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What Is AWS? Unraveling the Power of Amazon Web Services

Written By April Bohnert | August 9, 2023

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Ever marveled at how Netflix delivers your favorite shows flawlessly? Or, perhaps you’ve booked an Airbnb and wondered how they manage their vast inventory so efficiently? The credit, in large part, goes to a behind-the-scenes hero: Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

As cloud adoption has soared in recent years, AWS has become a cornerstone of many businesses, from fledgling startups to Fortune 500 giants. Its rise has been meteoric and its impact profound. By providing robust, scalable, and secure cloud computing services, AWS has fundamentally transformed how businesses operate.

The importance of AWS stretches beyond mere business operations. Its use has become so widespread that AWS proficiency is a hot ticket in the job market, making it a valuable skill for tech professionals to acquire and a vital one for hiring managers to recognize.

In this article, we dive into the world of AWS — its features, advantages, real-world use cases, key skills, and its value in the hiring landscape. Whether you’re a tech professional seeking to bolster your skillset or a hiring manager aiming to future-proof your team, this deep dive into AWS will arm you with the knowledge you need to navigate the world of cloud computing. 

What is AWS?

At its core, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a comprehensive cloud services platform that provides an array of infrastructure services such as storage, compute power, networking, and databases on demand, available in seconds, with pay-as-you-go pricing. These services are utilized by businesses to scale and grow, without the need to maintain expensive and complex IT infrastructure.

The birth of AWS can be traced back to the early 2000s when Amazon, primarily an e-commerce giant at the time, realized they had developed a deep expertise in operating large-scale, reliable, scalable, distributed IT infrastructure. They understood the pain points of managing such a system and recognized that other businesses could benefit from their expertise. 

In 2006, Amazon launched AWS, providing businesses with a means to access the cloud. Since then, AWS has continually expanded its services to include not just storage and compute power, but also machine learning, artificial intelligence, database management, and Internet of Things (IoT) services, to name a few. Today, AWS is the most widely adopted cloud platform across the globe, serving millions of customers from startups to enterprise-level organizations.

AWS offers over 200 fully-featured services from global data centers. Understanding AWS, its services, and how to leverage the platform is crucial for cloud professionals. With AWS, the possibilities are, quite literally, sky-high. So, let’s explore some key features that make AWS a frontrunner in the cloud services platform arena.

Key AWS Offerings

AWS comes packed with a wide range of features designed to help businesses grow. Here are some of the key ones that have made AWS the go-to cloud services platform:

Compute Power

With AWS, you have access to compute power whenever you need it. Services like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Amazon LightSail make it easy to scale up and down quickly and affordably. Take the example of a retail website running a Black Friday sale. With AWS, it can easily scale up its resources to handle the surge in traffic and then scale down when traffic returns to normal, thus ensuring an optimal user experience while maintaining cost efficiency.

Storage & Content Delivery

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is one of the most widely used services of AWS, offering secure, scalable, and durable storage. Amazon S3 allows businesses to collect, store, and analyze data, regardless of its format. Alongside this, Amazon CloudFront, a fast content delivery network (CDN) service, delivers data, videos, and APIs to customers globally with low latency and high transfer speeds.

Database Services

AWS offers a broad range of databases designed for diverse types of applications. Amazon RDS makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database, while DynamoDB provides a scalable NoSQL database for applications with high throughput needs. For data warehousing, AWS offers Redshift, a fast, scalable data warehouse that makes it simple and cost-effective to analyze all your data.

Networking Services

With services like Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), AWS allows businesses to create isolated networks within the cloud, offering robust network control over their environment, including selection of their own IP address range, creation of subnets, and configuration of route tables and network gateways.

Management Tools

Managing resources within AWS is made simple with its array of management tools. AWS CloudFormation allows businesses to model their resources and provision them in an orderly and predictable fashion, while AWS CloudWatch provides systemwide visibility into resource utilization and operational health.

Advantages of Using AWS

There’s a reason — or rather several reasons — why AWS has become a de facto choice for businesses of all sizes when it comes to cloud services. Let’s unpack some of the key advantages.


One of the primary benefits of AWS is its ability to scale. AWS services are designed to adapt to a business’s usage needs, allowing users to increase or decrease capacity as and when required. Whether it’s a small business anticipating growth or a large corporation dealing with heavy loads, AWS offers the flexibility to scale on demand.


Security is paramount, and AWS doesn’t take it lightly. AWS’s infrastructure is keeps data safe using an end-to-end secure and hardened infrastructure, including physical, operational, and software measures.


With AWS, businesses can pay for what they use, with no upfront costs or long-term commitments. The pay-as-you-go approach allows businesses to have access to enterprise-level infrastructure at a fraction of the cost. This pricing model has opened doors for many startups and small businesses to implement solutions that were previously out of reach due to cost constraints.

Diversity of Tools

From data warehousing to deployment tools, AWS houses a diverse suite of services that can be used together or independently to meet any business need. This diversity ensures that you can choose the right tool for the job and not be shoehorned into a one-size-fits-all solution.

Global Infrastructure

AWS has data centers spread across multiple regions globally, enabling customers to deploy their applications in various geographic locations with just a few clicks. This global presence translates into lower latency and better user experience for end users.

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Key AWS Skills

Behind AWS’ widespread adoption are cloud engineers that build their company’s cloud infrastructure with AWS services. Proficiency in Amazon Web Services (AWS) demands a comprehensive understanding of various domains within the cloud ecosystem.

Computing Services

  • Proficiency in Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) for virtual server provisioning.
  • Knowledge of AWS Lambda for serverless computing and event-driven architectures.

Storage Services

  • Expertise in Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) for object storage and data backup.
  • Familiarity with Amazon EBS (Elastic Block Store) for persistent block storage.

Database Services

  • Skill in managing Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service) for managed relational databases.
  • Knowledge of Amazon DynamoDB for NoSQL database management.

Networking and Content Delivery

  • Understanding of Amazon VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) for network isolation and security.
  • Proficiency in Amazon CloudFront for content delivery and distribution.

Security and Identity

  • Familiarity with AWS IAM (Identity and Access Management) for managing user permissions.
  • Knowledge of AWS Key Management Service (KMS) for encryption and key management.

Monitoring and Management

  • Skill in using Amazon CloudWatch for monitoring resources and generating alerts.
  • Understanding of AWS Systems Manager for automating operational tasks.

Automation and Orchestration

  • Proficiency in AWS CloudFormation or Terraform for Infrastructure as Code (IaC).
  • Knowledge of AWS Step Functions for orchestrating workflows.

DevOps Practices

  • Experience with AWS CodePipeline and AWS CodeDeploy for CI/CD.
  • Skill in using AWS CodeCommit for version control.

Serverless Architecture

  • Expertise in AWS Lambda for building serverless applications.
  • Knowledge of Amazon API Gateway for creating RESTful APIs.

Migration and Transfer

  • Understanding of AWS Database Migration Service for database migration.
  • Familiarity with AWS Snowball for data transfer.

Analytics and Big Data

  • Skill in Amazon Redshift for data warehousing.
  • Knowledge of Amazon EMR (Elastic MapReduce) for big data processing.

AI and Machine Learning

  • Experience with Amazon SageMaker for machine learning model training and deployment.
  • Familiarity with Amazon Rekognition for image and video analysis.

Hybrid Cloud Solutions

  • Understanding of AWS Direct Connect for establishing dedicated network connections.
  • Knowledge of AWS VPN for secure communication between on-premises and cloud resources.

Cost Management

  • Proficiency in AWS Cost Explorer for monitoring and optimizing costs.
  • Understanding of AWS Budgets for cost control.

The Hiring Landscape for AWS Skills

The ripple effects of AWS’s impact are clearly felt in the hiring market. With the broad adoption of cloud technologies across industries, the demand for AWS skills is soaring. 

The proliferation of AWS has led to a significant increase in demand for professionals proficient in this platform. According to the 2022 Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report, AWS Certified Developer is the second highest-paying certification in North America, garnering an average annual salary of $165,333 and reflecting the high demand for AWS skills. 

The demand for AWS skills extends across many roles. Positions like AWS Solutions Architect, AWS SysOps Administrator, and DevOps Engineer are in high demand. These roles involve designing and deploying AWS systems, managing and operating systems on AWS, and working with technologies for automated deployments, respectively. 

In the face of digital transformation, the importance of cloud computing, and specifically AWS skills, cannot be overstated. For tech professionals, AWS proficiency can open up lucrative opportunities and exciting career paths. For hiring managers, spotting and attracting AWS talent is essential to stay competitive and drive innovation. As the cloud continues to dominate, the AWS wave is one worth riding for both professionals and organizations.

Key Takeaways

Cloud computing has taken center stage, and at the heart of this revolution stands AWS. Its remarkable array of services has democratized technology, enabling businesses of all sizes to innovate, scale, and grow.

AWS’s influence extends beyond business operations; it’s fundamentally altering the tech job market. AWS skills have become increasingly valuable, paving the way for exciting career opportunities for tech professionals and creating a new criterion for hiring managers to seek out.

So, whether you’re a tech professional looking to upskill or a hiring manager seeking to future-proof your team, understanding and embracing AWS is a strategic move. AWS isn’t just a platform; it’s a game-changer, powering the future of business operations, technological innovation, and the ever-evolving tech job market. 

This article was written with the help of AI. Can you tell which parts?

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