Mastering AWS Certifications: A 12-Month Journey to Success

My journey to AWS 'All 12'. How I did it, and how you can too! | by Mark  Ross | Medium


Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a leading cloud platform that offers a wide range of services to businesses worldwide. AWS certifications are globally recognized credentials that validate an individual’s cloud expertise and skills. This article provides an in-depth overview of a unique journey of passing all 12 AWS certifications in just 12 months, shared by Glendon, an intern at AWS.

Introduction to Glendon

Glendon is a final year college student based in Singapore, studying at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Computer Science and a Master’s of Science in Technology Management. Glendon is currently on his second internship with Amazon Web Services (AWS), serving as a Prototyping Engineer within the ASEAN Prototyping Team. During his one-year tenure at AWS, Glendon successfully passed all 12 AWS certifications.

Glendon’s Certification Journey

Glendon’s journey began during his third year of college when he joined AWS as a Solutions Architect intern in 2020. With no prior experience with cloud providers, he found the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification a great starting point to gain a high-level overview of AWS products and offerings.

As his project at work became more technical, he pursued the Solutions Architect Associate level certification, which was directly related to his job title. After the second certification, Glendon developed a routine of studying a few hours each day and decided to continue this throughout his internship.

Glendon approached the certifications incrementally, starting from the foundational certifications, followed by the associate level certifications, and finally the professional level and specialty certifications. He chose certifications that had direct relevance to his projects at work, which helped him enhance his understanding at work and navigate challenging questions during the exam.

Challenges and Overcoming Them

The biggest challenge Glendon faced during his journey was the periodic dips in motivation. He felt drained and burned out from studying for the certifications, especially during busy periods at work. To overcome this, he took an entire month to rest and recuperate before returning to his certification journey.

Glendon found that having a clear purpose for pursuing a certification helped maintain his motivation. For example, studying for the AWS Machine Learning Specialty certification felt more manageable because it had direct relevance to his work.

Myths and Misconceptions about AWS Certifications

A common misconception about AWS certifications is that being AWS certified guarantees a job. While a technical certification can help during the initial resume screening process, hiring managers usually introduce some form of technical assessment to ensure the candidate possesses the required technical depth.

Having a formal certification can be a proxy to expertise, but it’s not the only indication of technical competence. The value lies in the knowledge and content that one can pick up from the certification journey.

Benefits of AWS Certifications

The biggest benefit of being certified lies in the process of studying for the certifications. They provide a good structure for someone who wants to gain expertise within a specific domain. The actual certification itself, upon passing, simply serves as a bonus and documentation from that process.

Advice for Students

Glendon advises students not to aim for all 12 certifications unless they have the luxury to do so. Each certification ranges from 150 to 200 USD, which can be a significant financial investment.

Instead, he suggests focusing on getting the content and learning about the cloud. If students do decide to pursue all certifications, they should take them slowly but with intent, be consistent with their preparation, and complement their study process with hands-on experience.


Glendon’s journey of passing all 12 AWS certifications in 12 months is an impressive feat. It demonstrates the power of consistency, dedication, and strategic planning. While AWS certifications can enhance one’s

resume and provide a structured learning pathway, it’s essential to remember that they are not a guaranteed ticket to a job. The real value lies in the knowledge gained during the certification journey and the ability to apply that knowledge in real-world scenarios.

Whether you’re a student just starting your cloud journey or a professional looking to deepen your expertise, AWS certifications can be a valuable tool. However, it’s crucial to approach them with clear intentions, a focus on learning, and a willingness to invest time and effort into understanding the content deeply.

Remember, the journey towards AWS certification is not a race, but a marathon. It’s about gaining a deep understanding of AWS services and how to leverage them effectively. So, take your time, choose the certifications that align with your career goals, and enjoy the learning process. With dedication and persistence, you too can master AWS certifications and take your cloud skills to the next level.


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