5 Insider Tips for AWS Recertification
AWS certifications provide leverage for IT professionals with the required skills - principally in designing, deploying, and operating applications...Learn More
As companies increasingly shift workloads to the public cloud, cloud computing has moved from a nice-to-have to a core competency in the enterprise. This shift requires a new set of skills to design, deploy, and manage applications in cloud computing.
As the market leader and most mature provider in the cloud computing space, AWS is considered a thought leader and point of reference for all of its competitors. In 2019, AWS continues to lead in public cloud adoption, and it currently offers eleven certifications that cover both foundational and specialty cloud computing topics.
Why choose the right AWS certification? Here’s why it matters.
Getting AWS certified shows that you have some of the most in-demand (and profitable) skills as validated by one of the most recognizable entities in cloud computing. In the enterprise, certification demonstrates a shared understanding of a platform, a shared terminology, and a certain level of cloud expertise that can speed up time to value for cloud projects.
Even as enterprises adopt multi-cloud strategies, this doesn’t diminish the importance of an AWS certification – quite the opposite. With more than one million customers, AWS is still the provider of choice for public cloud adoption, where 64% of enterprises and 68% of SMBs are running applications (according to the 2018 RightScale State of the Cloud Report). Continued strong financial performance, a constant stream of new services, and a continuous geographic expansion (including a dedicated intelligence community region announced in 2017) are an indication that there is still much more to come.
AWS certifications themselves stand out for their rigor and thoroughness in evaluating a candidate’s skills, with an emphasis on hands-on experience and best practices. If you’re already working with AWS, preparing for a certification can help strengthen your knowledge by clarifying key concepts. If you’re new to AWS, it can provide the foundational knowledge and skills you’ll need to work with AWS services and solutions down the road. For organizations looking for new recruits, AWS certifications validate a candidate’s familiarity and knowledge of best practices in cloud architecture, management, and security.
In the enterprise, the core training materials used to prepare for AWS certifications are a valuable component in a company’s own internal training path. As IT environments become more customized and requirements for new skills grow, an increasing number of companies are building their own certification programs. Many of them are using vendor certification training paths in connection with internal training materials to stand up certification tracks specific to their business needs.
With a full-time job and other commitments, investing 80 hours of study usually takes two months. If you are entirely new to AWS, we recommend approximately 120 hours or three months to prepare. Start with the fundamentals, and then move to the Solutions Architect Associate Learning Path.
AWS currently offers eleven certifications: a foundational certification, three associate-level certifications, two professional-level certifications, and three specialty certifications. You can find a full overview of all Learning Paths to prepare for the certifications on the Cloud Academy’s AWS Certifications page.
While there are not set-in-stone steps to studying for the AWS certification, these steps are the most straight-forward.
Let’s take a closer look at each exam.
The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is AWS’s newest certification. This entry-level certification is designed to validate a candidate’s overall understanding of the AWS cloud.
Prepare for the Foundational Certification, with Cloud Academy’s Cloud Practitioner Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.
The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – the Associate exam is designed for those with some experience in designing distributed applications. Candidates will need to be able to demonstrate their ability to design, manage, and implement applications using tools and services on the AWS platform. This exam was updated in February 2018 to include more AWS services and best practices.
Preparing for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate with Cloud Academy’s Solutions Architect – Associate Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.
The AWS Certified Developer – the Associate exam is all about developing and maintaining AWS-based applications. You will need to know how to write actual code that uses AWS software to access AWS applications from within your custom business applications.
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s Developer – Associate Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.
The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – the Associate exam is the only certification that is fully geared toward system administrators. Passing this exam requires both technical expertise and conceptual knowledge of the operational aspects of the AWS platform. Previous experience as a Linux or Windows administrator will be a plus.
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s SysOps Administrator – Associate Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.
A professional AWS architect is someone who can evaluate an organization’s requirements and make architectural recommendations for implementing and deploying applications on AWS. The Certified Solutions Architect Professional certification requires a high degree of technical skill and experience designing AWS-based applications.
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s Solutions Architect – Professional Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.
The DevOps Engineer certification is all about provisioning, operating, and managing applications on the AWS platform. This exam focuses heavily on continuous delivery (CD) and the automation of processes, two fundamental concepts of the DevOps movement.
AWS specialty certifications are designed to validate a candidate’s skills in big data and networking.
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s DevOps Engineer – Professional Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.
The AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty certification is for those with a background in data analytics and experience using AWS services for designing and architecting big data solutions. It is designed to validate a candidate’s experience in extracting value from data using AWS services.
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s Big Data – Specialty Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.
The AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty certification is designed to validate a candidate’s skills and experience in connection with performing complex networking tasks on AWS and hybrid IT networking architecture at scale. Candidates should have a background in architecting and implementing network solutions and advanced knowledge of networking on AWS.
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s Advanced Networking – Specialty Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.
The AWS Certified Security – Specialty certification covers topics that security pros and teams need to master security fundamentals, follow best practices, and build deep knowledge in key services unique to the AWS platform. It is designed to validate your AWS knowledge across security topics such as data protection and encryption, infrastructure security, incident response, identity, and access management, monitoring and logging.
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s Security – Specialty Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path
The AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty certification validates your technical expertise in creating, testing, and deploying Amazon Alexa skills. This exam is for anyone who performs a role as an Alexa skill builder. Candidates should have at least six months of hands-on experience building Alexa skills using the Alexa Skills Kit and should be proficient in a programming language.
Prepare for this certification by learning more about the AWS Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty certification.
The AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty certification validates your ability to create, implement, and maintain machine learning solutions for a range of business problems. This exam is for anyone who performs a development or data science role. Candidates should have one to two years of experience using ML and/or deep learning on the AWS Cloud.
Prepare for this certification with Cloud Academy’s Machine Learning – Specialty Certification Preparation for AWS Learning Path.
The number of new AWS features and services increases every year. AWS announced almost 30 new products and services at its annual conference, re:Invent in November 2017. In Q4 alone, AWS added 497 new features and services for a total of 1,430 launches in 2017.
To demonstrate continued expertise and knowledge of best practices for the most up to date AWS services, certification holders are required to recertify every two years.
You may recertify by either passing the professional-level exam for the same certification or by passing the recertification exam for your existing certification. Recertification exams run for 80 minutes and cost 75 USD.
Remember that certifications are broadly representative of your knowledge at a specific point in time. The real AWS mavens don’t wait until their certification expires – they build good habits to stay current and are obsessed with learning. Here are some tips for keeping your skills current.
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