps administrator, and AWS-certified developer. 

    1. AWS Certified Solutions Architect 

    This is for the candidate with at least one year of experience designing applications and implementing solutions in the AWS cloud. Skills related to designing, managing, and deploying applications on the AWS platform are a must. The associate level covers aspects such as- 

    • Knowledge of architecture on AWS 
    • Deployment of applications on AWS 
    • Ability to provide solutions by architectural design principles  
    • Implementing guidance for the entire project life cycle etc. 

    2. AWS Certified Developer 

    This is for the candidate with at least one year of experience developing and maintaining AWS platform applications. To earn this level of certification, you must have programming language knowledge in the development, deployment, and debugging process of cloud-based applications.  

    3. AWS Certified SysOps Administrator 

    This is for the candidate with at least one year of industry experience in deployment and operations on AWS. The AWS-certified SysOps administrator certification exam covers aspects such as- 

    • Deployment and management of AWS platform applications 
    • Data transfer between AWS and data centers 
    • Identification of operational cost etc. 

    C) Professional Level 

    The professional level comes after the foundation and associate levels. This is the expert level and requires knowledge of the expertise. Foundational level and associate level certification are the prerequisite for the professional level. AWS accompanies this level-certified DevOps engineer and AWS-Certified Solutions Architect.

    1. AWS Certified Solutions Architect    

    This is for the candidate with at least two years of experience in the cloud industry as a solution architect. You must have the ability and skills to evaluate cloud application requirements, design and deploy cloud architecture on AWS, implement cost control strategies, etc. 

    2. AWS Certified DevOps Engineer 

    AWS Certified DevOps Engineer Professional is another professional-level certification for the candidate with at least two to three years of experience in provisioning and managing AWS architectures. Before appearing for this certification exam, you must have certification for AWS Certified Developer- Associate or AWS Certified SysOps Administrator- Associate.  

    Also, six specialty certifications are provided by AWS. 

    1. AWS Certified Data Analytics- Specialty 
    2. AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder- Specialty 
    3. AWS Certified Security- Specialty  
    4. AWS Certified Machine Learning- Specialty  
    5. AWS Certified Advanced Networking- Specialty  
    6. AWS Certified Database- Specialty 

    2. Eligibility Criteria 

    To be eligible for AWS Certified Solution Architect Associate, a candidate must have basic knowledge of the IT services. This exam will test knowledge related to networking technologies and their applications in AWS. 

    On the other hand, to be eligible for the AWS-Certified Solution Architect Profession, a candidate must know strategies for the optimization of cost and how to fulfill the application’s requirements by choosing the correct AWS service. 

    3. Cost 

    The AWS-Certified Solution Architect Associate cost is around ₹12336.30/- whereas for AWS-certified Solution Architect Professional cost is ₹24,671.37/-. 

    4. Length of Exam 

    The AWS-Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam lasts 130 minutes, while the AWS-Certified Solutions Architect test professional lasts 180 minutes. 

    5. Exam Format 

    The AWS-Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam appears to have 65 questions. The questions are of multiple choice or multiple responses; in the AWS Certified Solutions Architect professional exam, there are 75 questions in the same manner as multiple choice or multiple responses. 

    6. Hands-on experience required 

    To appear for AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam, the candidate must have four to five years of hands-on experience in- 

    • Networking 
    • Storage  
    • Database Management  
    • Deployment of Management Services. 

    On the other hand, to appear for AWS professional architect certification exam, the candidate must have two or more years of hands-on experience in- 

    • Designing and deployment of cloud architectures  
    • Implementation of various architectural models. 

    7. Requires understanding of 

    AWS-Certified Solutions Architect Associates must understand AWS international and global structures and networking. In contrast, an AWS-Certified Solutions Architect must understand hybrid cloud environments and infrastructures. 

    8. Requires Familiarity with 

    The AWS-Certified Solutions Architect Associate requires familiarity with the AWS management console and the AWS command line interface. In contrast, the AWS-Certified Solutions Architect profession requires familiarity with AWS Command Line Interface, AWS APIs, AWS Cloud formation templates, the AWS billing console, the AWS management console, a scripting language, and windows and Linux environments. 

    9. Types of Questions 

    The questions for both AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate and AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional are Multiple Choice and Multiple Responses. Several resources are available to study these questions, such as AWS documentation, AWS white papers, AWS books, AWS videos, and FAQs. These questions are based on knowledge and skill related to: 

    • Architecting and Deploying robust and securing applications on the AWS platform using AWS technologies. 
    • Based on customer requirements, define a solution using architectural design principles. 

    10. Domains 

    The AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam is divided into four domains mainly- 

    1. Design Resilient Architectures 
    2. Design High-Performing Architectures 
    3. Design Secure Applications and Architectures 
    4. Design Cost-Optimized Architectures 

    On the other side, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional exam is divided into five domains mainly-

    1. Design for organization complexity 
    2. Design for new solutions  
    3. Migration planning 
    4. Cost control  
    5. Continuous improvements for existing solutions 

    11. Roles and Responsibility 

    The roles and responsibilities of the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate is to- 

    • Design business applications  
    • Build, deploy, and maintain business applications  
    • Critical infrastructure inside the AWS cloud 

    The roles and responsibility of the AWS-Certified Solutions Architect Professional is to- 

    • Build the overall network of the AWS 
    • Implement and execute cost control strategies 
    • Manage overall networking  
    • Formulate connectivity issues 

    12. Salary Prospects 

    When talking about the AWS-Certified Solutions Architect Associate, the salary package is around 13,86,744 per annum, and for AWS-Certified Solutions Architect Professional, it is ₹24,67,543 per annum. 

    Which AWS Solutions Architect Certification is Most Rewarding? 

    The most rewarding AWS Solutions Architect Certification is the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Certification Professional. The Cloud Architect Certifications provide you with more job opportunities. 

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    Whether an AWS solution architect associate or an AWS Solution Architect Professional, the candidate becomes a multi-tasker and gains an all-rounder personality. UpGrad KnowledgeHut AWS Solution Architect Certification cost can help you gain further knowledge for an excellent AWS Solution Architect Certification.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Is associate or professional better?

    The professional level is one step higher than the associate level. The associate level has mid-level experts for AWS, whereas the Professional level has advanced and top-level experts. If you have an AWS Solution Architect Professional credential, you are the most qualified and experienced candidate in the IT industry. 

    2What is the average salary of an AWS Solutions Architect Associate?

    AWS Solutions Architect Associate salary is between ₹ 2.4 lakhs to ₹ 16.0 lakhs and an average annual salary of ₹ 8.8 lakhs in India. 

    3What does an AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional do?

    AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional build, implement and execute cost control strategies. They look towards networking and formulation of connectivity issues. They further make strategies for resolving complex-tier applications. 


    Kingson Jebaraj

    Multi Cloud Architect

    Kingson Jebaraj is a highly respected technology professional, recognized as both a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) and an Alibaba Most Valuable Professional. With a wealth of experience in cloud computing, Kingson has collaborated with renowned companies like Microsoft, Reliance Telco, Novartis, Pacific Controls UAE, Alibaba Cloud, and G42 UAE. He specializes in architecting innovative solutions using emerging technologies, including cloud and edge computing, digital transformation, IoT, and programming languages like C, C++, Python, and NLP. 

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