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AWS Certifications: What to Know and Where to Start

Posted on October 29, 2022 by

Categories: AWS


AWS is a subject that is exceedingly difficult to understand, especially when it comes to certifications. Where should you begin if you are new to AWS (or using the cloud in general)? And what information is necessary for success?

11 AWS certificates are presently available, ranging from core credentials to specialised areas including security, data analytics, and machine learning:

Remember that these certifications are divided into separate categories that rise in difficulty based on your AWS, cloud, and general IT sector experience:

Core: According to Amazon, this certification “represents six months of fundamental AWS Cloud and industry knowledge.”

Associate: According to Amazon, this position requires “one year of experience addressing issues and executing solutions utilising the AWS Cloud.” The Associate category has three subcategories: Architect, Operations, and Developer.

Professional: “Two years of in-depth expertise in developing, running, and debugging solutions utilising the AWS Cloud” (Amazon, again). The graphic below illustrates how professional credentials fall into two groups: DevOps and an architect. In other words, be ready to become an expert on databases in the context of AWS.

These AWS credentials have a focus on certain topics including Alexa, machine learning, and data analytics.

Depending on your interests, earning these credentials can help engineers in the long run, particularly if they wish to work for companies that use AWS either entirely or mostly.

What Should Come First

The variety of AWS certifications might initially be rather intimidating, but starting with AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner lets novices cover a lot of important content, according to Mattias Andersson, senior community training architect at Pluralsight.

According to him, the AWS Solutions Architect (associate level) and Certified Cloud Practitioner credentials offer the knowledge base for whatever choices technicians could have to make throughout their AWS-related careers. People don’t necessarily have to choose a whole course straight away, he noted. “They can begin with Cloud Practitioner or, if they’re feeling very ambitious, the Solutions Architect associate, and go from there. They aren’t wasting any time or effort by starting that way, and it’s a really useful start.

Consider your prior experience with cloud platforms before pursuing AWS certification, advises Mike Saccotelli, director of solution development at SPR Consulting: “Many of the exams recommend one or two years of experience in the certification space, so if there is any experience that can be leveraged, you’ll already have a head start.”

If you don’t have a baseline to draw from, think about if you might be able to contribute in other technical areas. For instance, the AWS Developer certification path is probably a suitable place to start if standard web development and software engineering are your primary skill sets.

One of the database, data analytics, or machine learning pathways “may be your better possibilities if your background is more data-oriented,” Saccotelli continued. “The SysOps Administrator or DevOps Engineer is definitely a smart place to start if you have more experience with operational parts of your firm.”

According to Saccotelli, the Machine Learning, Data Analytics, and Security tracks will likely see the most growth in the future: “Aligning a certification track toward those high-demand areas would be a good bet for 2022 and beyond,” he said. “Both inside and outside the AWS ecosystem, those skills are growing in demand and in need.”

Competitive Benefit

As firms quickly assemble IT teams specialised to these expertise, Andersson also mentioned qualifications in database or data analytics as well as the AWS certification for machine learning as providing a competitive edge.

Every corporation needs data analysts to provide business insight,. Otherswill build on AI and ML research to sift through all that data to use it in ways teople couldn’t truly accomplish manually, he added. Although there are a lot of opportunities in the cloud, data is at the centre of many of the very promising occupations that individuals could be considering.

A solid organisational concept is to get certified in what you already know, according to Saccotelli, who said that the purpose of obtaining any certification is to authenticate and verify proficiency in what you already know. “Once you can build a base in what you already know, it will open up opportunities for you to go into other parts of the platform,” she said.

One piece of advice: Think of these credentials as stepping stones toward a higher certification level centred on cloud architecture. You may conceive, construct, and create comprehensive solutions inside the platform if you work toward a thorough grasp of the platform’s features, according to the speaker.

Keep in mind that these exams might be challenging at times; it’s necessary to study and train, but don’t give up if it takes some time to make progress. While it is possible to become certified without having actual experience using these tools, Saccotelli stated that doing so will make certification much simpler since you will have a better understanding of how the various products interact with one another. “In conclusion, don’t give up; choose a direction, hustle, and connect with people who share your objectives. There are many people who work in study groups, and they succeed considerably more than others who try to earn their certification on their own.

Andersson concurred, pointing out that there are several occasions when people might benefit from their personal experiences when learning new technologies. The most crucial step, in his opinion, is to just begin. “Stop trying to know everything out in advance; doing so will just postpone the value you could be creating. Even if you’re not entirely certain that your progress is in the proper direction, keep going after you’ve begun. Any time you are learning anything new, it is always beneficial.

Costs and Documentation

As you might anticipate, Amazon provides a tonne of documentation related to their tests. There are other expenses to consider: The AWS Cloud Practitioner certification costs $100, and practise examinations are available for $20 each.

The final exam for the Solutions Architect, SysOps Administrator, and Developer certifications costs $150, plus $20 for practise tests. DevOps Engineer and Professional Solutions Architect credentials from Amazon cost $300 for the exam and $40 for study materials. Each AWS specialty costs $300, with an additional $40 for practise tests.