Businesses of all sizes are moving to the cloud, meaning specialists who can operate platforms such as AWS are in increasing demand. At the current rate of growth, a critical skills shortage could be very close to realization.

When recruiting, many companies are very specific about what they want, despite recruiting in a market still led primarily by candidates. With increasing salaries on offer, they still want the very best. With the consequences of failure so drastic (as well as re-hiring being an expensive chore, fines for data breaches are now enough to ruin a business), getting it right is critical.

Making your application stand out
While there isn’t much room to be choosy, when resumes appear on a desk it’s important that yours doesn’t stand out for all the wrong reasons. In a recent survey of cloud professionals, over half of respondents hold at least one AWS certification. If you imagine your application competing with those figures, how do you think the rest of your resume stacks up to compensate for a lack of certs compared to your peers?

That’s not to say it’s an essential entry requirement, as 20% of those taking part in the survey don’t hold a cert and have no intention of doing so, either. However, with 47% of professionals reporting a pay increase afterwards, it’s clear that they’re beneficial to you as an employee.

Companies want certified employees
When half of employers are paying for their employee’s study in full, with a further 8% contributing towards the cost of them, it gives you a great insight into just how highly they are valued by business leaders. We’ve even seen companies offering exam vouchers as part of their benefits package, which can often make the difference when a professional is deciding whether to make their next career move.

Even if your employer isn’t offering this, investing in your own personal development and paying for your own certifications is a terrific display of your determination and looks great on a resume.

When a recruiter is looking for high-value candidates, they want people who are contributing to the tech community in their own spare time. Contributing to open source projects is the most obvious way to do this, but investing your own money (as well as time) in study is always impressive.

You can’t teach soft skills such as a desire to learn, so it’s difficult to compete with a peer who has that in their locker. Whether you’re looking to progress and make your way up the ladder, or just making the case for better remuneration, certifications are irrefutable proof that you’re taking your career seriously.

Learning is the best indicator of personal ambition
This isn’t a trend unique to AWS – most large platforms now have their own learning paths, and even those that didn’t have now either introduced, re-written or implemented educational programs that hold serious weight within their own community. More and more employers seek them out for the reasons covered above.

As well as demonstrating your ability to carry out the role, they also give a great indicator of your own personal ambition. If you’re serious about a long-term career within AWS and developing within it, you may be able to do it without certifications, but it’ll certainly be more difficult than someone applying for the same role who holds the relevant qualifications.

And while tech-savvy professionals may have the upper hand in the job market, any hiring ecosystem will still be competitive, so having the edge when your resume lands is critical to career progression. Those qualifications don’t just represent a candidate’s technical competence, but they demonstrate a variety of desirable soft skills, too.

This article was written by Pat Navarro, Executive Vice President and Head of Cloud at Jefferson Frank and is reproduced on the databasable website with full consent.