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AWS and Certification

AWS Certifications: Choosing the Right one for You

Posted in AWS, Certification
AWS Certifications: Choosing the Right one for You

As more and more organizations shift their workloads to the public cloud, cloud computing has evolved from being an optional precious commodity to a must-have service.

Amazon Web Services or AWS alone owns over 60% of the public cloud market. Therefore, there is no denying the fact that the AWS platform is a good option to use as well as to work.

AWS Certifications

As of now, AWS offers 11 certifications that help candidates to stand out from the rest and make it big with the world’s biggest cloud platform. Each of them is categorized into four levels:

  • Foundational – 1 certification
  • Associate – 3 certifications
  • Professional – 2 certifications
  • Specialty – 5 certifications

Although each AWS certification test varies in exam time and exam cost, all of them follow a multiple-choice, multiple-answer exam format.

Also, all AWS certification tests are available in some non-English languages except the AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty certification, which is available only in English. Each one of the AWS certifications is explained in detail as follows:

Foundational

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is an entry-level certification meant to validate a candidate’s understanding of the AWS Cloud. It is the newest AWS certification.

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is recommended for gaining AWS Specialty certification or Associate certification.

Prerequisites:

  • A basic understanding of IT services and their applications in the AWS Cloud platform
  • Minimum 6 months of general AWS Cloud experience in any role: financial, managerial, purchasing, sales, or technical

How to Get Certified?

  • Take an AWS Training Class to enhance your technical skills as well as for learning the best practices
  • Review the Exam Guide and Sample Questions
  • Study AWS Whitepapers written by the AWS team, AWS partners, and independent analysts to extend your technical know-how
  • Take a Practice Exam to test your knowledge gained so far
  • Schedule the exam and clear it to get certified

Exam Details:

  • Cost – 100 USD
  • Languages Available – English/Japanese/Korean/Simplified Chinese
  • Modality – Testing center/Remote online proctor
  • Time – 90 minutes

Topics:

  • Basic security and compliance, the shared responsibility model for security
  • Core deployment and operating principles
  • Important AWS services and their common use cases
  • Knowledge of basic AWS architectural principles
  • The value proposition of the AWS Cloud

Associate

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification is designed for candidates with some experience in designing cost-effective, fault-tolerant, and scalable distributed systems on AWS. The associate-level AWS certification validates the following abilities:

  • Coming up with an effective solution using architectural design principles as per customer requirements
  • Offer implementation guidance to the employer organization through the entire lifecycle of a project
  • The know-how of architecting and deploying secure and robust applications on AWS technologies

Prerequisites:

  • A good understanding of the AWS global infrastructure, basic architectural principles of building on the AWS Cloud, network technologies, and security features and tools provided by the AWS
  • Practical experience of using computing, database, networking, and storage AWS services as well as AWS deployment and management services
  • The ability to identify which AWS services meet given technical requirements and define requirements for an AWS-based application
  • Understanding of recommended best practices for building secure and reliable applications on AWS

How to Get Certified?

  • Take an AWS Training Class to build technical skills and learn best practices
  • Review the Exam Guide and Sample Questions
  • Study AWS Whitepapers, written by the AWS team, AWS partners, and independent analysts, and FAQs to expand your technical understanding
  • Take Exam Readiness Training to prepare for the AWS Certification exam
  • Take a Practice Exam to assess your present level of knowledge
  • Schedule your exam and clear the same to get certified successfully

Exam Details:

  • Cost – 150 USD
  • Languages Available – English/Japanese/Korean/Simplified Chinese
  • Time – 130 minutes

Topics:

  • AWS-related data security practices, disaster recovery techniques, and troubleshooting
  • Building secure and reliable applications on the AWS platform
  • Deploying hybrid systems having an on-premises data center and AWS components
  • Designing highly available and scalable systems
  • How do:
    • The AWS-based applications work
    • The client interfaces connect to the AWS
  • Implementation and deployment in AWS
  • Network technologies and how they work in the AWS platform

AWS Certified Developer – Associate

The AWS Certified Developer – Associate certification is related to developing and maintaining AWS-based applications. It is meant for individuals who have one or more years of professional experience in developing and maintaining AWS-based applications.

Following abilities are validated by the AWS Certified Developer – Associate certification:

  • A working understanding of the basic AWS architecture, core AWS services and uses, and best practices
  • Proficiency in developing, debugging, and deploying cloud-based applications using AWS

Prerequisites:

  • Ability to:
    • Apply a good understanding of cloud-native applications to write code
    • Author, debug and maintain code modules on AWS
    • Identify key features of AWS services
    • Use a CI/CD pipeline for deploying applications on AWS
    • Use and interact with AWS services
    • Use the AWS service APIs, CLI, and SDKs to write applications
    • Write code while following AWS security best practices
  • Have a good understanding of basic AWS architecture best practices, AWS services and uses, AWS shared responsibility model, application lifecycle management, and use of containers in the development process
  • In-depth understanding of at least one high-level programming language
  • Proficiency in developing, debugging, and deploying cloud-based applications with AWS
  • Skilled in writing code for server-less applications

How to Get Certified?

  • Start with taking an AWS Training Class for advancing in your technical skills and learning best practices
  • Review the Exam Guide
  • Study FAQs and AWS Whitepapers written by the AWS team, AWS partners, and independent analysts
  • Prepare for the AWS Certification exam with the Exam Readiness Training
  • Take a Practice Exam
  • Schedule your exam and pass it to get certified

Exam Details:

  • Cost – 150 USD
  • Languages Available – English/Japanese/Korean/Simplified Chinese
  • Time – 130 minutes

Topics:

  • Application development using key AWS services, including databases, notifications, storage and change management, and workflow services
  • Basic AWS architecture
  • Core AWS services
  • Designing, developing, deploying, and maintaining applications

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate

The only AWS certification focusing on system administrators is the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate certification. It is designed for professionals with at least one year of experience in deployment, management, and operations on AWS.

Clearing the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate exam requires both conceptual knowledge as well as the technical expertise of the operations aspects of the AWS platform. The AWS certification validates a candidate for:

  • Deploying, managing, and operating highly-available, fault-tolerant, scalable systems on AWS
  • Estimating AWS usage costs and identifying cost control mechanisms
  • Identifying the suitable use of AWS operations best practices
  • Implementing and controlling the flow of data from and to AWS
  • Making the best AWS service pick based on computing, data, and/or security requirements
  • Migrating on-premises workloads to AWS

Prerequisites:

  • A sound understanding of:
    • Networking concepts, such as DNS, firewalls, and TCP/IP
    • Network technologies and how they relate to AWS
    • The AWS tenets – architecting for the cloud
    • Various security concepts along with hands-on experience in implementing compliance requirements and security controls
    • Virtualization technology
  • Ability to translate architectural requirements
  • Experience with:
    • Monitoring and auditing systems
    • The AWS CLI and SDKs/API tools

How to Get Certified?

  • Take an AWS Training Class to improve your technical skills and learn best practices
  • Review the Exam Guide and Sample Questions
  • Read the Official Exam Study Guide written by AWS experts
  • Study AWS Whitepapers and FAQs to broaden your technical knowledge
  • Take Exam Readiness Training
  • Take a Practice Exam to evaluate your present knowledge
  • Schedule your exam and pass it to get certified

Exam Details:

  • Cost – 150 USD
  • Languages Available – English/Japanese/Korean/Simplified Chinese
  • Time – 130 minutes

Topics:

  • Applications deployment to the AWS platform
  • Choosing the most suitable AWS services as per organizational needs
  • Exchanging data among data centers and AWS
  • Managing, provisioning, and securing systems in an AWS environment

Professional

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

An individual with the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional certification is able to evaluate an organization’s needs to make architectural recommendations for implementing and deploying applications on AWS.

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect –Professional certification is meant for professionals with one or more years of experience as a Professional Solutions Architect role involved with managing and operating systems on AWS. Following abilities are validated by the certification:

  • Choose appropriate AWS services for designing and deploying an application on the basis of given requirements
  • Design and deploy dynamically scalable, fault-tolerant, highly-available, and reliable applications on AWS
  • Design as well as deploy enterprise-level scalable operations on AWS
  • Implement cost-control strategies
  • Migrate complex, multi-tier applications on AWS

Prerequisites:

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate [Mandatory]
  • Ability to:
    • Architect a continuous integration and deployment process
    • Evaluate cloud application requirements and come up with architectural recommendations for deploying, implementing, and provisioning applications on AWS
    • Offer best practices guidance for architectural design across multiple enterprise applications and projects
  • Design a hybrid architecture by using key AWS technologies
  • Explain and apply the 5 pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework
  • Familiar with:
    • A scripting language
    • AWS CLI, AWS APIs, AWS CloudFormation templates, the AWS Billing Console, and the AWS Management Console
    • Windows and Linux environments
  • Map business objectives to application or architecture requirements
  • Two or more years of experience in designing and deploying cloud architecture on AWS

How to Get Certified?

  • Get started with taking an instructor-led AWS Training Class to learn best practices and enhance technical skills
  • Review the Exam Guide and Sample Questions
  • Study AWS Whitepapers prepared by the AWS team, AWS partners, and independent analysis
  • Take the Exam Readiness Training
  • Take a Practice Exam to test your knowledge
  • Schedule your exam and clear the same to get certified

Exam Details:

  • Cost – 300 USD
  • Languages Available – English/Japanese/Korean/Simplified Chinese
  • Time – 170 minutes

Topics:

  • Best practices involved with architecting the designing applications on AWS
  • Choosing the ideal AWS service as per the requirements of an application
  • Know-how of cost optimization strategies
  • Migration of complex application systems to AWS

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional

The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional certification is intended for professionals having 2 or more years of experience as a DevOps Engineer and involved with operating, managing, and provisioning AWS environments.

The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional certification is about managing, operating, and provisioning applications on the AWS platform. The AWS certification validates the following abilities:

  • Defining and deploying metrics, monitoring, and logging systems on AWS
  • Designing, managing, and maintaining tools for automating operational processes
  • Implementing:
    • As well as automating security controls, compliance validation, and governance processes
    • And managing continuous delivery systems and methodologies on AWS
    • Highly-available, scalable, self-healing systems on the AWS platform

Prerequisites:

  • AWS Certified Developer – Associate OR AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate [Mandatory]
  • A good understanding of modern development and operations related processes and methodologies
  • Experienced in:
    • Administering operating systems
    • Building highly automated infrastructures
    • Developing code in a high-level programming language

How to Get Certified?

  • Begin with taking the AWS Training Class
  • Review the Exam Guide and Sample Questions
  • Study AWS Whitepapers and FAQs
  • Take Exam Readiness Training
  • Take a Practice Exam
  • Schedule the exam and clear it to get certified

Exam Details:

  • Cost – 300 USD
  • Languages Available – English/Japanese/Korean/Simplified Chinese
  • Time – 170 minutes

Topics:

  • Basics of modern CD methodologies
  • Designing and managing tools that automate production operations
  • Implement highly-available, scalable systems on AWS
  • Know-how of implementing CD systems
  • Setting up monitoring and logging systems on AWS

Specialty

AWS Certified Big Data - Specialty

Designed for those with a background in data analytics, AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty certification is meant for those individuals with at least 2 years of experience using AWS technology and performing complex Big Data analysis.

The AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty validates a candidate’s knowledge of:

  • Designing and maintaining Big Data
  • Implementing core AWS Big Data services as per the basic architecture best practices
  • Leveraging tools for automating data analysis

Prerequisites:

  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner/AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate/AWS Certified Developer – Associate/AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
  • Background in defining and architecting AWS Big Data services and understanding of how the same fit in the data life cycle of collection, ingestion, storage, processing, and visualization
  • Experience in designing cost-effective and scalable architecture to process data

How to Get Certified?

  • Take an AWS Training Class that will help you advance your technical skills along with giving you the opportunity to learn AWS best practices
  • Review the Exam Guide and Sample Questions
  • Take Exam Readiness Training
  • Schedule your exam and clear it to get certified

Exam Details:

  • Cost – 300 USD
  • Languages Available – English/Japanese/Korean/Simplified Chinese
  • Time – 170 minutes

Topics:

  • Architecting best practices to implement core AWS Big Data services
  • Designing and maintaining Big Data
  • AWS tools for automating data analysis
  • Knowledge of AWS services, such as Athena, Kinesis, Quicksight, and Rekognition
  • Security best practices for Big Data solutions

AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty

The AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty certification is for professionals involved with performing complex networking tasks. Candidates interested in the AWS certification must have a background in architecting and implementing network solutions on AWS.

Following abilities are validated by the AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty certification:

  • Designing, developing, and deploying cloud-based solutions using AWS
  • Designing and maintaining network architecture for all AWS services
  • Implementing core AWS services in accord with the basic architecture best practices
  • Leveraging tools for automating AWS networking tasks

Prerequisites:

  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner/AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate/AWS Certified Developer – Associate/AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
  • Ability to develop automation scripts and tools
  • Advanced understanding of AWS networking concepts and technologies
  • Capability to come up with generic solutions for network security features, such as DDoS protection, EDoS, IDS, IPS, and WAF
  • Know about the networking technologies within the OSI model and how they affect implementation decisions
  • Knowledge of advanced networking architectures and interconnectivity options
  • Understanding of IPv6 transition challenges, and CIDR and subnetting

How to Get Certified?

  • Review the Exam Guide and Sample Questions to double-check the concepts covered in the exam
  • Read the Official Exam Study Guide written by AWS experts
  • Take the Exam Readiness Training to prepare for the AWS certification exam
  • Schedule the exam and pass it to get certified

Exam Details:

  • Cost – 300 USD
  • Languages Available – English/Japanese/Korean/Simplified Chinese
  • Time – 170 minutes

Topics:

  • Automating AWS tasks for network deployments
  • Designing, developing, and deploying cloud solutions with the AWS platform
  • Implementing core services with respect to architectural best practices
  • Network optimization and troubleshooting
  • Security and compliance design as well as implementation

AWS Certified Security – Specialty

The AWS Certified Security – Specialty certification offers topics that are required by security professionals and teams to follow best practices, champion security fundamentals, and build in-depth knowledge of key services pertaining to the AWS platform.

Intended for professionals serving a security role for 2 or more years with practical experience in securing AWS workloads, the AWS Certified Security – Specialty validates following abilities:

  • A good understanding of:
    • Data encryption methods and AWS mechanisms to implement the same
    • Secure Internet protocols and corresponding AWS mechanisms for implementation
    • Security operations and risk
    • Specialized data classifications as well as AWS data protection mechanisms
  • Competency in production deployment using AWS security services and features
  • Knowledge of AWS security services and features of services to offer a secure production environment
  • Make suitable trade-off decisions regarding cost, deployment complexity, and security as per a set of application requirements

Prerequisites:

  • A minimum of 5 years of IT security experience and knowledge of designing and implementing security solutions
  • At least 2 years of experience in securing AWS workloads
  • Knowledge of security controls for workloads on AWS

How to Get Certified?

  • Start with taking AWS Training classes to learn best practices and advance your existing technical skills
  • Review the Exam Guide and Sample Questions
  • Take Exam Readiness Training
  • Take a Practice Exam to assess your current knowledge
  • Schedule the exam and pass it to get certified

Exam Details:

  • Cost – 300 USD
  • Languages Available – English/Japanese/Korean/Simplified Chinese
  • Time – 170 minutes

Topics:

  • Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon Inspector, Amazon GuardDuty, Amazon Key Management Service, AWS CloudTrail, AWS Config, AWS Identity and Access Management, and AWS Trusted Advisor
  • Implementing logging and monitoring solutions for detecting and analyzing security vulnerabilities within an infrastructure
  • Selecting suitable data protection techniques, such as encryption mechanisms
  • Using a variety of AWS services for selecting the best level of security based on deployments and data sensitivity

AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty

The AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty certification is designed for individuals assuming a Development or Data Science role. The AWS certification validates the following abilities:

  • Choosing an appropriate ML approach for a given set of business requirements
  • Designing and implementing cost-effective, reliable, scalable, and secure machine learning solutions
  • Identifying the best AWS services for implementing optimum ML solutions

Prerequisites:

  • 2 or more years of experience in developing, architecting, and/or running ML or Deep Learning workloads on the AWS Cloud
  • Experience in using Deep Learning and ML frameworks
  • Ability to:
    • Express the intuition behind basic ML algorithms
    • Follow model-training, deployment and operational best practices
    • Perform basic hyperparameter optimization

How to Get Certified?

  • Start with taking AWS Training Classes
  • Review the Exam Guide and Sample Questions to check the concepts covered in the certification exam
  • Take a Practice Exam
  • Schedule the exam and clear it to get certified

Exam Details:

  • Cost – 40 USD (Practice Exam)/ 300 USD (Certification Exam)
  • Languages Available – English/Japanese
  • Time – 170 minutes

Topics:

  • Designing and implementing cost-optimized, reliable, and secure Machine Learning solutions
  • Identification of the relevant AWS solutions for creating and deploying the best ML solution
  • Selecting and justifying the best ML approach for some given business problem

AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty

For individuals with an Alexa Skill Builder role, the AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty is the ideal AWS certification to go for. The AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty certification validates these abilities:

  • An understanding of the value of voice
  • Designing the best user experiences and architecture to build the skill
  • Develop, test, troubleshoot, and validate the skill
  • Follow Alexa and AWS security best practices for the skill
  • Manage:
    • The skill-publishing process and work with the Alexa Developer Console
    • Skill operations and lifecycle

Prerequisites:

  • 6 months or more experience in building Alex skills with the Alexa Skills Kit, including skills that incorporate services from the AWS Cloud
  • Have published at least one Alexa skill
  • Knowledge of at least one programming language

How to Get Certified?

  • Take the Alexa Skill Training Courses
  • Review the Exam Guide and Sample Questions
  • Take Exam Readiness Training
  • Take a Practice Exam
  • Schedule your exam and pass it to get certified

Exam Details:

  • Cost – 300 USD
  • Languages Available – English
  • Time – 170 minutes

Topics:

  • Alexa and AWS best practices for security
  • Creating, testing, and validating the skill
  • The Alexa Developer Console
  • The value of voice
  • User experience design

AWS Recertification

The total number of AWS features and services increases on a yearly basis. Therefore, in order to demonstrate an up-to-date knowledge of AWS services and best practices, certification holders need to recertify every 2 years.

There are two ways to recertify for an AWS certification:

  • Pass the professional-level exam for the same certification
  • Pass the recertification exam for the existing certification

Every recertification exam has a total time duration of 80 minutes and costs 75 USD. It’s a better idea to take the recertification exam quite ahead of your AWS certification expiration.

Conclusion

Amazon Web Services is continuously expanding in terms of products and features. Hence, anyone aiming to make it big with AWS must stay up-to-date with the latest happenings.

Having an AWS certification on your resume will surely put you a distance ahead of your peers to grab a lucrative AWS opportunity. So, better get started today.

These best AWS tutorials will also help you prepare for your AWS certification exam.

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Gaurav Gupta

Gaurav Gupta

I am the founder of Hackr.io. View all posts by the Author

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