How to Get an Aws Certification: Everything You Need to Know

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Last updated on
11th Mar, 2021
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30th Aug, 2019
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How to Get an Aws Certification: Everything You Need to Know

How to Get AWS Certified?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains the clear leader worldwide in the public cloud services market. AWS certifications are among the most in-demand certifications in the IT market. These certifications can help you validate your skills in cloud-based services and also build confidence and credibility. There is a simple path you need to follow to get an AWS certification. Here are the steps you need to follow:

1. Be prepared to commit

If you are half-hearted while preparing for the AWS certification exam, it can get difficult for you to pass the exam. These intensive examinations need 100% focus and thorough preparation. You will have to study and take practice exams to get a complete understanding of the concepts. There are several online materials available that can help you get started on your learning. Also, if you are taking multiple exams, make sure that you take some time between the exams to focus on the more challenging parts of the exam.

2. Select your path

The next step is choosing your approach to get the AWS certification. You need to figure out your strategy. For this, you can start with the exam that is the easiest or the most relevant to your profession. Selecting an exam on the basis of your job type or role will help you gain a better understanding of how it works. For example, if you are working as a DevOps engineer, you should go for the SysOps or developer route. However, if you are completely new to the AWS, you should first go for the developer exam, followed by SysOps and Solutions Architect.

3. Developing a Strategy

Once you have selected the path, you need to start preparing for these exams. Before you start studying, you should figure out how much you know about the course. There are practice exams available on the AWS website that you can try. Identify the stronger and weaker areas so that you know the subjects you need to focus on more. After this, gather all the study resources that you can. There are tons of tutorials and guides available online that will help you learn. Here are a couple of resources that you can check out:

  • AWS exam blueprint contains some white papers that you should check out.
  • Re:Invent videos is a YouTube channel of the Amazon where it posts all of its latest user conferences. There are plenty of videos for you to watch and get started with AWS.
  • User groups organize meetings for fellow AWS professionals where they discuss real-world applications of AWS. You can even clear all your queries in these meetings.
  • The AWS hands-on labs experience will help you get a better grasp of the concepts. 

4. Using the Resources

There are many resources available online to help you study better for the certification exam. You just need to select the one that provides the greatest value and suits your learning preferences. You can try technical bootcamps that are taught by AWS knowledge experts. With this, you will be able to maintain expertise through hands-on learning that can be applied to the customer designs. You can find several articles on the official AWS blog that contains best practices, concepts, and new products and features. 

5. Study daily

Yes, for any certification you need to study. But what can you do when you have a full-time job and other obligations? For this, all you can do is use your daily routine to incorporate as much studying time as you can. If you have AWS experience then we recommend a study time of around 80 hours but if you are completely new to AWS then you would need to invest at least 120 hours in preparation.

6. Solve problems using the AWS way

To ace the exam, you need to look through the AWS mindset. In the exam, most of the questions are practical scenarios which try to push you towards the right answer by mentioning cost, performance or global reach. Also, depending on the resources and tools provided to you, there are multiple solutions available. So, not only you need to figure out what exactly is the question, but also determine the AWS way to answer that question.

7. Find the right time

You don’t have to rush to get the AWS certification. It is important that you take the exam at the right time. However, no matter the time, getting an AWS certification is only going to help you in the IT space. But before you take the exam, make sure that you have prepared well and have undertaken the right training.

How do I Become AWS Certified?

Steps to Become AWS Certifed

While there are no definite steps for getting AWS certified, the most basic and important steps can be listed as:

  • Get yourself enrolled in an AWS training class. This will help you get a better knowledge of AWS and Cloud computing.
  • Review all the available exam and study guides.
  • AWS whitepapers contain important questions that will help solve a lot of your queries.
  • Practice. The more you practice, the better your skills will be and the less stress you will have regarding the certification exam.
  • The last step is scheduling the exam. Based on the exam you are pursuing and the experience you have working in the field, you will need about 80-120 hours to finish studying the course.

Overall, how you study depends on the exam you are taking. So, let’s get a closer look at each certification:

1. Foundational Certification: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification exam is a new entry-level certification that was created for validating the overall knowledge of working with the AWS cloud. To take this course, you need to have at least 6 months of experience working with the AWS cloud. The course will cover the fundamental principles of the AWS architecture, AWS cloud’s value proposition, core deploying and operating principles, key services of AWS and their use cases, the responsibility of the security model, and basic compliance and security.

2. Associate-Level Certifications

i. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Professionals with basic knowledge of how to design distributed applications should take up AWS solutions architect certification exam. With this certification, you will be able to validate your skills of designing, implementing, and managing applications using services and tools on the AWS. During the course, you will learn about how network technologies work in AWS, how to deploy hybrid systems with AWS components and on-premises data center, connecting AWS platform to the client’s interfaces, building reliable and secure applications on AWS, etc. For the exam, you need to be familiar with designing scalable and available systems, implementing and deploying them on AWS, using data security practices, troubleshooting, and disaster recovery techniques provided by AWS.

ii. AWS Certified Developer – Associate

This AWS Developer Certification exam covers development and maintenance of applications built on the AWS platform. For accessing AWS applications using the AWS software from the organization’s custom business applications, you must have the skill to write code. You need to have a deep understanding of the core AWS services, architecture, databases, storage services, workflow services, change management services, and notifications. 

iii. AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate

This associate-level exam is the only AWS certification exam made completely for system administrators. For this, you will need conceptual knowledge as well as technical expertise on the AWS platform’s operational aspects. Having experience working as a Windows or Linux administrator will be an added benefit. AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate exam will cover concepts like using the AWS platform for deploying applications, meeting the needs of the organization by choosing the right AWS services, facilitating the transfer of data between AWS and the data center, and managing, securing, and provisioning systems on the AWS platform.

3. Professional-Level Certifications

i. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

As a professional Solutions Architect, you will be responsible for evaluating the requirements of the organization and then making recommendations regarding architecture to implement and deploy applications on the AWS platform. A certification will require a lot of experience and technical skills in designing applications based on AWS. To prepare for this exam, you need to study the best AWS practices and services for architecting and designing the applications. Also, you must have knowledge of how to migrate application systems to the AWS platform and strategies that are used for cost optimization.

ii. AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional

This certification is used to validate your skills of operating, managing, and provision AWS-based applications. You have to pay extra focus on DevOps’ fundamental concepts – Processes Automation and Continuous Delivery (CD). You need to learn about the different methodologies used for implementing CD systems. You must have knowledge of designing and managing tools used for automating the production operations, implementing scalable and highly available systems on the AWS platform, and setting up, logging, and maintain systems on AWS.

4. Specialty Certifications

i. AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty

This course is for professionals who have had experience working in data analytics and extracting data value, architecting and designing solutions for big data using the AWS services. To prepare for this certification, you must have knowledge of automating data analysis using AWS tools, providing big data solutions and implementing big data services of AWS through best practices like Athena, Kinesis, Rekognition, and Quicksight.

ii. AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty

This Specialty certification will demonstrate your expertise in using AWS and IT networking architecture for performing complicated networking tasks. You must have an understanding of networking on AWS and architecting and implementing networking solutions. The areas covered in the exam are automating AWS tasks for deploying network, using best architectural practices to implement core services, designing, building and deploying cloud solutions on the AWS platform, troubleshooting and network optimization, and designing and implementing security and compliance.

iii. AWS Certified Security – Specialty

With this certification, you will be able to cover topics like fundamentals of security, following best practices, and building knowledge of services offered by the AWS like encryption, data protection, logging, monitoring, incident response, identity, and access management, and infrastructure security. You must know how to use AWS services to select the right level of security depending on the application and sensitivity of the data, how to select the best data protection technique, and how to implement monitoring and logging solutions for detecting and analyzing weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the infrastructure. The AWS services used for this include Amazon Key Management Service, AWS Identity and Access Management, AWS Config, Amazon CloudWatch, AWS Trusted Advisor, Amazon Inspector, Amazon GuardDuty, etc.

iv. AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty

This certification is used for validating your skills to create, test and deploy Amazon Alexa. Before you take the exam, at least six months of experience in using the Alexa Skills kit for building Alexa skills and proficiency in at least one high-level programming language is recommended. During the exam, topics like the value of voice, Alexa developer console, user experience design, knowing how to create, test, and validate skills, and following best practices of AWS and Alexa for security will be covered.

v. AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty

Take this certification exam for validating your skills of creating, implementing, and maintaining machine learning solutions for your organization. You must have experience in development and data science to take this exam. Also, one to two years of working experience in using deep learning and machine learning on the AWS cloud is recommended. For preparation of the exam, cover topics like how to select the best machine learning approach, how to identify the right AWS solution for creating and deploying your ML solution, and how to design and implement reliable, secure, scalable, and cost-optimized ML solutions.

If you took the exam and didn’t pass, don’t worry. You will be able to retake the exam after 14 days. There is no restrictions on the number of attempts. However, for every attempt, you will have to pay the complete registration fee. Beta test takers can take the exam just once. 

Every year, AWS releases new services and features. So, to continue demonstrating knowledge and expertise of AWS services, you need to take the recertification exam every three years. You can either take the professional-level certification for the same exam or take the recertification exam.

Profile

Joydip Kumar

Solution Architect

Joydip is passionate about building cloud-based applications and has been providing solutions to various multinational clients. Being a java programmer and an AWS certified cloud architect, he loves to design, develop, and integrate solutions. Amidst his busy work schedule, Joydip loves to spend time on writing blogs and contributing to the opensource community.