Companies are increasingly shifting their workloads on the public cloud as cloud computing has moved to the level of core competency. This large shift requires new skills-set for designing, using, and managing the applications in the sphere of cloud computing. Amazon Web Services is regarded as the most matured and market leader in the cloud computing space. It also acts as a point of reference for many of its competitors. Thus, as many global big businesses constantly move to adopt or migrate to AWS, the relevance to upskill yourself is even enhanced for the system architects, developers, and even operators.
As an IT professional, if you are looking at growth or considering a new job, an AWS certification will serve as an important asset for your career. AWS has nine certifications to offer which span both the foundational and specialty topics of cloud computing.
Choice of Correct AWS Certification
An AWS Certification will clearly mean that you have the most updated and profitable skills which are being validated by all the known entities in the realm of cloud computing. A certification will help you to show a shared understanding of the platform, proper terminology, and a specific level of expertise which will be instrumental in speeding up the time to value for cloud projects. Although the enterprises have adopted multiple cloud strategies, still the importance of AWS cannot be ignored as it still the choice provider for the adoption of the public cloud. The uninterrupted streaming of new services, smooth financial performance, and even a continuous geographic growth is a clear signal that the field is sure to show great progress in times to come.
The certifications are broadly categorized into two types:
Candidate Certifications: AWS certifications for candidates are known for their thoroughness and rigor when it comes to evaluations. The prime focus is on hands-on experience and other kinds of best practices. If you are working with AWS, then the certifications will help to clarify your concepts further and enhance your knowledge. In case if you are new to it, then it will give you the foundational knowledge and other skills which are needed to work with the AWS even later. For a candidate, the certifications act as a validation of his knowledge and familiarity with the architecture, management, and even security of the cloud.
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Employer Certifications: For any firm, the basic training materials which are needed for the AWS certifications are a highly important part of the firm’s own training schedule. There are many firms which are into building their own materials for training. Many companies are also using the vendor training paths in parallel with their own internal training materials to design certification tracks, which are highly specific to their business needs.
Duration of Certification
An AWS certification, along with a full-time job and other life commitments, with taking 80 hours of study, will be complete in approximately two months. In case you are completely new to AWS, it is suggested that you should put at least 120 hours in almost three months for the preparation. You should essentially start with the fundamentals and then proceed to the Solutions Architect Associate Learning Path.
Process of Certification
There is no prescribed or outlined process to get the certifications, but here are a few steps which make the process smoother and streamlined.
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- Enroll: You have to enroll yourself in a specific training module to increase your knowledge and perception about cloud computing.
- Study Material: You have to next review and even thoroughly read the study material which is available to you
- AWS Whitepapers: It is recommended that you go through these as they hold vital information which may be able to answer many questions for you.
- Practice: There is no alternative to ample practice and revisions.
- Schedule Exam: Once you are confident about your knowledge and level of practice which should lie between 80-120 hours, you should then schedule your exam likewise.
Certifications which are available
There are nine certifications which are available of which three are associate-level certifications, three are professional-level certifications and three are specialty certifications. These are as follows:
Taking up each in detail:
- AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner: This is a foundation course which includes the core principles of the AWS cloud platform. The exam addresses various features, essential services, and other use cases of AWS. As a prerequisite, you are supposed to have six months of experience in AWS in any role.
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect-Associate: This certification is for the ones who want to build and deploy systems in AWS Cloud. The exam will have cloud-based solutions for features which need strict requirements and exhibit knowledge of architectural best practices. You will need to have plenty of hands-on experience of deploying, configuring, managing, and even storage of various database services in AWS. You should have at least one year experience about these using the AWS services.
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect-Professional: You will be expected to show your knowledge about building and deploying distributed systems in the AWS cloud to spec and scale with fault tolerance and high availability. You will have to showcase your knowledge about the method of migration of multi-tier applications to the AWS Cloud and also to build the enterprise-scale solutions on the cloud with the AWS resources. As a prerequisite, you should have the AWS Certified Solutions Architect-associate certifications and two years experience in the same.
- AWS Certified Developer-Associate: The certification exam will test your ability in the development of applications which are native to AWS cloud. You will need to show your understanding of AWS SDK and its uses in the optimization of AWS services. This exam will validate that you have a proper and workable understanding of code-level security, which also includes the creation of credentials and other encryption strategies. You should have at least one year of experience in the maintenance of applications in the AWS cloud. You should also have a proper understanding of the core services, principles, and best practices. Experience in the creation of applications for various tools like Amazon DynamoDB, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, AWS CloudFormation, etc.
- AWS Certified DevOps Engineer-Professional: This exam aims to find out the extent of your knowledge about the management of distributed applications in the AWS cloud starting from provisioning to complete operational management. Questions in the exam will be centered around continuous integration and continuous delivery and other automation best practices. The latter include the practices for automation of security and check on compliance. Hands-On knowledge about monitoring and other logging practices are also needed. You should have an AWS Certified Developer-associate of AWS Certified SysOps Administrator-associate certificate and two years of experience.
- AWS Certified SysOps Administrator-associate: This certification will validate your ability to deploy, managing and operating the system resources in the AWS cloud. You should have sound knowledge about fault tolerance and high availability. It is recommended that you should have at least one year of experience in managing native applications of AWS.
- AWS Certified Big Data-Specialty: This exam tests your knowledge about how much you know about various AWS services for getting the maximum from your data analysis. You should have any of the associate level certifications along with five years of experience in data analytics and functional knowledge about AWS Big Data.
- AWS Certified Advanced Networking-Specialty: This exam is meant for you if you are already into advanced networking which covers the scalable AWS systems. You should have any associate-level certifications along with five years of experience in the management of data applications.
- AWS Certified Security-Specialty: This examination tests your knowledge about the advanced methods for securing the AWS platform. All candidates who appear for this exam should be a seasoned IT security expert and have a thorough understanding of data protection and encryption of AWS. You should have at least five years of experience in securing the AWS environment.
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Thus, the AWS certifications hold the key to a bright future in IT as most of the companies are shifting to the cloud. Almost all certifications need practical experience along with sound preparation of the training material. An AWS Certification means that you have the most updated and in-demand skill set, which is validated by all the companies who operate in the realm of cloud computing.
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