AWS SAA vs. CLF - Can I skip one?

AWS are known for their famous highly demanded Solutions Architect Associate (SAA) Certificate, and many thinks that it is the first step with AWS and Cloud Computing, the question now is it?, or is there any step that should be taken before, like the AWS Cloud Practitioner CLF exam?.

In this blog post we will discover and compare the agenda and the main pillars each exam teach you, and see if it worth skipping CLF and start directly with SAA.

Cloud Concepts

Your very first chapter to start studying AWS CLF with will be the cloud concepts, this will give a general overview of what is the idea and concept of cloud computing, what would AWS provide regarding that, and are you about to experience. Luckily this part is shared between both the exams of AWS CLF and SAA, and we'll find a share for it here and there, to understand what we are about to start with such exams. that makes them equal here, 1-1.

Security and Compliance

Having zero knowledge about cloud computing and the restrictions and differentiations that might occur with it, upon implementing a new network on the cloud for the first time will require the knowledge of official documents, government restrictions and compliances, regional compliances as well. Now that is a point where CLF wins as it mentions and provides all the necessary documents and resources to check the security and compliances requirements based on the region you are planning to implement a cloud network on. so far 2-1 for CLF.

AWS Core Services

This pillar represent the back bone of whatever you should study and learn with AWS, all the services hosted on cloud, in other words, inside AWS real Data Centers, are shown and detailed here, service after another. The CLF exam focuses for more than 30% of its weight on the Core services giving you a good knowledge to call it a start with AWS, while the SAA exam is "about" this pillar, you will spend your time with that exam studying the core services, designing the core services, architecting solutions together, all within the same cloud, one solid well-built/designed network on the cloud of AWS. In general, you will learn about the Core services of AWS 3 times more with SAA compared to CLF, making SAA the ultimate beginning with AWS services. we can say it is a point to SAA, so we have 2-2 now.

AWS Economics

The last pillar to check and talk about in this post is the one that teaches you billing, payments, discounts, Free tier, support, programs, and pricings. All of that is in the CLF exam but NOT mentioned in the SAA exam unfortunately, it is a major and big point for the CLF as ignoring these skills will result is disasters when dealing with AWS services in real life. And that sent the last point for today to the CLF exam, 3-2.


With all the above being said, does that make starting with AWS SAA directly a mistake or a wrong step in the path of AWS carrier for me! The Answer is that you can practice and prepare the best with AWS by:

  • Either Start with CLF and then SAA
  • Or, start with SAA but refer to the official documents from AWS the fills the gaps of Compliance and Economics
    • which will be equal to the amount of time and efforts spend studying the CLF exam!


For us on, we provide both the AWS CLF and AWS SAA exams courses on the website, detailed explanation based on the official agenda of the exams by AWS, alongside with many other AWS and Cloud courses, you can either get a life-time subscription per course, which will provide all the future exam updates for free. or contact our sales to get a full annual access to a variety of courses based on the tier you desire.

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