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AWS Solutions Architect Certification Guide: Cost, Exam Format, and Exam Tips



Introduction

With a 32% market share in the cloud computing market, AWS has become a popular choice for several organizations leading to a massive surge in demand for AWS Certified Professionals. This is why many IT Professionals to propel their career in cloud computing are now pursuing AWS Certifications.

However, one certification has become a high in-demand job profile and crowd-favourite– AWS Solutions Architect. We all know in-demand jobs are the ones with lucrative salaries with ample job growth and it's the same with an AWS Solutions Architect. The average salary of a certified AWS Solutions Architect– Associate Level is $130,883, while an AWS Solutions Architect– Professional level makes $148,456 on average. 

This might have caught your interest in knowing everything about an AWS Solutions Architect Certification if you're still unsure about its career prospect and scope. As a cloud platform, AWS has customers all across from over 190 countries with over 1 million users–which means job opportunities in this field are in abundance.

Let's discuss everything about the AWS Solutions Architect certification path, how you can become one, and apply for the AWS Solutions Architect Certification? Why do we want to focus on AWS Solution Architect? And is it the right career course for you or not? Not just that, we’ll also answer the following:

  • Who are AWS Solutions Architects?
  • What are the types of tasks that solutions architects do, and what's the salary?
  • How can you start your career as an AWS Solution Architect?
  • How to prepare and ace AWS Solution Architects Certification Exam?

What is AWS Solutions Architect Certification Exam?

The AWS Solutions Architect exam aims to test individuals who perform Solutions Architect's role with one or more years of hands-on experience in managing an organization's cloud computing architecture and designing cost-efficient, fault-tolerant, and scalable distributed systems on the AWS platform.

AWS Solutions Architect Certification Enables You to Perform Roles Like:

  • Be the keeper of the AWS Well-Architected Framework pillars, ensuring customers follow best practices, guidance, and recommendations to develop cloud solutions that are secure, resilient, efficient, and managed with operational excellence. 
  • Designs Cloud-Native Application Architectures, ensure that solutions are designed using AWS native services and with customer user experience, scale/performance, security, and operability in mind.
  • Deliver the infrastructure and operating environment for container-based microservices that meet the agreed high availability, performance and security requirements.
  • Deliver the projects with Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) practices and its related toolsets (e.g., JIRA, GIT/BitBucket, Jenkins, Nexus, etc.)

Here are some sample of the AWS Solutions Architect Certification questions and let us know if you cracked the answer or not:

1) In RDS, what is the maximum value I can set for my backup retention period?

  • a. 15 days
  • b. 30 days
  • c. 35 days
  • d. 45 days 

Answer: C

2) In what circumstances would I choose provisioned IOPS in RDS over standard storage?

  • a. If you use production online transaction processing
  • b. If you have workloads that are not sensitive to latency/lag
  • c. If your business was trying to save money
  • d. If this was a test DB

Answer: D

3) Amazon RDS does not currently support increasing storage on a ___ DB instance.

  • a. MySQL
  • b. Aurora
  • c. Oracle
  • d. MSSQL

Answer: D

4) True or False. Automated backups are enabled by default for new DB Instance?

Can you guess the answer?

What are the benefits of AWS Solutions Architect Certification?

key takeaways

Getting AWS Solutions Architect certified shows that you have some of the most in-demand (and profitable) IT skills validated by one of the most recognizable entities in cloud computing. There are other benefits as well: 

  • AWS Certification Solutions Architect Certificate helps you demonstrate your technical expertise and enables you to advance your cloud computing career.
  • Being AWS Solutions Architect certified makes you eligible for the Subject Matter Expert program and be part of the exam development process and other workshops and show your participation in a benchmark certification program.
  • As a Certified AWS Solutions Architect, you display your commitment to updating your existing knowledge and staying relevant to the current trending technologies.
  • According to the Global Knowledge survey, a Certified AWS Solutions Architect-Associate earns an average salary of $148,456. So, getting a hefty paycheck is another reason you should go for AWS Solutions Architect Certification.
  • AWS Solutions Architect Certification boosts your confidence as you can flex your technical understanding and skills with your AWS Certified Badges.

AWS Solutions Architect Certification Path and Course Details

AWS Solution Architect Certifications is divided into two courses: 

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

Here's a quick snippet about the exam duration, cost, format, and other significant details you'd require before applying for the exam:

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Let’s know about both AWS Solutions Architect certifications along with their exam details:

1) AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

The exam helps you validate your ability to effectively show your knowledge of building and deploying secure and smooth software or application using the AWS platform. 

This certification focuses on AWS services' core components, like Identity and Access Management (IAM), Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), S3, and EC2. Understanding these core services will give you a grasp on AWS's approach to security, networking, data storage, and compute scalability.

Exam Details:

  • Prerequisites: One or more year experience in designing distributed applications on AWS
  • Format: 65 Multiple choice questions and multiple answers
  • Exam Duration: 130 minutes
  • AWS Solutions Architect Certification Cost: $150

Syllabus:

Domain 1: Design Resilient Architectures

  • 1.1 Design a multi-tier architecture solution
  • 1.2 Design highly available and/or fault-tolerant architectures
  • 1.3Design decoupling mechanisms using AWS services
  • 1.4Choose appropriate resilient storage

Domain 2: Design High-Performing Architectures

  • 2.1 Identify elastic and scalable compute solutions for a workload
  • 2.2 Select high-performance and scalable storage solutions for a workload
  • 2.3 Select high-performing networking solutions for a workload
  • 2.4 Choose high-performing database solutions for a workload

Domain 3: DesignSecure Applications and Architectures

  • 3.1 Design secure access to AWS resources
  • 3.2 Design secure application tiers
  • 3.3 Select appropriate data security options

Domain 4: Design Cost-Optimized Architectures

  • 4.1 Identify cost-effective storage solutions
  • 4.2 Identify cost-effective compute and database services
  • 4.3 Design cost-optimized network architectures

AWS Solutions Architect- Professional

This is an advanced course after Solution Architect-Associate. It intends for those individuals who must evaluate a business's needs and make architectural recommendations for implementing and deploying applications on AWS.

This certification is the advanced level in understanding and being equipped to develop, deploy, or implement any AWS service and make fair use of it, especially specific areas like security and direct connection.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

Exam Details:

  • Prerequisites: You should be a Certified Solutions Architect– Associate to appear for this exam. Along with that, you must possess at least two years of hands-on experience designing and deploying cloud architecture on AWS. 
  • Format: 65 Multiple-choice, multiple-answer
  • Time: 170 minutes
  • AWS Solutions Architect Certification Cost: $300

Syllabus

Domain 1: Design for Organizational Complexity

  • 1.1 Determine cross-account authentication and access strategy for complex organizations (for example, an organization with varying compliance requirements, multiple business units, and varying scalability requirements)
  • 1.2 Determine how to design networks for complex organizations (for example, an organization with varying compliance requirements, multiple business units, and varying scalability requirements)
  • 1.3 Determine how to design a multi-account AWS environment for complex organizations (for example, an organization with varying compliance requirements, multiple business units, and varying scalability requirements)

Domain 2: Design for New Solutions

  • 2.1 Determine security requirements and controls when designing and implementing a solution
  • 2.2 Determine a solution design and implementation strategy to meet reliability requirements
  • 2.3 Determine a solution design to ensure business continuity2.4Determine a solution design to meet performance objectives 
  • 2.5 Determine a deployment strategy to meet business requirements when designing and implementing a solution

Domain 3: Migration Planning

  • 3.1 Select existing workloads and processes for a potential migration to the cloud
  • 3.2 Select migration tools and/or services for new and migrated solutions based on detailed AWS knowledge
  • 3.3 Determine a new cloud architecture for an existing solution
  • 3.4 Determine a strategy for migrating existing on-premises workloads to the cloud

Domain 4: Cost Control

  • 4.1 Select a cost-effective pricing model for a solution
  • 4.2 Determine which controls to design and implement that will ensure cost optimization
  • 4.3 Identify opportunities to reduce cost in an existing solution

Domain 5: Continuous Improvement for Existing Solutions

  • 5.1 Troubleshoot solution architectures
  • 5.2 Determine a strategy to improve an existing solution for operational excellence 
  • 5.3Determine a strategy to improve the reliability of an existing solution
  • 5.4 Determine a strategy to improve the performance of an existing solution
  • 5.5 Determine a strategy to improve the security of an existing solution
  • 5.6 Determine how to improve the deployment of an existing solution

Though we all want to ace the AWS Solutions Architect exam sometimes, we run hard on luck or miss the mark by a few marks. Well, you shouldn't be too disappointed or disheartened by that, as another vital aspect of the AWS Solutions Architect exam is that you can retake the AWS Solutions Architect Exam. As a candidate, you should wait for 14 days before you're eligible to retake the exam. You don't face any limit on exam attempts while you appear until you've cleared the exam. However, for each exam attempt, the full registration price must be paid, which varies from $150-300 plus applicable tax as per the laws. You are advised to go through the AWS website for a detailed retake policy. 

Now you must be wondering how you can retake an AWS Solutions Architect Certification exam? What is the exam fee for reappearing for AWS Solutions Architect Certification exam?

Scheduling an AWS Solutions Architect Certifications is similar to the way you schedule your AWS Certification exam. Follow this comprehensive step by step process on scheduling the exam: 

How to Schedule the AWS Solutions Architect Certification Exam?

Let us show you how you can apply for the exam:

how to apply aws certification

However, you also need first to understand a few basic requirements before you opt to do this course to have a certain level of understanding to reap the best results that add value to your resume. 

How do I Become an AWS Solutions Architect?

Following are some general steps for you to become an AWS Solutions Architect. However, do remember getting a certificate doesn't guarantee a job. Still, it just gives an extra edge over your peers and demonstrates a company that you're eligible to perform on the AWS platform:

1) Enroll with a suitable Offline or Online learning platform to learn the required skills to be a Solution Architect from various options. We recommend that you gain the skills and knowledge from online platforms rather than an offline center or institute. 

  • The reason being, e-learning platforms provide you with the accessibility of time and are often much cheaper and allow you to study when and where it suits you.
  • Connect with Subject Matter Experts as these people have enough experience in performing Solution Architect roles. If not, connect with them on LinkedIn or Slack, or any other group to know their background, challenges, and career prospects.

2) Prepare and Pass the AWS Solutions Architect – Associate Level Exam

  • No doubt this should be your next step to start a career in AWS Solutions Architect – Associate Level Exam, as without it, you will not become a certified AWS Solutions Architect.
  • The exam gives a clear picture of your understanding of AWS Solutions Architect's core concepts and what you can do with it once you start applying for the jobs.
  • When you knock out the exam, you demonstrate your understanding of both practical and theoretical knowledge of the AWS Cloud Architecture that eventually increases your chances of getting lucrative job offers. 

3) Take up Solutions Architect Projects

  • Before you start applying for jobs in your choices, it is advisable to work on different industry projects to gain experience from various industry fields.
  • Doing so will also enable you to volunteer yourself for different work opportunities while working or create your own project and lead a team.
  • Working on different projects also gives you an edge over other candidates. You've already worked in various fields and industries, so you're equipped with the experience or skills required for any project. 

4) Don't just focus on Hard skills; work on Soft skills too

  • Having soft skills isn't mandatory but is a plus point while applying for AWS Solutions Architect jobs to provide you the additional benefit of being a perfect candidate.
  • These skills are communication skills, problem-solving skills, creativity, adaptability skills, and then comes the art of staying relevant to the on-going IT trends.
  • Programming and coding are not prerequisite skills needed to become an AWS Solutions Architect. However, the more, the merrier. If you can understand one programming language like Python, you can comfortably tackle any challenges while developing or deploying in the AWS platform.

Now that you understand what you need to become an AWS Solutions Architect, one of the overarching questions in your mind is how you can crack the exam and land your dream job? Follow the below guide towards achieving your AWS Solutions Architect Certification

Best of luck!

How do I Prepare for the AWS Solution Architect exam?

You already have an idea of the various certification courses that AWS provides and an overview of the course's skills. Now let us tell you how you can ace the AWS Solution Exam and start your career as an AWS Solutions Architect: 

  1. Explore your interests & trending job profiles

Before opting for AWS certifications' vast options, you need to consider your interests and the job profile trends. Many organizations are utilizing AWS service as it is universally available and accessible. However, you need to ensure where your interests lie? Is it deploying, monitoring, or managing the applications in the cloud.  

  1. Study the Exam Pattern & Course

Though AWS provides various resources to learn about the platform services and how they can be used to satisfy frequent use cases. But it can get overwhelming to follow AWS Solutions Architect certification questions and it’s easy to feel lost wondering where to start and what to study. So study the exam pattern and follow the study guide provided by Amazon AWS itself.

  1. Explore the AWS Solutions Architect Certification Page & The Exam Blueprints

This should be your first stop before exploring any other study material or resources. AWS provides detailed insight into various technical domains for each certification and their weighting in the percentage of exam questions. We recommend you go through them thoroughly as this will give you an idea about the course's background knowledge.

  1. Read. Read. AWS Whitepapers

Try to read the recommended AWS whitepapers as much as you can and make detailed notes of them. They will clear your basic foundational understanding of the certificate concepts and make it clear for you to identify gaps in your knowledge. 

  1. Self Study is Good, but Online Course platforms are Great!

Self-study is good, but why not cement your chances of better grasping AWS concepts by reaching out to professionals who have real-time knowledge. Moreover, the study guide or materials that you get from e-learning platforms can be used at your convenience with the additional benefit of having someone identify and fill the gaps in your knowledge and skills.

  1. Take Practice Exams Seriously!

There are several online mock exams for AWS Solutions Architect certification questions. Practice them and identify your strengths and weaknesses in your preparation for the exam. All these online practice exams are representative of the real exam, so it can give you a real-time experience of solving exams with the same challenging questions. You can either purchase them or use them online for free.  

  1. One Exam at a Time!

You should avoid giving exams at one go and instead appear for them every 3-6 months so that when you sit for recertification, you're not burdened with back-to-back exams and can prepare well. 

Conclusion

AWS Solutions Architect builds and implements AWS system architecture that should meet business requirements to function smoothly and earn revenue. The Solutions Architect exam is just like any other exam, all you need to do is prepare hard for them and stay committed to becoming an AWS Solutions Architect.

We hope this blog has provided you with insights into the AWS Solutions Architect Certification, its career path and how you can apply and ace the exam. If you still feel unsure about where you can go about learning these AWS Certifications or which will suit you the best, consider reaching out to e-learning platforms and asking for a demo. They will help you figure out the best AWS Certification course and learning path for you.

We'd like to hear how your journey has been as an AWS Solution Architect. Share if you've got some more tips to crack the AWS Solution Architect exam, it'd be a great help to others!

FAQs

Q1) How much AWS Solutions Architect certification cost?

Ans. AWS Solutions Architect certification exams cost varies depending on whether it's beginners or advanced level. The registration fees for the AWS Solutions Architect Certification cost at the  Associate-level exam is $150, while the Professional-level exam is $300.

Q2) What is the passing score for AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional?

Ans. To become an AWS Certified Solutions Architect-Professional, you need to score 750 or more like a scaled score in the Professional-level exam.

Q3) How many questions on the AWS Solutions Architect exam?

Ans. There are in total 65 multiple-choice questions and you get 130 minutes to answer each of them.

Q4) How much does AWS Solutions Architect earn on average?

Ans. Depending on the experience, job profile, and skills a Solution Architect possesses, an AWS Solution Architect starts earning from $132,500 annually while some of them are even making $200,000 annually.

Q5) How to become an AWS Solutions Architect?

Ans. First, make sure you do possess one year or more experience in working with the AWS platform. It would be best to have a clear understanding of the course modules of the AWS Solutions Architect Certificate. Once you're through it, either purchase the study guide provided by AWS or attend online or offline tutorials to understand the core components better. It would be best to go through the recommended AWS Whitepapers and finally schedule an exam according to your comfort. 

Q6) What is the future scope of AWS Solutions Architect jobs/careers?

Ans. 1264 companies have an urgent requirement of an AWS Solutions Architect. AWS has the highest share in the cloud computing market, which is 32%. Moreover, as a Cloud Platform, AWS has customers all across from over 190 countries with over 1 million users-- which means job opportunities in this field are in abundance. From these facts, the field of AWS looks promising to make a career in.


    Anjali

    With her detailed research and unique insights into IT and Technological trends, Anjali has been producing high-quality and engaging content that meets the standards of its end-users.


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