If you’re preparing to take the AWS Certified Solutions Architect exam, you’ve probably thought a lot about what your future will be like after you’re certified. When people think of getting an AWS certification, they think about how it will change their lives: having new skills and expertise, employers lining up to offer dream jobs, and earning a better salary.
You’ve probably heard all the statistics about Certified Solutions Architects making six figures and getting so many job offers they don’t have time to review them all. And you’re probably wondering: what will my paycheck look like after I pass the exam?
I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news–it will look exactly the same.
Do certifications increase my salary or not?
Don’t get discouraged! The AWS CSA exam is a great way to prove your skills to employers, but it isn’t magic. When it comes to increasing your salary, finding a new job, or getting that big promotion, an AWS Certification is just a tool. And just like with any other tool, you’ve got to learn how to use it.
Once you pass the exam, you need to show off your certification. No one is going to offer you a raise or a new job if they don’t know you’re certified, so displaying your new credential properly is key. But knowing how to do this to give yourself the most leverage can be tough. Where should it go on your resume? How should you talk about it on social media? Should you print out a copy of your certification and tape it to the door on your boss’s office? (Just kidding, please don’t do this.)
Career advancement is a tricky subject and there are a lot of subtle points to consider, but here are some tips to get you started once you’re an official Certified Solutions Architect:
Show your certification on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool, especially in the tech and IT industries. So why not make the most of it. The first thing you should do is add your AWS Certification to your LinkedIn profile, under the “Certifications” section. You should also add your validation number, which can be found in the bottom right corner of your certification so that employers can easily verify that you passed the exam.
That’s the obvious tip, but don’t forget to post about your accomplishment. This adds visibility so that others will take notice of your success. AWS exams are a real challenge, and passing one is something to be proud of, so let the world know!
If you took online courses from a training provider like Linux Academy, be sure to tag them in your post. Teachers and educators are passionate about helping people. Letting them know about your success is not only a nice way to say thank you—it’s also a networking opportunity. Some may even be willing to endorse you for a skill or two if you ask.
What you should put on your resume
Your resume shows your entire professional life in a nutshell, and now that you’ve passed the exam, AWS is part of your story. But there’s more to it than adding a single bullet point and sending it off to recruiters.
When you pass the CSA exam, it means that you’ve proven your skills with a variety of AWS tools and services. Which services do you enjoy using the most? Which ones are you particularly good at? Have you used the platform to build any cool projects?
If you don’t have any real-world examples to list, you can deploy a simple website or application to show off. It doesn’t have to be something you developed from scratch–there are plenty of free, open source projects available to host yourself, and any number of these will give you valuable experience and something tangible to show in addition to your certification.
The takeaway here is rather than treating your certification like all-inclusive proof of your skills, back it up with evidence. If you really want to impress employers, list a few ways that you’ve actually used AWS. This shows that you’re serious about your new skills, and can do more than just answer a handful of questions on paper.
Asking for that big raise or promotion
Asking your boss for a raise or a promotion is intimidating. No matter how much experience you have, it doesn’t get easier, and your certification isn’t a magic ticket that you can exchange for more money. But remember, you’re a Certified Solutions Architect now. Why not put those skills to use?
Instead of going into your boss’s office and flat-out asking for a raise, find a problem in your company that you can solve and come up with a solution. It doesn’t need to be a huge problem but think about ways that you can automate a process or improve a certain part of your system. Once you’ve found it, write up a brief summary for reference, and present it to your boss.
Once you tell your boss about this new idea, there’s a 99% chance her next question will be, “How did you come up with this?” That’s your chance to mention that you just passed the CSA exam, which helped you to learn the skills that helped you solve this problem. The raise or promotion you’ve been hoping for might not come up right away, but this is a great way to ease into that conversation.
Taking your career to the next level
Taking your career to the next level can be challenging. When you start fantasizing about that big paycheck, remember that there’s more to it than passing an exam. Earning a certification doesn’t guarantee you a raise or promotion, but it’s a great tool to help you get there. All you need to do is use it.
At Linux Academy, we offer the most comprehensive course available on the AWS Certified Solutions Architect exam. Check it out here and change your life and career.