Which AWS certification should I choose?

Which AWS certification should I choose?

Amazon Web Services provide a cloud computing platform to a large group of companies. The facility includes basic abstract infrastructure and tools. Many organizations are utilizing this service as it is universally available and accessible. In order to shift the tasks and workloads to the cloud, one requires a specific set of skills for deploying, monitoring and managing the applications in the cloud. 

AWS certification course provides an overview of the skills required for this purpose. The certification exam also tests the competency of the candidate and makes it easier for them to gain a position and work for AWS. There are various AWS certifications which can be earned. Wondering which AWS certification is fit for you and you should go ahead with? Here are the available core AWS certifications:

1. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate level

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect exam is designed for candidates interested in working at a high level, in application and architecture design. Candidates who can architect IT solutions and services favoring AWS are the target for this certification path. These candidates possess a strong business and IT background. This allows them to architect IT solutions that give the best results to their clients or organizations.  

An AWS Solutions Architect should have technical skills in planning, architecting and implementing complex IT solutions and services. They usually develop IT architectures using diagrams. These diagrams define the specifications, business/IT models, customer requirements and other guidelines. 

An AWS architect also ensures that IT architecture has the ability to address current and future business needs. To pass the exam, candidates should have some experience in designing distributed applications and systems on the AWS platform. At least 2 years of hands-on experience with the platform before taking the exam is suggested. To be able to pass the exam, aspiring candidates should focus on:

· Creating and deploying resources in AWS. Architecting a solution that will maintain the scalability and availability of these resources.

· Leveraging the correct AWS service that fits the customer’s requirements. Functionality along with cost must be considered.

· Migrating on-premise applications and customer data on AWS. Monitoring and managing the migration tasks and services that Amazon gives.

Preparing for this certification exam may need 2-3 months. Candidates can take advantage of AWS certification training online to start the preparation for this entry-level certification. The AWS Solutions Architect certification exam cost is $150.00.

2. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

The next level of the AWS Solutions Architect path is Professional certification. This certification is to prove the skill of the holder in advanced design concepts.

To pass this AWS certification, you must have a solid understanding of core AWS services like EC2, RDS, and S3. Also, the understanding of how to leverage these core services. These services are for building complex scale and highly available applications on AWS. 

Besides this, expertise in selecting the right AWS service to solve problems and design architecture is also crucial. Other concepts that might be valuable to learn as you prepare for this exam would be:

· Migrations of applications to the cloud, specifically multi-tier applications.

· Strategies and services designed to assist with cost control and cost reduction.

· Best practices for building complex, fault tolerant and reliable applications.

The best way to prepare for Professional certification is to take an AWS certification course. It combines the advanced concepts of AWS with a great deal of live hands-on exposure. The AWS Solutions Architect - Professional certification exam cost is $300.00.

3. AWS Certified Developer – Associate

AWS Certified Developer examination is for individuals who are in a developer role. They must have hands-on experience of more than a year in developing and maintaining AWS applications. This exam is language agnostic. It proves one's expertise with the tools and core services used to code applications on AWS. This exam has a bit of overlap with the AWS certified architect exam. This is because you will need to focus a great deal on the AWS services like EC2, RDS, and S3. Besides core services, this exam will also test your knowledge on the following areas:

· The ability to deploy and debug an application running on AWS

· The ability to use AWS developer tools like the AWS CLI and AWS SDK to develop applications.

· The ability to write code to AWS standards for security and application optimization.

· An understanding of AWS services for developing server-less applications

 The AWS Certified Developer – Associate certification            

This is slowly becoming a popular exam choice for developers. Especially for those, who want to showcase their ability to work within the AWS framework for developing applications. The AWS Certified Developer- Associate certification exam cost is $150.00.

4. AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate

The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate examination

This examination is for individuals who are in a systems administrator or operations role. They must have one or more years of hands-on experience

  • Deploying, 

  • Monitoring and 

  • Managing the operations of AWS applications.

It will prove candidates efficiency with AWS deployment tools, troubleshooting AWS services. Also, best practices for migrating on-premises workloads to AWS. To be able to pass this exam, some key concepts to focus on are:

· An understanding of AWS networking services and how traffic flows through these services.

·  A solid grasp of AWS security and compliance services

· Best practices for managing the operations and deployments of applications on AWS.

The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate certification

This examination is an opportunity for system administrators to show competency in the tools and practices. These tools and practices are needed to help organizations migrate to the cloud. A good AWS certification course will give aspirants the foundational concepts to begin preparing for the exam. The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate certification exam cost is $150.00.

5. AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional

The next level certification for candidates taking both the 

  1. AWS Certified Developer and 

  2. SysOps Administrator paths.

In order, to pass this exam, candidates need to have deep knowledge of AWS. They must also know the advanced techniques used to migrate systems and keep them highly available.  Some of the advanced concepts you should master are:

· AWS services to build deployment pipelines and facilitate continuous delivery of applications on AWS.

· Various services and techniques that introduce automation in the deployment and operational workflow.

· The ability to use tools and services for monitoring, alerting and self-healing of the applications running on AWS.

The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional Certification:

This certification will prove to employers that you have the knowledge to keep mission-critical systems up and running. This skillset is in high demand as more organizations migrate applications to the AWS platform. The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional certification exam cost is $300.00.

Benefits of AWS Certification to Advance in Your Career

Staying relevant with emergent technology-

Cloud technology is the future and AWS is leading the way. AWS certified candidates demonstrate knowledge in trending technology. This should keep their careers relevant for years to come.

Higher salaries for certified individuals -

AWS certified individuals typically command very high salaries. The average salary for an AWS certified professional in over $100k per year.

In demand skill set -

AWS certified individuals have an in-demand skill set that should prove to be valuable when job hunting.

Greater networking opportunities -

AWS certification will give you access to the global community of AWS. It also gives access to the resources available. Many of these resources can help you advance your career.

Investing in yourself -

The biggest career benefit you get from AWS certification is the satisfaction in knowing you invested in yourself. Continuing to invest in yourself is vital in the ever-changing landscape of technology. Continuous learning keeps you sharp. It also helps you to remain adaptable as you move forward in your career.

Any AWS certificate is valid for 3 years. In order to maintain the certification, there is a recertification process offered by AWS. Though the questions asked during the certification exam become more challenging every day, they keep you relevant and valuable in the cloud industry. Also, the passing score for the AWS examination is based on the statistical analysis which may vary for every slot. Run your mind and make a wise choice on which path to choose. 

About The Author

Michelle Small is a certified Amazon Web Services (AWS) professional, technology author and co-founder at RMS Technology Consulting, LLC. She is a leading Amazon Web Services Instructor and Consultant with over 20 years of engineering leadership experience. She regularly conducts training on Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, DevOps, and Agile development and has published 3 books to date on various engineering topics. 

Michelle Small