Amazon has come a long way from just selling books — and not just because it’s become a one-stop shop for everything from toilet paper to grocery deliveries. Thanks to businesses shifting operations and infrastructure to the cloud, systems and applications that used to run right down the hall in a server room are now hosted in a remote data center. One of these cloud providers is Amazon Web Services (AWS). As with all digital solutions, you need people to work with, manage, and improve them, which is where AWS developers come into play.
Read on to learn what an AWS developer does, the skills you need to become one, the salary you can expect to earn, and how you can get closer to your AWS professional goals by learning to code.
What does an AWS developer do?
An AWS developer designs, maintains, and manages the cloud-based infrastructure used to run web applications in AWS’s cloud. Beyond Amazon itself, plenty of companies employ AWS developers, from agencies like Deloitte to software solution companies or production studios that require in-house help for their operations. And since AWS is used by such a diverse set of industries (from entertainment and advertising to hospitality), it’s a career path that comes with many job opportunities despite where your interests lie.
That being said, the job involves a lot of specific skills, some of which are unique to the AWS platform. You’ll need to know programming languages like Java, Python, and C#, as well as other day-to-day skills.
Work with microservices
Microservices are elements of applications that the overall app uses to function. They can be assigned to different elements of the app, making it easier to add features and make changes to several elements simultaneously.
For example, suppose you have an app hosted on AWS that runs an online hardware store’s order fulfillment system. The app’s overall function can be divided into microservices that take care of the smaller elements that the app needs. These may include a database with user information, another database with pricing info for different items the store sells, and another one that connects to Internet of Things (IoT) devices that keep track of inventory. These microservices come with a low cost of failure that makes it easier to experiment and update code to try out new ideas within an app.
As an AWS developer, you have to know how to work with these microservices and how to deploy them within the AWS platform to create business solutions.
Set up monitoring systems
In an ideal world, an app functions as it should all the time, but in reality, errors happen. That’s where monitoring comes in: to alert you when a problem arises, figure out what happened, and flag the systems it may have impacted. Monitoring also helps you perform root cause analysis (RCA), so you can pinpoint the system that caused the issue and fix it.
If you can set up a reliable monitoring system, you will also be able to reduce the number and variety of cyberattacks. Monitoring helps an AWS developer spot breaches and other cyberattacks quickly, enabling admins to take action.
Infrastructure migration has gotten more and more popular as an increasing number of businesses have decided to move their systems to the cloud. Because AWS has so many tools, some businesses may want to hire you to migrate their existing infrastructure to AWS. Understanding the principles and practices that drive successful migration will be key to your skillset.
Skills you need to be an AWS developer
An AWS developer needs several skills to succeed, including:
- Experience working with core AWS features and services
- Experience with cloud-based monitoring solutions
- A solid understanding of cloud security tools
- Experience with maintaining or building applications in the cloud
It’ll also help if you have earned the AWS developer certification. This shows employers that you’re familiar with the platform and how it can be leveraged to solve business problems.
But remember: It’s not just about technical skills. Soft skills are important, too. These are skills like:
- Presenting your ideas and accomplishments using a variety of formats, such as PowerPoint and online presentation tools
- Communicating effectively, both verbally and in writing
- Listening carefully and understanding the challenges and pain points for your team or your customers
AWS developer salary
As an AWS developer, you can expect to make around $125,000 a year on average, though your salary will vary based on where your job is, your experience level, and the individual company. For example, an AWS developer based in California makes an average of $140,000, while someone in Wisconsin with the same position makes an average of $135,000.
Your job title makes a significant difference as well. For instance, a senior AWS Full Stack Developer in Charleston, South Carolina, can earn as much as $115,000. At the same time, a Java AWS Microservices Developer in Wayne, New Jersey, can make $130,000 per year.
How to become an AWS developer
To become an AWS developer, you need to start with a foundation in building applications. Despite the variety of tasks an AWS developer may be called on to perform, development lies at the heart of it all, specifically because you’ll be designing or managing software solutions.
Totally new to the field? Our courses and Career Paths are a great place to start, particularly our Front-End Engineer, Back-End Engineer, and Full-Stack Engineer career paths. These courses will give you the foundational knowledge you need to become comfortable designing and working on digital solutions. Courses like these will also make it easier to earn an AWS certification.
If you already have foundational knowledge of coding, you can also get more specific with a course like Deploying with Netlify and Heroku. For example, an organization may purchase a license to a solution like Netlify because it runs on AWS. If you’re comfortable with this and other solutions using AWS, you can be a more attractive prospect to companies that use them.
Looking for more? Our catalog can help you find the course you need to perfect your coding skills. But if you’re still not sure where to start, check out our coding personality quiz, which can help you figure out which programming languages to learn and which courses to take based on your interests.