by Paul Thomas

Don’t know what course to take? Well, let me help you. 

QA has a lot of wonderful AWS courses available on the website: Architect, SysOps, DevOps and more – take your pick. It’s important to make sure that as you build your knowledge, you have solid foundations, just as if you were building a house with lots of content inside.

We’re often asked: AWS Technical Essentials or AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials: Which one should I pick?

Let’s start with the content of each course.

AWS Technical Essentials

  • Introduction and History of AWS
  • AWS Foundational Services:
    • EC2
    • VPC
    • S3
    • EBS
  • AWS Security
    • Shared Responsibility Model
    • Identity and Access Management (IAM):
      • Users
      • Groups
      • Roles
      • Policies
      • CloudTrail
  • AWS Databases:
    • RDS
    • DynamoDB
  • AWS Management Tools:
    • Auto Scaling
    • CloudWatch
    • Elastic Load Balancing
    • Trusted Advisor

AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials

  • Define what the cloud is and how it works
  • Differentiate between cloud computing and deployment models
  • Describe the AWS Cloud value proposition
  • Describe the basic global infrastructure of the cloud
  • Compare the different methods of interacting with AWS
  • Describe and differentiate between AWS service domains
  • Describe the Well-Architected Framework
  • Describe basic AWS Cloud architectural principles
  • Explain the Shared Responsibility model
  • Describe security services with the AWS cloud
  • Define the billing, account management, and pricing models for the AWS platform
  • Identify future services and developments built on the cloud

While there are some similarities between the two courses, consider the journey you wish to take. AWS Technical Essentials (AMWSE) maps well to the Architecting on AWS course (AMWSA). It contains a lot of the services covered in the follow-up course at an introductory level, and starts you on that technical journey and technical depth. The follow-up Architecting on AWS and the subsequent Advanced Architecting on AWS course (AMWSAA) then expands on the breadth of these services and goes into more depth too.

Cloud Practitioner Essentials (AMWSCPE) gives a good grounding and breadth of cloud services focused around AWS. Together with this course there is a specific exam, the Certified Cloud Practitioner exam.

The Cloud Practitioner Essentials course maps better to the exam* than AWS Technical Essentials, if that is your focus.

*AWS courses are written to prepare you for your cloud job role, not specifically to prepare you with questions/answers for your exam. As with any vendor role-based course, additional study would always be recommended.

There will always be specific things you wish to learn from either course – perhaps consider that if this is just the start of your journey. Without that initial exam requirement and with slightly more technical discussions, then AWS Technical Essentials could be a good way to go.

If you wish to take either just that exam, or start your journey through the series of above courses by taking an exam before the next step to Associate level, then Cloud Practitioner Essentials could be your choice.

Also read: Want to become an AWS Solutions Architect? Here's how.