Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications: Everything you need to know

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If you're thinking about obtaining an Amazon Web Services (AWS) certification, read this quick guide first. We've laid out everything you need to know about the five different AWS certification offerings, along with prices and useful links to give you a better idea of what to expect on the exams.

If you randomly stumbled across this post and your first thought was, Wait, really -- Amazon? You're not alone -- initially, some folks were surprised that Amazon would begin delivering a computing service. However, from a technical perspective, it's not all that odd. Think about it: Amazon already needed a robust set of well-designed internal systems and networks to maintain connectivity and computing flexibility between locations; all the company did was realize that it could sell this unique system as a set of services to other businesses and consumers.

That was the beginning, and now the IT landscape has changed considerably for the better. Thanks to the popularity of Amazon’s Cloud offerings, there’s now a stronger need for experts to help companies choose the best service, how to order it and the best way to utilize it. To keep up, Amazon introduced a number of different Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications to credential those experts. Now, let’s take a look at the current offerings, what they are and how they can be obtained.

AWS certification offerings

Currently there are five different AWS certification offerings in three different tracks. These tracks include Solutions Architect, Developer and SysOps Administrator.

aws certs

The tracks are straightforward, beginning with the Solutions Architect which is focused on designing and building AWS solutions for multiple organizations/clients. Next is the Developer track, focusing on designing, building and/or maintaining applications that integrate with AWS. Finally, the SysOps Administrator track targets design, operations and management of an AWS solution, typically within the same organization.

The exams are offered in  multiple languages, and each uses three different test question formats including:

  • Multiple-Choice: This is the most familiar and involves the selection of one out of four answers that are given for each specific question stem. This includes questions that can be embedded into graphics with point-and-click options.
  • Multiple-Response (aka Multiple-Select): This is similar to multiple-choice but allows you to select multiple correct answers.
  • Sample Directions: This is an extended version of the previous test question types, with the question stem being more detailed.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate

The AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate certification focuses on individuals who will perform junior level solutions architecture tasks. The main content for this certification is highlighted in the exam blueprint, which can be found here. At a high level, the certification is split into four different domains:

  • Designing highly available, cost efficient, fault tolerant, scalable systems (60 percent)
  • Implementation/Deployment (10 percent)
  • Data Security (20 percent)
  • Troubleshooting (10 percent)

Candidates have a total of 80 minutes to complete the exam. A practice exam is available at a cost of $20, while the cost of the main exam is $150.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional

The AWS Certified Solution Architect – Professional certification focuses on individuals who will perform senior level solutions architecture tasks. You can find the main content for this exam in the blueprint here. At a high level, the certification is split into eight different domains:

  • High Availability and Business Continuity (15 percent)
  • Costing (5 percent)
  • Deployment Management (10 percent)
  • Network Design (10 percent)
  • Data Storage (15 percent)
  • Security (20 percent)
  • Scalability & Elasticity (15 percent)
  • Cloud Migration & Hybrid Architecture (10 percent)

Candidates have a total of 170 minutes to complete the exam. You can take a practice exam for $40, and the main exam for $300.

AWS Certified Developer - Associate

The AWS Certified Developer – Associate certification focuses on individuals who will perform junior level development tasks. You can find the exam blueprint here. At a high level, the certification is split into four different domains:

  • AWS Fundamentals (10 percent)
  • Designing and Developing (40 percent)
  • Deploying and Security (30 percent)
  • Debugging (20 percent)

Candidates have a total of 80 minutes to complete the exam. A practice exam is available for $20 while the cost of the main exam is $150.

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate

The AWS Certified SysOps – Associate certification is for individuals who will perform junior level single organization deployment, management and operational tasks. This is highlighted in the exam blueprint here. At a high level, the certification is split into seven different domains:

  • Monitoring and Metrics (15 percent)
  • High Availability (15 percent)
  • Analysis (15 percent)
  • Deployment and Provisioning (15 percent)
  • Data Management (12 percent)
  • Security (15 percent)
  • Networking (13 percent)

Candidates have a total of 80 minutes to complete the exam. You can take a practice exam for $20, and the main exam for $150.

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional

The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional certification focuses on individuals who will perform senior level single organization provisioning, development, deployment, management and operational tasks. This certification is the professional level for both the Developer and SysOps tracks. You can find the exam blueprint here. At a high level, the certification is split into four different domains:

  • Continuous Delivery and Process Automation (55 percent)
  • Monitoring, Metrics, and Logging (20 percent)
  • Security, Governance, and Validation (10 percent)
  • High Availability and Elasticity (15 percent)

Candidates have a total of 170 minutes to complete the exam. Currently, there is no practice exam available for this one; the cost of the main exam is $300.

With Amazon leading in market share of the Cloud infrastructure marketplace (over twice of any competitor) it’s obvious that it will continue playing a large role in the cloud market. This means that if you’re working with Cloud technologies, it’s vital that you’re well versed in Amazon’s offerings. As you can see, the specific area of focus depends greatly on what you’ll be doing – thankfully, Amazon has options across the board.

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Contributor

Sean Wilkins

Sean Wilkins is an accomplished networking consultant who has been in the IT field for more than 20 years, working with several large enterprises. He is a writer for infoDispersion and his educational accomplishments include: a Master’s of Science in Information Technology with a focus in Network Architecture and Design, and a Master’s of Science in Organizational Management. Sean holds certifications with Cisco (CCNP/CCDP), Microsoft (MCSE) and CompTIA (A+ and Network+).