amazon certification

Amazon estimates a 28% growth in jobs requiring cloud skills over the next five years. With cloud services becoming increasingly critical for businesses, professionals with AWS certifications are in high demand.

Obtaining an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certification can significantly enhance your career prospects in the IT industry. They validate your expertise in cloud computing and can lead to job roles such as cloud architect, cloud developer, systems administrator, and DevOps engineer. By earning an AWS certification, you demonstrate your ability to design, deploy, and manage cloud solutions effectively.

In this article, we will explore the different AWS certification levels and help you determine which certification you should get based on your career goals.

What Is An AWS Certification?

An AWS certification validates your practical and theoretical knowledge of Amazon AWS systems and functions. It demonstrates your skills in deploying and managing AWS cloud computing systems, and tools to support business operations efficiently.

AWS offers various certification levels, ranging from foundational to professional, designed to validate specific expertise and knowledge areas. These cover roles such as solutions architect, developer, operations, and specialty certifications. 

Earning an AWS certification not only enhances your technical skills but also increases your credibility and marketability in the IT industry.

In the next sections, we will explore the different AWS certification levels and help you determine which certification aligns best with your career goals.

Types of AWS Certifications

AWS certifications come in three levels; Foundational, Associate, and Professional.  Each tier has a different scope, covering different AWS services and systems, and in depth, requiring varying degrees of technical skills.

Let’s take a look at available AWS certification paths:

Foundational Level 

The Foundational level includes one certification: the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. This level is designed for individuals who are new to AWS and need to understand the basic concepts.

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification is an optional foundational level step that prepares users for a higher level associate certification and professional level certifications. This certification exam itests your core knowledge of AWS cloud at a broad level.  

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner will give you the knowledge of:

  • Core AWS services and their common use cases
  • Basic AWS architecture and foundations 
  • Basics of AWS security and compliance functions 
  • Cloud computing fundamentals
  • Core deployment and operating principles
  • Value proposition of AWS cloud
  • Cloud costs, economics and billing practices

This exam is recommended for individuals with at least six months of general AWS cloud experience in any role, whether technical, managerial, or sales. 

The exam format includes multiple-choice and multiple-response questions. It lasts 90 minutes and costs $100 USD to take the exam.

Associate Level

Associate Level AWS certifications are a significant step up from the foundational level.  These certifications cover a broad spectrum of AWS services at a mid-level depth, requiring the student to learn a large number of AWS services and systems and demonstrate a mid to high level of technical skill.

AWS Certified Developer – Associate

The AWS Certified Developer—Associate certification is designed for individuals who have experience developing and maintaining applications on the AWS platform. It covers core AWS services, basic architecture best practices, and development tools.

To get this certification, you should also be able to:

  • Design, develop and deploy AWS cloud-based solutions.
  • Identify techniques needed to code a cloud solution
  • Implement the correct architecture for development and testing environments
  • Work with the various Amazon tools and services associated with databases, messaging, workflows, and notifications
  • Pick the right AWS services for a given application based on requirements
  • Write code for performance optimization of the AWS services utilized by an application.

This exam is recommended for individuals with at least one year of hands-on experience with AWS services. The exam format includes multiple-choice and multiple-response questions. It lasts 130 minutes and costs $150 USD to take the exam.

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate

The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate certification is designed for individuals who manage and operate systems on the AWS platform. This certification validates your ability to deploy, manage, and operate scalable and fault-tolerant systems on AWS.

To complete this this certification, you should be able to:

  • Deploy, manage and operate scalable, highly available, and fault-tolerant AWS systems
  • Migrate on-premises systems to AWS
  • Implement and control AWS data flow
  • Properly select the AWS service that is best for security, data, or computing requirements
  • Estimate AWS usage costs and identify cost controls

This certification is recommended for individuals with at least one year of hands-on experience working with AWS systems. 

The exam format includes multiple-choice and multiple-response questions. It lasts 130 minutes and costs $150 USD to take the exam.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

The associate level of the AWS Solutions Architect certification will prepare you to:

  • Formulate architectural best practices for AWS
  • Identify cost control measures and estimate AWS costs
  • Design data flow to and from AWS
  • Select the most appropriate AWS service based on security and data requirements and database design
  • Be fluent in the design and application of data security
  • Manage the lift and shift of an on-premises architecture to an AWS cloud-based architecture
  • Design and deploy highly available, secure, scalable, and fault-tolerant AWS systems

This certification is also recommended for individuals with at least one year of hands-on experience designing systems on AWS. The exam format includes multiple-choice and multiple-response questions. It lasts 130 minutes and costs $150 USD to take the exam.

Professional Level

AWS professional level certifications demonstrate expert knowledge and skills.  These certifications focus on two specific roles: Solutions Architects and DevOps Engineers.  The certification exams are extremely challenging but can lead to advanced career opportunities.  While not technically a prerequisite, taking an associate exam is a good idea before taking on a professional-level certification. 

AWS DevOps Engineer – Professional

The AWS DevOps Engineer – Professional certification provides you with a deep understanding of AWS authentication, authorization, and accounting.

With this AWS certification level, you will learn:

  • Fluency in the administration of advanced roles and group management
  • The intricacies of subnets and routing
  • Proficiency with advanced networking using IPSec, BGP, Jumbo Frames, and Direct Connect
  • Development and advanced deployment techniques
  • To assess cloud risk, compliance, and governance
  • Advanced use of cloud formation
  • Various tools provided by Amazon for monitoring, maintenance, and deployment

This certification is recommended for individuals with extensive experience in AWS DevOps. The exam format includes multiple-choice and multiple-response questions, lasts 180 minutes, and costs $300 USD.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect 

The Professional Solutions Architect certification is the highest AWS certification. You should be able to perform all of the duties of the previous certifications as well as the ones listed below.

  • Identify costs and implement complete cost control strategies
  • Design and deploy enterprise-level scalable AWS operations
  • Be able to formulate and carry out a strategy to migrate complex multi-tier applications to AWS
  • Select the correct AWS best practices to design and deploy applications based on the provided requirements
  • Design and implement the various networking features of AWS
  • Master the design and implementation of AWS connectivity
  • Design and deploy dynamically reliable, scalable, fault-tolerant, highly available, and secure AWS applications

This certification is recommended for individuals with extensive experience in designing and deploying applications on AWS. The exam format includes multiple-choice and multiple-response questions. It lasts 180 minutes and costs $300 USD.

Specialty Certifications

Specialty certifications are expert level deep dive into certain AWS services.  These exams cover a narrow scope and deep depth of knowledge.  Some specialty certifications recommend five or more years of experience in your field before attempting them.   Currently, there are seven specialty certifications available.  

  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking Specialty 
  • AWS Certified Security Specialty 
  • AWS Certified Machine Learning Specialty 
  • AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder Specialty 
  • AWS Certified Data Analytics Specialty 
  • AWS Certified Database Specialty 

How to Get AWS Certified?

Before taking the AWS certification exam, you need to be well-prepared and knowledgeable about the AWS platform. 

Follow these steps to get AWS certified: 

  • Choose the Right Certification: Determine which AWS certification aligns with your career goals. AWS offers various certifications at Foundational, Associate, Professional, and Specialty levels. Select the one that best suits your current skills and future aspirations.
  • Study the Exam Guide: Review the official AWS exam guide for your certification. The guide provides an overview of the topics covered in the exam and the recommended knowledge and experience.
  • Enroll in Training Courses: Sign up for AWS training courses to improve your skills. Our AWS training courses at ONLC provide in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience with AWS services.
  • Use Study Resources: Utilize study materials such as books, whitepapers, and online resources. AWS provides various study aids, including practice exams and sample questions, to help you prepare.
  • Gain Hands-On Experience: It’s tough to pass the certification without any hands-on experience. Spend time working with AWS services in real-world scenarios to reinforce your understanding.
  • Take Practice Exams: Familiarize yourself with the exam format and identify areas for further study. AWS offers official practice exams, and there are many third-party options available.
  • Schedule Your Exam: Once you feel confident in your knowledge and skills, schedule your exam through the AWS Certification portal. Exams can be taken at testing centers or online, depending on your location and preference.
  • Take the Exam: On exam day, ensure you are well-rested and ready. Follow the instructions carefully and manage your time effectively during the exam.
  • Receive Your Certification: After passing the exam, you will receive your AWS certification. You can download your digital badge and certificate from the AWS Certification portal.
  • Maintain Your Certification: AWS certifications are valid for three years. To maintain your certification, you will need to recertify by passing the current version of the exam or completing relevant professional development activities.

With the increasing demand for cloud skills, obtaining an AWS certification can significantly boost your career and open up new opportunities in the IT industry.

Whether you’re just starting with the foundational level or preparing for a specialized certification, ONLC offers comprehensive AWS certification classes and training to help you succeed. 

Sharpen your skills and confidently pursue the AWS certification that best fits your career goals with ONLC’s expert-led AWS training classes today!

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