The 9 AWS Certifications

0
326
The 9 AWS Certifications
The 9 AWS Certifications

Choosing the Right AWS Certification: What’s the Value?
Getting AWS certified shows that you have some of the most in-demand (and profitable) skills as validated by one of the most recognizable entities in cloud computing. In the enterprise, certification demonstrates a shared understanding of a platform, a shared terminology, and a certain level of cloud expertise that can speed up time to value for cloud projects.

Why is AWS Certification Important?
Even as enterprises adopt multi-cloud strategies, this doesn’t diminish the importance of an AWS certification – quite the opposite. With more than one million customers, AWS is still the provider of choice for public cloud adoption, where 64% of enterprises and 68% of SMBs are running applications (according to the 2018 RightScale State of the Cloud Report). Continued strong financial performance, a constant stream of new services, and a continuous geographic expansion (including a dedicated intelligence community region announced in 2017) are an indication that there is still much more to come.

Candidate Certifications
AWS certifications themselves stand out for their rigor and thoroughness in evaluating a candidate’s skills, with an emphasis on hands-on experience and best practices. If you’re already working with AWS, preparing for a certification can help strengthen your knowledge by clarifying key concepts. If you’re new to AWS, it can provide the foundational knowledge and skills you’ll need to work with AWS services and solutions down the road. For organizations looking for new recruits, AWS certifications validate a candidate’s familiarity and knowledge of best practices in cloud architecture, management, and security.

Employer Certifications
In the enterprise, the core training materials used to prepare for AWS certifications are a valuable component in a company’s own internal training path. As IT environments become more customized and requirements for new skills grow, an increasing number of companies are building their own certification programs. Many of them are using vendor certification training paths in connection with internal training materials to stand up certification tracks specific to their business needs.

How long does it take to become AWS certified?
With a full-time job and other commitments, investing 80 hours of study usually takes two months. If you are entirely new to AWS, we recommend approximately 120 hours or three months to prepare. Start with the fundamentals, and then move to the Solutions Architect Associate Learning Path.

Which cloud certification is best?
AWS currently offers nine certifications: a foundational certification, three associate-level certifications, two professional-level certifications, and three specialty certifications. You can find a full overview of all Learning Paths to prepare for the certifications on the Cloud Academy’s AWS Certifications page.

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
AWS Certified Developer – Associate
AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional
AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty
AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty
AWS Certified Security – Specialty


How do I become AWS certified?
While there are not set-in-stone steps to studying for the AWS certification, these steps are the most straight-forward.

Enroll in an AWS training class, such as any of the ones mentioned in this article. They will certainly increase your knowledge of cloud computing and AWS.
Review any Study or Exam Guides available.
Read multiple AWS whitepapers. These hold some invaluable information, which may answer many of your questions.
Practice, practice, practice. Practice exams will help ease any worries or stress you may be having about the certification exam.
Schedule the exam once you are ready. It typically takes anywhere from 80-120 hours of practice/studying to be prepared for the exam based on experience and the certification you are pursuing.
Let’s take a closer look at each exam.

Foundational Certification: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is AWS’s newest certification. This entry-level certification is designed to validate a candidate’s overall understanding of the AWS cloud.

Prerequisites: At least six months of general AWS cloud experience in any role (technical, managerial, sales, etc.) is recommended.
Format: Multiple choice questions
Length: 90 minutes
Cost: 100 USD
Areas Covered:
Understanding of basic AWS architectural principles
The value proposition of the AWS cloud
Key AWS services and their common use cases
Basic security and compliance, the shared responsibility model for security
Core deployment and operating principles
Prepare for the Foundational Certification, with Cloud Academy’s Cloud Practitioner Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.

Associate-Level Certifications
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – the Associate exam is designed for those with some experience in designing distributed applications. Candidates will need to be able to demonstrate their ability to design, manage, and implement applications using tools and services on the AWS platform. This exam was updated in February 2018 to include more AWS services and best practices.

Format: Multiple-choice, multiple-answer
Time: 130 minutes (based on the new exam)
Cost: 150 USD
Areas Covered:
Network technologies and how they work in AWS
How AWS-based applications work and how client interfaces connect to the AWS platform
How to build secure and reliable applications on the AWS platform
Deploying hybrid systems – those with an on-premises data center and AWS components
The exam domains include the design of highly available and scalable systems, (requires familiarity with AWS infrastructure and concepts), implementation and deployment in AWS, AWS-related data security practices, disaster recovery techniques, and troubleshooting
Preparing for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate with Cloud Academy’s Solutions Architect – Associate Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.

AWS Certified Developer – Associate
The AWS Certified Developer – the Associate exam is all about developing and maintaining AWS-based applications. You will need to know how to write actual code that uses AWS software to access AWS applications from within your custom business applications.

Format: Multiple-choice, multiple-answer
Time: 80 minutes
Cost: 150 USD
Areas Covered:
Understanding the basic AWS architecture and the core AWS services
Hands-on experience designing, developing, deploying, and maintaining applications
Working knowledge of applications that utilize key AWS services such as AWS databases, notifications, workflow services, and services for storage and change management services
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s Developer – Associate Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – the Associate exam is the only certification that is fully geared toward system administrators. Passing this exam requires both technical expertise and conceptual knowledge of the operational aspects of the AWS platform. Previous experience as a Linux or Windows administrator will be a plus.

Format: Multiple-choice, multiple-answer
Time: 80 minutes
Cost: 150 USD
Areas Covered:
Deploying applications to the AWS platform
Sending and receiving data between data centers and AWS
Selecting the appropriate AWS services to meet an organization’s needs
Provisioning, managing, and securing systems in an AWS environment
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s SysOps Administrator – Associate Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.

Professional-level Certifications
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional
A professional AWS architect is someone who can evaluate an organization’s requirements and make architectural recommendations for implementing and deploying applications on AWS. The Certified Solutions Architect Professional certification requires a high degree of technical skill and experience designing AWS-based applications.

Prerequisites: Status as AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate.
Two years of hands-on experience designing and deploying cloud architecture on AWS and best practice knowledge of multi-application architectural design is recommended.
Format: Multiple-choice, multiple-answer
Time: 170 minutes
Cost: 300 USD
Areas Covered:
Best practices for architecting the designing applications on AWS
Selecting the right AWS service for the requirements of an application
Migration of complex application systems to AWS
Knowledge of cost optimization strategies
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s Solutions Architect – Professional Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional
The DevOps Engineer certification is all about provisioning, operating, and managing applications on the AWS platform. This exam focuses heavily on continuous delivery (CD) and the automation of processes, two fundamental concepts of the DevOps movement.

Prerequisites: Status as AWS Certified Developer – Associate or AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate. Experience in provisioning and managing AWS-based applications, as well as a firm understanding of modern application development such as the agile development methodology, is recommended.
Format: Multiple-choice, multiple answer
Time: 170 minutes
Cost: 300 USD
Areas Covered:
The basics of modern CD methodologies
How to implement CD systems
Set up, monitoring, and logging systems on AWS
How to implement highly available and scalable systems on AWS
How to design and manage tools that enable automation of production operations
Specialty Certification
AWS specialty certifications are designed to validate a candidate’s skills in big data and networking.

Prerequisites: Current associate-level certification and a minimum of five years of relevant experience
Format: Multiple-choice, multiple-answer
Time: 3 hours
Cost: 300 USD
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s DevOps Engineer – Professional Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.

AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty
The AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty certification is for those with a background in data analytics and experience using AWS services for designing and architecting big data solutions. It is designed to validate a candidate’s experience in extracting value from data using AWS services.

Areas Covered:
Architecting best practices for implementing core AWS big data services
Designing and maintaining big data
AWS tools for automating data analysis
Security best practices for big data solutions
AWS services covered include: Kinesis, Athena, Quicksight, and Rekognition
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s Big Data – Specialty Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.

AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty
The AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty certification is designed to validate a candidate’s skills and experience in connection with performing complex networking tasks on AWS and hybrid IT networking architecture at scale. Candidates should have a background in architecting and implementing network solutions and advanced knowledge of networking on AWS.

Areas Covered:
Designing, developing, and deploying cloud solutions with AWS
Implementing core services according to architectural best practices
Automation for AWS tasks for network deployments
Security and compliance design and implementation
Network optimization and troubleshooting
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s Advanced Networking – Specialty Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.

AWS Certified Security – Specialty
The AWS Certified Security – Specialty certification covers topics that security pros and teams need to master security fundamentals, follow best practices, and build deep knowledge in key services unique to the AWS platform. It is designed to validate your AWS knowledge across security topics such as data protection and encryption, infrastructure security, incident response, identity, and access management, monitoring and logging.

Areas Covered:
Use a variety of AWS services to select the appropriate level of security based on your deployments and the sensitivity of your data
Select the most appropriate data protection techniques including encryption mechanisms
Implement logging and monitoring solutions to detect and analyze security vulnerabilities and weaknesses within your infrastructure
AWS services include: AWS Identity and Access Management, AWS CloudTrail, AWS Config, Amazon Inspector, AWS Trusted Advisor, Amazon GuardDuty, Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon Key Management Service
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s Security – Specialty Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path

Recertification and Staying Up-to-Date
The number of new AWS features and services increases every year. AWS announced almost 30 new products and services at its annual conference, re:Invent in November 2017. In Q4 alone, AWS added 497 new features and services for a total of 1,430 launches in 2017.

To demonstrate continued expertise and knowledge of best practices for the most up to date AWS services, certification holders are required to recertify every two years.

You may recertify by either passing the professional-level exam for the same certification or by passing the recertification exam for your existing certification. Recertification exams run for 80 minutes and cost 75 USD.

Remember that certifications are broadly representative of your knowledge at a specific point in time. The real AWS mavens don’t wait until their certification expires – they build good habits to stay current and are obsessed with learning. Here are some tips for keeping your skills current.

Read, a lot. Subscribe to AWS Release Notes newsletter, the Cloud Academy AWS blog posts, and others to receive the latest updates.
Learn by doing. Get hands-on practice experimenting with new services in Machine Learning and AI using Cloud Academy Hands-on Labs.
Attend re:Invent. Enough said.
Test your skills. Take AWS practice exams, regardless of whether you’re sitting for the exam or not.
Suggest training at work. Excellence begets excellence. If you surround yourself with a team of well-informed individuals who strive for excellence, you’ll move faster together.