In the last few months we spent a lot of time analyzing the cloud certification market. There is no doubt that having a cloud computing certification is today the best step you can do to start a career in this industry; AWS is right now the most important public cloud service and only Google can beat it in the next years. At Cloud Academy we daily discuss and observe how the market is evolving and Amazon is now in a great position: it’s all about the creation of an ecosystem where AWS is becoming a standard and not just a simple public cloud environment.
How Amazon is planning its certification path:
In this scenario having a cloud computing certification is the most savvy step you can do if you want to refresh your resume and get exposed to thousands of new job positions. Let me clarify this: we usually get a tons of email from members that want to understand what is the best certification to start a cloud career. Well, Amazon is not only the best choice because of its popularity, this is actually explained by a broader schema: AWS, most of the time, is used in high-technology startups and companies; as an AWS Solution Architect you’ll be employed in high-innovative projects that are not only about system administration but also about challenges never seen before for an IT architect. Think about Anki Drive: those guys are using Amazon AWS for an highly scalable infrastructure that works with AI algorithms; this is a big switch from the past where IT architects were always involved on boring technologies management, like web server, email server and so on. The world is changing, software is changing it. Amazon is simply leading this process from an infrastructure point of view.
How to get the AWS Solution Architect Certification – Associate Level in 3 steps
Some weeks ago we posted a complete article about the AWS Solution Architect Certification preparation, Amazon has some great content online to get you prepared but most of the effort is studying, learning how to think with AWS and then practice with a real infrastructure. There are a lot of courses online about AWS, but most of them are not even ready to introduce you to Amazon AWS: very low quality, no deep content and suggestions given by people without any real experience with Amazon Web Services.
We tried most of them and the low quality cannot assure you to really get all the important topics that you’ll find in the certification. Here is how we suggest to prepare for the AWS Solutions Architect Certification for the Associate Level (be aware: this is the first step, Amazon is preparing also a Professional certification level).
1) Study and gain confidence with AWS
First of all, you need to study, a lot. Amazon’s Documentation, WhitePapers and a great free tier account to learn what is AWS, what is the structure behind it, the most important services and what they do; at the same time try to practice and get involved in real operations like launching an instance, configure an EBS or an ELB and so on. Real practice (50%) with a good preparation on the theoretical part (50%). White Papers are usually very useful, be sure to read them as well during this phase of your preparation.
While you are stuyding the documentation, open our great CloudAcademy and start taking quizzes on AWS: we use a particular technology, called Skill Assessment, to understand what is your knowledge level. If you start from scratch you’ll go through a lot of AWS services like EC2, S3, EBS and so on, then you will start reading learning statements with more deep knowledge. We have designed our quizzes to really teach you specific concepts and operations, those are really important to understand VPC, CloudFormation and all the more complex services.
One example of our quizzes and learning statements:
2) Use CloudAcademy.com to verify your learning
Once you feel quite ready, start using CloudAcademy only to test your knowledge. That’s the time to go ahead and start answering to our strongest Quizzes. They are hard quizzes but, more important, in this level you’ll find a lot of them that are asking you how to act in real situations, with real examples of AWS infrastructures.
3) QuickLab and other laboratories to practice your skills
The last step is trying to do something for real. In this case you can use an AWS account (the Free Tier is perfect) to build a real infrastructure. It could be a single WordPress blog that uses a Load Balancer and a couple of instances inside VPC or something more complex.
Practice, how much does it count?
It is simple, practice is 50% of your effort to prepare this certification. You can do this with laboratories or using a real AWS account, but you need to do this. You cannot try to get an AWS Certification without get your hands dirty with a bunch of hours with AWS’s console. The only way to learn how to build things with AWS is actually trying to replicate existing infrastructures, you can do that with a lot of tutorials.
How to stay updated with AWS Solution Architect topics
Staying updated with Amazon is not so simple: the platform is evolving and each week we can find new changes, additions and so on. The unique source to be notified about all the news is Jeff Barr’s blog. In Cloud Academy we have different approaches to keep all of our content updated; in fact our content managers are changing the quizzes and the learning statements on a daily basis; that’s not all, we have a strong roadmap about AWS with all the tags (services of AWS) that we need to complete or we need to create from scratch.
You can find all the services that we are covering for AWS at this url: https://cloudacademy.com/amazon-web-services/. Very soon you will be able to get quizzes and learning statements only on a single service.
How to find a job as AWS Solutions Architect
Here comes the best part. Right now there are thousands of new jobs positions for AWS Solutions Architect. Amazon is probably the one with more positions but if you take a look at Linkedin Jobs you’ll find out how more and more companies that use AWS are looking for skilled architects. In Cloud Academy we have just started a new weekly report with the best positions for Amazon Architects, trying to cover US, Europe and ASIA as well.
Below, there is a good example of Linkedin’s positions for AWS Solutions Architect.
Who I am: Stefano Bellasio, I’m founder and CEO of CloudAcademy.com and I usually spend a lot of times with AWS experts, Solutions Architect and engineers to build our content and all the CloudAcademy’s services. My background is in the webhosting and data center services industry and I’m now working with top-level cloud computing experts to build our learning platform.