How to Become an AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate

How to Become an AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate

Demand for cloud computing specialists with certified training is growing, with hundreds of thousands of jobs needing qualified candidates over the next decade.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that demand for computer and information technology jobs will grow by 13 percent between 2020 and 2030, adding 667,000 jobs over that time period. Gartner projected in 2020 that public cloud computing services would grow by 18.4% as more businesses moved operations to the cloud in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic.

Note: The data provided above are from a source unaffiliated with Campus, formerly known as MTI College, are for informational purposes only and represent the employment field as a whole. They are not solely specific to Campus graduates and, by providing the above information, Campus makes no representation, direct or implied, or opinion regarding employability.

Experienced AWS Solutions Architects can earn a comfortable living, as reflected in the recent compensation data from Indeed, Glassdoor, and Payscale.

If you have an affinity for working with information technology and an aptitude for solving problems, this may be an ideal career choice for you.

Cloud Computing and AWS Market Share

Currently, the three biggest players in the cloud computing space are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

In Q1 2021, Amazon Web Services had a revenue of 13.5 billion, beating the 13.1 billion projection. That accounted for 12.8% of all Amazon revenue during that quarter.

During Q1 2021, this was the total market share of cloud computing services:

  • AWS – 32%
  • Microsoft Azure – 19%
  • Google Cloud – 7%
  • All Others – 42%

This is a compelling reason to pursue certifications from AWS. Many large companies are using it for their cloud platform, and their market share is growing steadily.

What Exactly Is an AWS Solutions Architect?

AWS Certified Solutions Architect

Before diving deeper into how to become an AWS Certified Solutions Architect, it’s imperative to understand what that title means, and what role those IT professionals play in an organization.

These cloud computing technicians design, build, deploy, and maintain business applications and critical infrastructure inside the AWS Cloud.

Some of the responsibilities for an AWS Solutions Architect include:

  • Architecting, building, and maintaining cost-efficient, scalable cloud environments for the organization.
  • Understanding business objectives of the company and creating cloud-based solutions to facilitate those objectives.
  • Moving archaic systems into the cloud for more efficiency within the organization – aka digital transformation.
  • Keeping cloud environments secure and preventing downtime or security breaches.
  • Looking for ways to improve operations within company to digitize common tasks.
  • Designing, building, maintaining internal cloud applications for the organization.
  • Keeping up to date on best practices in cloud computing and making improvements to the cloud infrastructure of their company or organization.

How to Become an AWS Solutions Architect (Associate)

1. Join an Approved AWS Training Program

The most imperative step in becoming a valuable AWS Solutions Architect is choosing a great training program. There are many sources that you can choose for AWS training, but there are some compelling reasons to select a program like the one at Campus that is closely aligned with Amazon Web Services.

Campus, formerly MTI College, has a fully online AWS training program for qualified applicants that will prepare students for their AWS Solutions Architect – Associate exam in 24 weeks. Students that meet these requirements can enroll:

  • Associate’s or higher degree from an accredited institution
  • Education, certification or work experience in information technology
  • Access to a laptop or desktop with broadband internet access

M Campus is one of a select group of educational institutions that are designated as an official Amazon AWS Academy. Additionally, Campus students get access to exclusive tools for training like AWS developed curriculum and custom learning labs set within the AWS console.

Once you have completed your training program, it is time to take the certification exam.

2. Pass the AWS Solutions Architect – Associate Exam

This certification verifies that you know how to design, build, manage, and deploy systems in the AWS cloud. This exam is suited for candidates with experience in designing distributed applications. You should be familiar with AWS security and compliance guidelines before taking this exam.

  • Prerequisite: One year of experience or equivalent study.
  • Format: Multiple-choice, multiple-answer.
  • Exam Time: 130 minutes (SAA-C02).

There are four sections on the exam:

  • Domain 1: Design Resilient Architectures 30%
  • Domain 2: Design High-Performing Architectures 28%
  • Domain 3: Design Secure Applications and Architectures 24%
  • Domain 4: Design Cost-Optimized Architectures 18%

Some of the specific concepts that are covered in the certification exam:

  • Network technologies in AWS Cloud, including configuration and management.
  • Designing and deploying AWS-based applications, how client interfaces connect to AWS.
  • Building secure applications on AWS.
  • Deploying systems with on-premises data and AWS components (hybrid).
  • Disaster recovery and data security.
  • AWS infrastructure and concepts.

3. Do AWS Cloud Projects to Gain Hands-On Experience

After earning your certification as an AWS Solutions Architect – Associate, many people apply for positions in companies and organizations that fit this skillset. There are many jobs that are listed online that are specifically looking for AWS Solutions Architects.

If your real-world experience designing and building scalable cloud applications has been limited, you may want to build side projects that build your experience while giving you something to show potential employers. Many hiring managers look at the portfolio of candidates and look for accessible applications that demonstrate their skills.

Entering the job market with an AWS certification and person side projects that you can show (without having to worry about NDAs) is a powerful combination that can give you a competitive edge.

Ready to start preparing for the AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam? Campus offers exclusive AWS Academy curriculum to get you ready for your exam. Learn more in Campus' online AWS Cloud Solutions Architect program.

Other Useful Skills for an AWS Solutions Architect

These are characteristics that employers love to see in an information technology candidate.

Hands-on experience

If you have some real-world experience working with networks, cloud environments, and building scalable applications, that will go a long way in securing a position at a company.


Perhaps one of the most important traits for a technology worker to possess. Being able to communicate effectively to stakeholders, clients, and other team members will help make projects successful.


Every organization relies on collaboration. There may be other people in your department that you need to work together with to make a project successful. The teamwork may need to occur with other departments outside of IT. Working together as a cohesive unit makes operations run smoother.

Positive attitude

Technology can be very frustrating, and every application and project has special challenges. Being able to focus on the big picture and work with a positive attitude makes IT projects less intimidating for others in the organization.


Can you estimate the scope of a project correctly and come through consistently? Being dependable is the hallmark of a valuable information worker.

Problem solving capacity

Many people who work in technology are drawn to it because it engages their need to solve complex problems. Designing and maintaining cloud applications that solves business problems is rewarding in many ways. You must be able to troubleshoot, plan effectively, and solve issues you may not have encountered before. If you are a problem solver, cloud computing and development may be an ideal career choice for you.

What Other Certifications Can You Earn From Amazon Web Services?

Currently, AWS offers these certifications:

AWS logo
  • AWS Cloud Practitioner
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
  • AWS Certified Developer – Associate
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional
  • AWS Certified Data Analytics – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Security – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Database – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty

Depending on what career path you want to pursue in cloud computing, you may choose different certifications to earn.

You cannot take the Professional exams without earning the corresponding Associate level certifications first.

Become an AWS Certified Cloud Solutions Architect

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