In the part one of our AWS Certifications Study Guide, we learned about why AWS is so important in the cloud industry, and why its certifications can be a major bonus for any cloud professional. Now it’s time to delve deeper into the structure and organization of the AWS Certification program, in order to better understand how it works. There are several choices available, so it’s good to have a clear understanding of the options in order to choose the AWS certification path that best fits your needs.
AWS Certification paths
AWS provides three certification paths, with certifications at the Associate and Professional level. Each certification is targeted at a specific profile: Solutions Architects, Developers, and SysOps Administrators. Let’s take a brief look at each:
- The AWS Solutions Architect Certification – Associate certification is aimed at individuals who are experienced in designing complex infrastructures and systems on the AWS platform. Some of the skills you will be asked to demonstrate concern the planning of highly available and fault-tolerant systems, migration of existing architectures to AWS, estimating costs, and implementing cost control mechanisms. This is probably one of the most common certifications available, and the first certification made available by AWS.
- The AWS Certified Developer – Associate certification focuses on the technical expertise required to develop and maintain applications on the AWS platform. You will be challenged with quizzes about how to use the AWS SDKs to interact with AWS services and how to achieve the best performance and high code-level security. This path is focused on a smaller set of services than the Solutions Architect certification, but at a deeper level.
- The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate certification is the only certification that is fully geared toward system administrators. The focus here is on management, deployment, orchestration, and in general operations on AWS services. This exam shares some topics in common with the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate path, but from an operative point of view.
Associate and Professional Levels
Two professional level exams are now available: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional and AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional.
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional is the pinnacle of all of the AWS certifications. This certification requires a high degree of technical skill and experience designing AWS-based applications. You will be required to know which AWS services are best suited to the needs of your applications and how to migrate complex application systems over to AWS. Finally, you will need to know how to implement cost control strategies.
AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional is all about provisioning, operating, and managing applications on the AWS platform. This exam focuses heavily on continuous delivery (CD) and automation of processes. You will be expected to know: Continuous delivery basics and how to implement CD systems, how to set up monitoring and logging systems on AWS, and how to design and manage tools that enable the automation of production operations.
Both professional level exams require that you be certified at the Associate level for that exam. We will go into greater detail for each certification in upcoming sections of this guide.
AWS Certification Paths: How to get certified
Testing locations. AWS certification exams are administered in authorized testing centers managed by Kryterion. There are about 800 testing locations around the world, so chances are that you will find one that is reasonably close to where you are located.
Cost. Associate level certification exams cost $150, and Professional level exams cost $300.
Language. All exams are available in English, with limited availability in other languages for some exams.
Test questions. AWS provides a few sample questions on each certification page, but these are just a general indication of the types of questions you may encounter; they are not necessarily representative of the actual exam questions. This is where our AWS Certification Learning Paths can help you. Our dedicated learning paths for each of the five AWS certifications include video courses, quizzes, and hands-on labs, with content crafted by AWS experts and designed to closely match the material and questions on the AWS certification exams.
Up next: In part 3, we’ll show you how to prepare for AWS certification exams.