The new AWS DevOps Certification: what’s it going to take?

AWS launched the AWS DevOps Engineer Professional Certification

DevOps (a combination of “development” and “operations”) is a software development methodology focusing on communication, information sharing, integration, and automation between software developers and other IT departments.
The goal of DevOps is to leverage this connectivity to speed up and improve a company’s software production. Good examples of software packages that support and promote DevOps implementation across data centers and cloud infrastructures are orchestration tools like Puppet, DistelliChef, and Ansible.

The AWS DevOps certification

AWS DevOpsAs more organizations planning cloud deployments adopt the philosophies and practices of DevOps, AWS launched The AWS DevOps Engineer Professional Certification.
By requiring significant knowledge and practical experience to pass the exam, the AWS DevOps certification encourages a higher standard of practice at every stage of application development and deployment to the AWS platform.
The AWS DevOps Engineer – Professional exam page outlines the concepts you’ll need to master for this exam:

  • Implement and manage continuous delivery systems and methodologies on AWS.
  • Understand, implement, and automate security controls, governance processes, and compliance validation.
  • Define and deploy monitoring, metrics, and logging systems on AWS.
  • Implement systems that are highly available, scalable, and self-healing on the AWS platform.
  • Design, manage, and maintain tools to automate operational processes.

The AWS DevOps exam is obviously not for you if you’re new to AWS in general. They won’t even let you take the exam if you’re not already certified as an AWS Developer – Associate or AWS SysOps Administrator – Associate. And all of those certifications are built on the AWS Solutions Architect – Associate certification.
Beyond that, Amazon also strongly advises AWS DevOps candidates to ensure they possess the following general AWS knowledge:

  • AWS Services: Compute and Network, Storage and CDN, Database, Analytics, Application Services, Deployment, and Management.
  • Minimum of two years hands-on experience with production AWS systems.
  • Effective use of Auto Scaling.
  • Monitoring and logging.
  • AWS security features and best practices.
  • Design of self-healing and fault-tolerant services.
  • Techniques and strategies for maintaining high availability.

AWS DevOps, other prerequisites

You should also have broad general IT knowledge and experience. These areas, in particular, should be very familiar to you:

  • Networking concepts.
  • Strong system administration (Linux/Unix or Windows).
  • Strong scripting skills.
  • Multi-tier architectures: load balancers, caching, web servers, application servers, databases, and networking.
  • Templates and other configurable items to enable automation.
  • Deployment tools and techniques in a distributed environment.
  • Basic monitoring techniques in a dynamic environment.

As with all their other certifications, the AWS DevOps exam has its own guide. You can also download sample questions. While, like other AWS exams, the questions are either multiple choice or multiple answer, note how long and complicated they are. They’re a very good indication of the kind of scenario-based problems you’ll face on the real exam.
The AWS DevOps costs USD 300 and, rather than 80 minutes, you’ll have a total of 170 minutes to complete the exam.  So if it isn’t already obvious, before you sit for this one, you’d better be really well prepared and have loads of AWS experience.
While Cloud Academy does not yet have courses or learning paths specifically tailored to this particular certification, some of our AWS Certification Prep programs aimed at either the AWS Certified Developer – Associate or AWS SysOps Administrator – Associate will be very helpful.
If you haven’t had a lot of exposure to DevOps practices within AWS, this exam can seem daunting. However as more and more companies choose to deploy on the cloud, they often also adopt DevOps practices to benefit from stable, secure, and predictable IT environments and increased IT efficiency.
These companies are consequently on the lookout for IT professionals with cloud computing and DevOps skills. Even if you’re not quite ready yet, keep this certification in mind. Cloud Computing DevOps skills currently seem to be a particularly rare and valuable combination whose demand is sure to grow.

Written by

Michael Sheehy

I have been UNIX/Linux System Administrator for the past 15 years and am slowly moving those skills into the AWS Cloud arena. I am passionate about AWS and Cloud Technologies and the exciting future that it promises to bring.

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