What Is an AWS Cloud Practitioner and What Do They Do?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Are you interested in becoming an AWS cloud practitioner? Explore the profession, how to enter the field, and how earning AWS certifications may help you stand out as a job applicant.

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Cloud computing has allowed businesses and individuals to have the latest networking and computing technology without paying for, storing, and maintaining pricey and bulky hardware on-site. It has also opened numerous opportunities for professionals with varied networking and computing skill sets. 

An Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud practitioner is one of the important roles in cloud computing; they’re responsible for managing a business’s cloud infrastructure. If you’re interested in this role, learn about their salary, duties, and tools they use. 

What is an AWS cloud practitioner?

An AWS cloud practitioner’s primary role is to oversee an organization’s cloud computing architecture, including designing, deploying, and maintaining cloud-based solutions. As an AWS cloud practitioner, you’ll work closely with other IT professionals to ensure the cloud environment operates as expected and is always secure and available.

You’ll typically be updated with the latest cloud computing developments, including new products and services AWS offers. You must also administer AWS services and deploy applications. This role requires extensive technical expertise and knowledge of cloud computing.

Tasks and responsibilities

As an AWS cloud practitioner, you’ll have a wide range of tasks ahead of you. Your general duties and responsibilities will include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Managing and maintaining AWS services and infrastructure

  • Developing and optimizing cloud-based applications and services

  • Implementing identity and security measures to protect the cloud environment

  • Monitoring system performance and addressing issues the end-user may have 

  • Collaborating with cross-functional teams to optimize cloud solutions

  • Designing and implementing backup and disaster recovery plans

  • Being the link between the organization’s business and technical operations

  • Understanding AWS design concepts, best practices, and industry standards

  • Analyzing and scaling workloads

  • Configuring virtual private clouds

  • Troubleshooting any issues that arise in the cloud infrastructure 

AWS cloud practitioner salary and job outlook

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for an entry-level AWS cloud practitioner is $85,866 [1]. However, this can vary greatly depending on the company you work for, where you work, and your experience level. Additionally, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the demand for network and computer systems administrators will grow by 2 percent from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations [2]. Most of these openings are due to workers transitioning to a different role or leaving the workforce. 

What tools do AWS cloud practitioners use?

AWS cloud practitioners use many tools throughout their careers because of the technical and non-technical components of cloud computing, networking, and security. Let’s review some important tools you may use in this role.  

AWS Management Console

AWS Management Console is a critical tool you’ll use as an AWS cloud practitioner. It allows you to access and manage the organization’s AWS resources through a convenient web-based application. You can access this tool using the latest versions of Internet browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Internet Explorer 11.

There is also an AWS Console mobile app, which allows you to view resources such as CloudWatch Alarm and handle operational tasks on an iOS or Android device. 

AWS Command Line Interface

Another tool you’ll interact with is the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI). This open-source tool allows you to use commands within your command-line shell to interact with AWS services. It requires very little configuration and allows you to run commands to implement functionality equal to ones found in the AWS Management Console via Linux shells, Windows command line, or remotely. 

AWS CLI gives you access to all of the AWS public application programming interfaces (APIs).AWS capabilities are also available, and you’re able to develop shell scripts that can manage AWS resources. 

AWS Software Development Kits

AWS Software Development Kits (SDKs) make any developer's job easier by collecting various development tools you’ll need to write code, including debuggers, compilers, and libraries, into one place. 

SDKs also contain valuable resources, including documentation, tutorials, APIs, and frameworks to help speed up development time. 

What qualifications do you need to become an AWS cloud practitioner?

Like many positions in this field, many organizations will look for specific education, certifications, and skills when hiring an AWS cloud practitioner. Here’s what you’ll likely need to land a career in this field. 


Organizations sometimes require a bachelor’s degree in a networking-related field, such as computer science or information technology. However, some organizations may hire candidates with only a certificate or an associate degree.

Before applying for AWS cloud practitioner positions, you’ll need to demonstrate your basic knowledge of AWS and its systems by earning an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification. Some organizations may not require this, but most will require you to show this foundational expertise. 


To qualify as a job applicant, many organizations will require certification in AWS cloud computing technology. Much like other proprietary cloud-computing solutions, AWS has its own certification program to ensure you’re up to speed on all the latest updates. You’ll likely need to continue your training throughout your career to learn new systems and updates that arise. 

Some useful AWS cloud practitioner certifications include:

  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. This foundational certification is generally the first step toward entering this field. To earn this certificate, take a 90-minute exam with 65 multiple-choice or multiple-response questions online or in person for $100 [3]. This exam will test your foundational, high-level understanding of subjects such as the AWS Cloud, its services, and relevant terminology. 

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect—Associate. After a year of working as an AWS cloud practitioner and gaining experience, this certificate can help you advance. This 130-minute, 65-question exam runs $150 and showcases your understanding of the AWS Well-Architected Framework and the “design of cost and performance optimized solutions” [4].

  • AWS Certified Developer—Associate. While this certification may say it's for developers, it may be a great idea for anyone who works in AWS. When studying for this certificate, you’ll gain a deeper knowledge of key AWS services like SNS, Dynamo DB, SQS, and Elastic Beanstalk. It’s a 130-minute, $150, 65-question certification exam designed to test your knowledge of core AWS services, uses, and basic AWS architecture best practices [5]. It verifies your proficiency in developing, deploying, and debugging cloud-based AWS applications.

AWS cloud practitioner career advancement

After gaining several years of hands-on experience, you can start studying for and getting associate and professional certificates to help with your career growth. These advanced certificates can help you gain more senior roles or move into IT management.


Read more: Your Guide to AWS Certification


You’ll require a wide range of technical and workplace skills to be successful as an AWS cloud practitioner. Let’s review some of the skills in each category. 

Technical skills

  • Managing cloud architecture deployment and applications within the AWS platform

  • Gaining a thorough understanding of the cloud platform

  • Ongoing proficiency in programming languages like  C++, Java, Python, and JavaScript

  • Proficiency in operating project management software such as Jira and Monday

  • Understanding of data security and compliance

  • Understanding of the Linux operating system

  • Understanding of various AWS products, including Ansible, Chef, Docker, Jenkins, and other application development and deployment tools

Read more: Java vs. C++ Comparison: What are the Differences in These Programming Languages?

Workplace skills

  • Understanding how organizations use networking hardware and software

  • Handling end-user issues efficiently

  • Handling third-party program integration issues

  • Understanding and handling scalability issues

  • Decision-making

  • Managerial skills

  • Interpersonal and communication skills

Start studying for the AWS cloud practitioner exam today on Coursera

Becoming an AWS cloud practitioner can be an exciting and rewarding career. If you’re analytical and enjoy cutting-edge technology, you may be a perfect candidate for this ever-changing field. If you want to become a certified AWS cloud practitioner, consider taking AWS’ Cloud Practitioner Essentials on Coursera to familiarize yourself with AWS and begin preparing for certification. This program covers topics like global infrastructure, cloud computing, and more. 

Article sources


ZipRecruiter. "Entry Level Aws Cloud Practitioner Salary, https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Entry-Level-AWS-Cloud-Practitioner-Salary.”  Accessed December 21, 2023.

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