Toptal is a marketplace for top AWS developers, engineers, programmers, coders, architects, and consultants. Top companies and startups choose Toptal AWS freelancers for their mission-critical software projects.
David is an AWS expert, Agile and SAFe professional, and certified architect and engineer with over 14 years of experience. He specializes in systems engineering, solutions architecture, continuous integration, automated deployment tools, serverless development, and DevOps. David enjoys working within a team in a fast-paced environment.
Alex is a passionate technologist and successful startup executive with nine years of professional experience in engineering. As a business-minded and nerd tech guy, he likes to architect and deliver high-quality implementation that meets business needs. He has worked with banks and mortgage institutions, advised CTOs, led software and data science teams, and consistently delivered high-performing client projects.
Sam has 20 years of experience in web development and is passionate about creating clean and maintainable code. His main forte is back-end development and DevOps and Cloud infrastructure. Sam has experience working with a corporate team in London to independently working on his startup in a home office.
Mate has over 20 years of experience in the IT field, working as a delivery manager. He excels in business process optimization and uses Agile to help businesses achieve goals. At the Kraft Heinz Company, he managed over 50 brands and website delivery with enterprise IT needs. He created a solution to interact with applications such as SAP and Tableau. Mate holds a diploma in computer science, which gives him unique insight into translating business problems into effective IT solutions.
Sergey is a hardworking and detail oriented full-stack web architect with 12 years experience. He is as comfortable working with both startups and enterprise solutions and focus on directed growth, technical solutions to reduce bottlenecks and creative strategy.
Bosnia and HerzegovinaToptal Member Since September 11, 2019
Along with an iOS developer certification from the IT Academy in Belgrade, Armin is a professional, experienced QA engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. He's particularly skilled in Swift, iOS, Xcode, Android Studio, IntelliJ, NetBeans, Java, and automation. Where Armin shines is in the establishment and optimization of automation processes to make them more effective and efficient.
Eqbal is a senior full-stack developer with more than a decade of experience working in web and mobile development. He is a masterful problem solver and boasts an extensive portfolio of finished professional products.
Ismail is a senior DevOps and SRE engineer with expertise in Linux, AWS (AWS-certified solution architect and developer, IAM, EKS, ECS, EC2, RDS, S3), Kubernetes (CKAD and CKA certified, Docker, Helm), Terraform, Terragrunt, CI/CD (Jenkins, GitHub Actions), DevSecOps (AWS Security Hub, CIS benchmarks), and SRE practices. He ensures seamless deployments, infrastructure consistency, and system reliability. Proactive and customer-focused, Ismail leaves no stone unturned to deliver quality results.
AWS developers specialize in creating and scaling app infrastructure using one of the largest global cloud providers. They can architect globally performant solutions for the back end of any web, desktop, or mobile app. This guide to hiring AWS developers highlights how to create a suitable job description and provides effective interview questions to help you identify the best candidates for your company.
... allows corporations to quickly assemble teams that have the right skills for specific projects.
Despite accelerating demand for coders, Toptal prides itself on almost Ivy League-level vetting.
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Building a cross-platform app to be used worldwide
Leading a digital transformation
Drilling into real-time data creates an industry game changer
Tripcents wouldn't exist without Toptal. Toptal Projects enabled us to rapidly develop our foundation with a product manager, lead developer, and senior designer. In just over 60 days we went from concept to Alpha. The speed, knowledge, expertise, and flexibility is second to none. The Toptal team were as part of tripcents as any in-house team member of tripcents. They contributed and took ownership of the development just like everyone else. We will continue to use Toptal. As a startup, they are our secret weapon.
Brantley Pace, CEO & Co-Founder
I am more than pleased with our experience with Toptal. The professional I got to work with was on the phone with me within a couple of hours. I knew after discussing my project with him that he was the candidate I wanted. I hired him immediately and he wasted no time in getting to my project, even going the extra mile by adding some great design elements that enhanced our overall look.
Paul Fenley, Director
K Dunn & Associates
The developers I was paired with were incredible -- smart, driven, and responsive. It used to be hard to find quality engineers and consultants. Now it isn't.
Ryan Rockefeller, CEO
Toptal understood our project needs immediately. We were matched with an exceptional freelancer from Argentina who, from Day 1, immersed himself in our industry, blended seamlessly with our team, understood our vision, and produced top-notch results. Toptal makes connecting with superior developers and programmers very easy.
Jason Kulik, Co-Founder
As a small company with limited resources we can't afford to make expensive mistakes. Toptal provided us with an experienced programmer who was able to hit the ground running and begin contributing immediately. It has been a great experience and one we'd repeat again in a heartbeat.
Stuart Pocknee , Principal
Site Specific Software Solutions
We used Toptal to hire a developer with extensive Amazon Web Services experience. We interviewed four candidates, one of which turned out to be a great fit for our requirements. The process was quick and effective.
Abner Guzmán Rivera, CTO and Chief Scientist
Sergio was an awesome developer to work with. Top notch, responsive, and got the work done efficiently.
Dennis Baldwin, Chief Technologist and Co-Founder
Working with Marcin is a joy. He is competent, professional, flexible, and extremely quick to understand what is required and how to implement it.
André Fischer, CTO
We needed a expert engineer who could start on our project immediately. Simanas exceeded our expectations with his work. Not having to interview and chase down an expert developer was an excellent time-saver and made everyone feel more comfortable with our choice to switch platforms to utilize a more robust language. Toptal made the process easy and convenient. Toptal is now the first place we look for expert-level help.
Derek Minor, Senior VP of Web Development
Networld Media Group
Toptal's developers and architects have been both very professional and easy to work with. The solution they produced was fairly priced and top quality, reducing our time to launch. Thanks again, Toptal.
Jeremy Wessels, CEO
We had a great experience with Toptal. They paired us with the perfect developer for our application and made the process very easy. It was also easy to extend beyond the initial time frame, and we were able to keep the same contractor throughout our project. We definitely recommend Toptal for finding high quality talent quickly and seamlessly.
Ryan Morrissey, CTO
Applied Business Technologies, LLC
I'm incredibly impressed with Toptal. Our developer communicates with me every day, and is a very powerful coder. He's a true professional and his work is just excellent. 5 stars for Toptal.
Pietro Casoar, CEO
Ronin Play Pty Ltd
Working with Toptal has been a great experience. Prior to using them, I had spent quite some time interviewing other freelancers and wasn't finding what I needed. After engaging with Toptal, they matched me up with the perfect developer in a matter of days. The developer I'm working with not only delivers quality code, but he also makes suggestions on things that I hadn't thought of. It's clear to me that Amaury knows what he is doing. Highly recommended!
George Cheng, CEO
As a Toptal qualified front-end developer, I also run my own consulting practice. When clients come to me for help filling key roles on their team, Toptal is the only place I feel comfortable recommending. Toptal's entire candidate pool is the best of the best. Toptal is the best value for money I've found in nearly half a decade of professional online work.
Ethan Brooks, CTO
Langlotz Patent & Trademark Works, Inc.
In Higgle's early days, we needed the best-in-class developers, at affordable rates, in a timely fashion. Toptal delivered!
Lara Aldag, CEO
Toptal makes finding a candidate extremely easy and gives you peace-of-mind that they have the skills to deliver. I would definitely recommend their services to anyone looking for highly-skilled developers.
Michael Gluckman, Data Manager
Toptal’s ability to rapidly match our project with the best developers was just superb. The developers have become part of our team, and I’m amazed at the level of professional commitment each of them has demonstrated. For those looking to work remotely with the best engineers, look no further than Toptal.
Laurent Alis, Founder
Toptal makes finding qualified engineers a breeze. We needed an experienced ASP.NET MVC architect to guide the development of our start-up app, and Toptal had three great candidates for us in less than a week. After making our selection, the engineer was online immediately and hit the ground running. It was so much faster and easier than having to discover and vet candidates ourselves.
Jeff Kelly, Co-Founder
We needed some short-term work in Scala, and Toptal found us a great developer within 24 hours. This simply would not have been possible via any other platform.
Franco Arda, Co-Founder
Toptal offers a no-compromise solution to businesses undergoing rapid development and scale. Every engineer we've contracted through Toptal has quickly integrated into our team and held their work to the highest standard of quality while maintaining blazing development speed.
Greg Kimball, Co-Founder
How to Hire AWS Developers through Toptal
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How much does it cost to hire an Amazon Web Services engineer?
Depending on the role, the salary can vary vastly. For purely administrative tasks—such as permissions handling, basic monitoring, and support—you need an Amazon Web Services (AWS) SysOps Administrator, with an average total pay of $74,125 according to Glassdoor as of August 7, 2023. For more active development roles, including maintenance, creation of new resources, advanced monitoring, and more, you need a AWS DevOps Engineer, with an average total pay of $137,555. Finally, if you need to create completely new infrastructure optimized for your solution in a cost-effective way, you need an AWS Solution Architect, with an average total pay of $167,390. Note: These are averages for uncertified AWS developers; certified equivalents will be significantly costlier.
How do I hire AWS experts?
Hiring AWS experts involves identifying your project’s specific needs, then seeking professionals who meet those requirements. Posting detailed job descriptions on job-seeker platforms or AWS-specific job boards can attract potential candidates. Look for proven experience with AWS services relevant to your project, AWS certifications, and strong problem-solving and communication skills.
Are AWS developers in demand?
In an era where digital transformation is no longer a luxury but a necessity, the demand for cloud developers has skyrocketed. AWS, the leading cloud services provider, offers a wide array of infrastructure services such as storage, databases, compute power, content delivery, and other functionality that businesses need to scale and grow. This makes AWS developers a fundamental asset within a market that’s increasingly full of AWS developer jobs.
How can you choose the best AWS developers for your project?
Choosing the right AWS developers for your project can significantly influence its success. The following considerations are crucial when selecting these professionals:
Expertise – Verify that developers demonstrate a strong understanding of the AWS ecosystem and the services that are most relevant to your project. It’s worth checking their AWS certifications to ensure they have the knowledge necessary to handle your project.
Experience – Consider the developer’s experience with AWS and similar projects. Developers with a proven track record of successful projects often have a more profound understanding of AWS architecture and can better troubleshoot potential issues.
Communication Skills – Select AWS developers who will be good team members—those who can effectively communicate their ideas, can articulate problems and solutions clearly, and are comfortable collaborating within your team.
Problem-solving Skills – Seek out developers with robust problem-solving skills, those who can think critically and create innovative solutions for complex problems.
Availability – Confirm that the developers have sufficient availability to work on your project, meeting your timelines without compromising the quality of their work.
Consider working with a development team or agency that has experience with AWS. Such a collaboration can provide additional benefits, including a broader range of expertise, more efficient project management, and higher reliability.
How quickly can you hire with Toptal?
Typically, you can hire an AWS developer with Toptal in about 48 hours. Our talent matchers are experts in the same fields they’re matching in—they’re not recruiters or HR reps. They’ll work with you to understand your goals, technical needs, and team dynamics, and match you with ideal candidates from our vetted global talent network.
Once you select your AWS developer, you’ll have a no-risk trial period to ensure they’re the perfect fit. Our matching process has a 98% trial-to-hire rate, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the best fit every time.
Why is AWS a popular cloud computing platform for businesses and organizations?
One of the main reasons AWS is the leading cloud provider is that it offers a massive number of services that DevOps engineers can use. These include compute (EC2), serverless (Lambda, Kubernetes), storage (S3), databases (RDS, DynamoDB, Redshift), security (IAM, GuardDuty), networking (CloudFront, Route 53), CI/CD (CloudFormation, CodePipeline), and more, providing a comprehensive set of tools for businesses to build, deploy, and manage their applications and services. Any imaginable product can be built using only AWS services, which makes development simpler.
Edoardo is a data scientist who has founded multiple projects and businesses, and served as a vice president of engineering and CTO. He specializes in R&D initiatives, having created MLJ.ji (Julia’s largest machine learning framework) and worked on detection algorithms at Shift Technology. Edoardo has a master’s in applied mathematics from the University of Warwick.
Cloud computing growth is blistering. End-user spending is expected to grow 20.7% to nearly $600 billion in 2023, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the king of the hill, having consistently held more than 31% of the market from 2017 through 2022. As the primary alternative to on-premise servers, cloud computing offers pay-as-you-go pricing models, making it simpler than ever to budget for new products and scale them as needed.
AWS is ubiquitous. It offers a staggering variety of cloud services for projects of all sizes, which sets a high bar in terms of domain knowledge—especially for companies wishing to avoid unnecessary expenditure while scaling. The combination of a skill involving a particularly complex technology and an exponential growth in demand make it a challenge to find the right person to fill an AWS developer role.
This guide will help you overcome this challenge by detailing how to identify quality AWS developers, write an effective job description, ask effective AWS interview questions, and decide on the ideal candidate for your needs.
What attributes distinguish quality AWS Developers from others?
An AWS developer plays a crucial role in any organization. They can build, deploy, and manage applications on Amazon’s highly scalable and reliable cloud infrastructure. Quality AWS developers distinguish themselves through their proficiency in using various AWS services—such as EC2 (computing), S3 (storage), RDS (database), Lambda (serverless functions), and more—in order to use the best solution in terms of both performance and costs.
They have a deep understanding of infrastructure as code, using serverless, Terraform, or CloudFormation to build replicable architectures, and are familiar with general programming languages such as Python, as well as user permissions and CI/CD best practices.
Complementary AWS developer skills
Given the breadth and depth of AWS’ service offering, there are many related technological skills worth assessing in an AWS developer candidate. The most important skills that complement AWS cloud expertise are:
Familiarity with cloud computing concepts – An understanding of virtual machines, networking, and user permissions is essential for an AWS developer.
Strong experience with infrastructure as code (IaC) – A developer who knows how to use tools like AWS CloudFormation, AWS Serverless, AWS OpsWorks, or Terraform can help automate the deployment process and track its details in source control.
Familiarity with DevOps practices – Effective AWS developers can set up and advise on CI/CD pipelines, testing, and deployment strategies.
Experience with containerization – A candidate’s knowledge of Docker and Kubernetes is highly beneficial, as many organizations use containerized applications to help apps scale and avoid lost development time by ensuring development and production function the same way.
Other skills may be equally high on your requirements list, depending on your project—especially for those that are underway or that have been planned by someone with the appropriate expertise.
How can you identify the ideal AWS Developer for you?
Identifying the right AWS developer starts by understanding your specific needs and the scope of your project.
Junior developers are best for routine tasks and smaller projects, as they’re still learning the ropes. They should not be in charge of building architectures from scratch but can be taught to manage and monitor them, as well as potentially resolve minor bugs. Mid-level developers have more experience and can handle larger problems, as well as build common infrastructure from scratch. Senior developers are industry veterans with a broad and deep understanding of AWS services. They can create complex and optimal infrastructures specific for the business needs from scratch and guide their peers to avoid costly traps.
If you need to create a common infrastructure, a mid-level AWS developer should be able to handle the problem; however, if you need top-of-the-line architecture, especially in the case of uncommon infrastructures, then you will need a senior developer. A junior developer may be able to deal with simpler cases, such as deploying a generic website or API. This is especially true if services such as AWS Lambda and CloudFront are an appropriate solution, as they are easy to set up and they scale well. However, a junior developer will likely not make the best choices related to performance and costs.
Additionally, AWS offers courses developers can take to become proficient with its services, from general cloud classes to classes that focus on niche skills. Your hiring process should include identifying candidates who have AWS skill certifications.
How does AWS work?
A high-level understanding of AWS’ value offering will help you choose the right candidate for AWS cloud development. Like every cloud provider, it offers services that use its extensive network of data centers.
By using these services, a company avoids the need for its own data centers and on-premise servers, and the associated physical infrastructure, maintenance, upgrade costs, risks, and insurance. When a company needs to scale up or down, they pay only for what they use. This can be a more cost-effective option, especially for companies that have variable or unpredictable resource needs.
Companies can choose from a wide range of AWS services to best meet their needs and tailor their infrastructures to the specific requirements of their application(s). AWS has hundreds of services; AWS specialists help companies navigate them in a cost-optimized way.
What is the difference between Amazon S3 and EC2?
Since S3 and EC2 are two of the most commonly used AWS offerings, you may encounter them on candidate résumés or during interviews. Knowing how these and other common services increase developer productivity can increase the fruitfulness of your selection and interview processes as you evaluate engineers or consultants.
In short, S3 is a service that AWS developers use for storing and retrieving files, and controlling their access—a pay-as-you-go, cloud-based file share. In contrast, developers use EC2 for running custom software. An EC2 instance is a virtual machine, a computer within a computer to which you can add memory or processing power with the click of a button.
EC2 instances have enough space for the operating system and software you need to run on them, but they’re not intended to store more than that. S3 and other AWS storage solutions, like Elastic Block Store (EBS), complement EC2’s functionality. AWS developers know well that S3 is the choice to manage files that are uploaded or downloaded by users. In contrast, EBS is the choice for app-internal storage; it provides decoupled disk volumes. Both options are easy for a cloud engineer to expand, as needed.
How to Write an AWS Developer Job Description for Your Project
Writing an effective AWS job description is crucial to attract the right talent. Start by clearly stating your needs and project scope, including the level of expertise required, specific AWS services they should know, and any additional experience and skills that will be beneficial. If you don’t know which services to specify or don’t have strong requirements, provide a good description of the expected end result.
In order to attract the right candidates, be sure to center the job description around the appropriate role:
Solutions Architect – An expert who designs the right infrastructure for particular business needs, optimizing performance and costs, as a traditional architect designs a building.
DevOps Engineer – An engineer who implements the solution provided by the Solutions Architect, setting up CI/CD pipelines, and handling deployment, like the builder of a building.
SysOps Administrator – An admin who handles day-to-day monitoring, security, and user permission management, like an apartment concierge or building manager.
MLOps Engineer – A DevOps engineer who specializes in data-focused infrastructures commonly used for machine learning, AI, and data science.
What are the most important AWS Developer interview questions?
Given the breadth of AWS, you’ll need to customize questions based on the specific subskills you seek. However, any quality AWS developer should know the answer to these general questions:
What is an ARN?
An Amazon Resource Name (ARN) is a unique identifier assigned to nearly all AWS resources when they are created. As ARNs are ubiquitous in AWS, a candidate familiar with AWS should know what they represent. A good follow-up question: “Are ARNs globally unique or unique only to the account?” The correct answer is globally unique.
What is IAM?
IAM is the Identity and Access Management system of AWS. It contains all users, roles, and policies (permissions), and is therefore one of the most important aspects of AWS.
What is the difference between a user and a role? What are some sample use cases?
A user in AWS represents an individual with unique credentials (password or token), while a role is an entity that can be temporarily assumed by users or services:
Users are prone to human error. Roles, which define and limit possible actions, reduce the likelihood of unintended changes. For example, an administrator doesn’t need full permissions at all times but does need certain permissions in certain instances. A role can be customized accordingly.
Services cannot function as users. Assigning roles to services is the only way to grant them the permissions they need to function. For example, a Lambda function that needs to read a file from S3 requires a role that allows that behavior.
What is CloudFormation? Why is it used?
CloudFormation is a service provided by AWS that allows the definition and management of infrastructure as code. It enables the creation of a template that describes the desired resources and their configurations. It helps with automating the deployment and management of AWS resources, which improves efficiency, reduces manual errors, and facilitates infrastructure scalability.
Beyond these technical checks, ask some general questions to gauge a candidate’s experience and soft skills:
Can you describe your experience working with AWS?
Answers will vary depending on the exact roles and experiences of the candidates but their responses should include specific services they’ve used, which will likely include the most widely used services: RDS, EC2, Lambda, S3, and SQS/SNS. Inquire about some of the services each candidate mentions. They should be able to explain the service briefly and in layman’s terms, as well as the advantages that using the service has over self-hosting.
Can you describe a complex technical problem you solved using AWS and how you approached it?
Candidates should be able to answer this question robustly. They should be able to explain which services they considered and how they would be implemented (e.g., using the AWS Managed Services or self-hosting). All answers should address cost-effectiveness, security, and scalability—three very important aspects of any cloud architecture:
Cost-effectiveness – AWS Managed Services are typically easier to set up and monitor than their unmanaged counterparts; however, they come with an added monetary cost. Candidates should be able to name alternatives they would have benchmarked.
Security – Candidates should be able to explain what policies (permissions) were created for the different parts of their solution and how messages were passed between the services.
Scalability – Auto-scaling enables the setting of a baseline resource allocation and provides the ability to temporarily increase resources during usage spikes to prevent outages. These extra resources come at a higher cost, but with correctly configured infrastructure—and if usage is compatible with this spike pattern—it can be a very cost-effective solution.
Can you provide examples of how you have successfully delivered projects on AWS within tight timelines and budget constraints?
Candidates should be able to explain the choices they made, focusing on how their decisions were simpler and better in terms of budget. In addition to architectural changes aimed at decreasing costs, organizations can also get discounts when committing to usage. For example, reserving an instance over a long period of time can result in more than a 50% discount; using DynamoDB on-demand—instead of provisioned—capacity can increase the cost tenfold but may be more cost-effective in applications where unpredictable usage peaks occur. Many services also offer auto-scaling, allowing cost savings when activity is low. Finally, many modern companies have an AI or analysis instance run at a given interval in order to process the new data and update the model. If this is not time-sensitive up to some hours, then using spot instances can be a very simple way of saving money.
Follow up by asking candidates how they would change the architecture if they had infinite time but the same budget constraint. What if they had an infinite budget but a tight timeline? This will require candidates to present alternative solutions on the spot.
Why do companies hire AWS Developers?
Cloud deployment has made the creation and management of IT infrastructure much simpler and more scalable without the need for large initial investment. It has therefore become the dominant way to use computational resources. The most common strategy is to hire AWS developers because AWS is the largest and most diverse global cloud provider with a strong track record of uptime and reliability. However, while using such a provider makes deployment and management simpler, that is not the same as it being easy: To use AWS infrastructure correctly and optimize its pricing requires a lot of technical skills. As such, AWS developers have become increasingly important in organizations, even if smaller teams or projects may require their talents only on a part-time or seasonal basis.
AWS attracts and employs the world’s top cloud engineers, which not all companies can do—but they don’t need to because they can access that engineering experience as AWS clients. The popularity of AWS among companies is self-perpetuating: Developers learn AWS because it’s ubiquitous; companies have a larger hiring pool if they choose AWS. Plus, in the increasingly complex and hazardous environment of the modern internet, companies rely on AWS’ vital security features, like the IAM system. Built for enterprise-level customizability, IAM allows companies to customize the access granted to various engineers while they collaborate.
AWS’ ease of scalability, pay-as-you-go model, and diverse and numerous services help make it the most common cloud provider and keep skilled AWS developers in high demand. The expert advice from this guide will help you write a good job description to attract the right developers to your company, filter out underskilled candidates with helpful interview questions, and ultimately identify the perfect candidate for your AWS-based project.