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Official AWS Training vs. Gray Market Options

Published by Mike McNelis on December 5, 2023

Official AWS Training vs. Gray Market Options

In the rapidly expanding universe of cloud computing, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has emerged as a dominant force. As more professionals seek to gain expertise in AWS, the demand for training has skyrocketed. This demand has given rise to a pivotal question: Should one opt for official AWS training or explore the gray market alternatives? In this blog, we delve into the differences between these two paths, helping you make an informed decision for your AWS learning journey.

Understanding the Landscape

Official AWS Training

Official AWS training programs are authorized by Amazon and provide a structured and comprehensive approach to learning various AWS technologies. These programs are often up-to-date with the latest AWS features and best practices.

Gray Market Options

Gray market training refers to unofficial resources that are not endorsed by Amazon. These can range from independent courses, boot camps, and study materials offered by various providers.

Comparing Official AWS and Gray Market Training

Content Quality and Relevance

  • Official AWS: The content is regularly updated to reflect the latest AWS services, ensuring relevance and accuracy.
  • Gray Market: While some providers offer high-quality content, there’s a risk of outdated or inaccurate information.

Certification Preparation

  • Official AWS: Directly aligned with AWS certification exams, providing targeted preparation.
  • Gray Market: Varies widely; some may offer good exam prep, while others might not be as closely aligned with AWS certification criteria.


  • Official AWS: Generally more expensive due to the endorsement and resources provided.
  • Gray Market: Often cheaper, but the price can reflect the quality and depth of the material.

Access to AWS Resources

  • Official AWS: Includes access to AWS resources and hands-on labs.
  • Gray Market: May not always provide access to the latest AWS resources or hands-on experience.

Instruction and Support

  • Official AWS: Instructors are often AWS-certified professionals with real-world experience.
  • Gray Market: Instructor quality can be a hit or miss, and support might be limited.

Making the Right Choice

When deciding between official AWS training and gray market options, consider the following factors:

  1. Your Learning Goals: Are you aiming for certification, or do you want an overview of AWS services?
  2. Budget Constraints: How much are you willing to invest in your training?
  3. Learning Style: Do you prefer a structured approach with professional support or a more self-guided learning path?
  4. Career Impact: Will an official certification have a significant impact on your career progression?

The Bottom Line

While the allure of lower costs and flexible learning paths in the gray market can be tempting, the official AWS training offers a level of quality, relevance, and alignment with certification standards that is hard to match. However, for those with limited resources or those seeking supplementary materials, gray market options can be a valuable addition to their learning toolkit.


Your choice between official AWS training and gray market options should align with your career objectives, learning preferences, and budget. Regardless of your choice, the key is to stay updated and continuously hone your skills in this ever-evolving cloud computing landscape. Remember, in the world of AWS, your knowledge and skills are your most valuable assets.

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Mike McNelis
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