Companies are moving away from setting up their own infrastructure and towards the cloud, opening up opportunities for specialties from developers to database and network specialists who understand the cloud.
Big enterprises rely heavily on network infrastructure to handle security and data privacy for their clients. This has created a need for network specialists who understand and specialize in building cloud networks. And there's no better way to prove yourself to potential clients than to be certified by Amazon Web Services (AWS).
According to Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), AWS is the most popular public cloud infrastructure platform, comprising 41.5% of application workloads in the public cloud.
Let's look at what it takes to complete the AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty certification and become an AWS certified Cloud Networking Specialist.
The AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty certification is intended for individuals who want to validate their advanced networking technical skills and experience in designing and implementing AWS and hybrid IT network architectures at scale.
When it comes to certifications, AWS no longer has prerequisites. You can jump into any of the certification exams that you feel comfortable completing without having completed any prior exams. That means you can skip the Cloud Practitioner certification or the associate certifications before taking this cert. However, it's recommended that you hold the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner or a current associate-level certification: AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate, AWS Certified Developer - Associate, or AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate.
If you haven't been working with the AWS Cloud environment that long, you can still prepare using the on-demand lectures provided by AWS Learning and hands-on practice.
The advanced networking specialty examination will test your skills in the following domains:
For designing hybrid IT networks, you will be tested on implementing connectivity for hybrid IT, including using your network design skills to derive solutions for specific scenarios. You will also be tested on extending connectivity using AWS Direct Connect and designing solutions that leverage AWS Direct Connect, as well as defining route policies for hybrid IT infrastructures. You need to pay close attention to Direct Connect (DX), VGW, and BGP routing. This domain will comprise about 23% of the total questions on the exam.
In the designing and implementing networks section, you will be tested on applying AWS networking concepts to define network architectures for a given set of customer requirements. You will also be tested on optimizing existing network architectures and defining requirements for specialized network workloads. You need to have a good understanding of VPC networks, Route53, DHCP, and CIDR. You will encounter an average of 29% of the questions in this domain.
Next, we have automating AWS tasks. Here, you will be tested on evaluating different automation techniques for AWS network deployments, as well as evaluating tool-based solutions for managing network operations. You will need to identify parts of deployments that can be automated, and your skills in creating and understanding automation templates will be tested. For this domain, you need to pay close attention to CloudFormation. Here you will encounter the fewest questions at about 8% of the total.
The integrating networks with the application services domain will test your skills in integrating applications that are behind private VPC to AWS application services. You will encounter questions about VPC endpoints and peering, as well as connecting your on-premises application using Virtual Private Networks and Direct Connect. The domain has a question share of 15%.
For security and compliance, you will be tested on your skills in evaluating design requirements for a set of security and compliance objectives, as well as evaluating monitoring strategies to support security and compliance objectives. You will also be tested on AWS security features for managing network traffic and utilizing encryption technologies for securing network communications. This topic will contain an average of 12% of the total questions.
And finally, we have troubleshooting and monitoring. Here you need to know how to find and resolve network issues. Your testing will be based on a scenario with issues that you will need to troubleshoot and resolve. You will also need to know how to use CloudWatch to monitor your resources for errors and resource usage to identify possible bottlenecks, improve performance, and reduce cost. This topic will comprise an average of 13% of the questions on this examination .
Want to get started? There is no time like the present, and Pluralsight has got you covered.
Before you get into Advanced Networking - Specialty specific resources, I suggest that you first check out prior certification exams like the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA-C02), AWS Certified Developer – Associate (DVA-C01), and AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate (SOA-C01). Even if you don't plan to take these certifications, the exams will help you integrate networks with application services and gain in-depth knowledge of different services and their integration for the Advanced Networking - Specialty cert.
Next, I highly recommend that you complete the AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty (ANS-C00) learning path. This path contains carefully selected video courses put together to help you successfully complete the AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty certification.
Pluralsight has also created labs to help you practice the skills you need to obtain this certification.
You can expand your technical understanding of AWS Services with white papers written by the AWS team, independent analysts, and AWS partners. They will help you understand how to build optimized, resilient cloud-based networks.
For AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty certification preparation, go through the following white papers:
Once you have gone through these resources, I suggest you take the online readiness exam provided by AWS to test your skills before your exam. The free digital training for AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty can be found here.
You can also take a practice exam if you feel unsure and want to test it first without having to pay the full price. You can register for a practice exam here.
Once you obtain this certification, your potential compensation will still depend on years of experience, the country in which you are working, and your employer. But for a cloud networking specialist with a proven track record, including having the AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty certification, the average yearly salary is $120,000, which will increase with your experience.
With almost all organizations moving to the cloud, AWS certified network specialists are very much in demand. By validating your skills by acquiring this certification, you will increase your chances of gaining employment quickly with competitive compensation packages.
The AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty certification will prepare you to create, design, and maintain network architectures for all AWS services, as well as leverage tools to automate AWS networking tasks.
This is considered one of the most difficult certifications as it requires deep networking knowledge and a broad understanding of different AWS services.
If you have already completed other certifications, such as AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA-C02), AWS Certified Developer – Associate (DVA-C01), or AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate (SOA-C01), that will increase your chances of earning this certification since you already have knowledge of other AWS services and AWS practices and can focus on the networking part of the certification. If that is the case, I suggest you take the online readiness exam provided by AWS to test your skills to see where you are and which areas you need to improve. This way, you can spend the time on the resources that matter. The free digital training for AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty can be found here.
Since AWS no longer requires you to complete previous exams before moving to the next level, you can go ahead and dive right into this exam preparation.
Using the available Pluralsight courses and some hands-on practice for different services, you can be on your way to becoming a certified AWS Networking Specialist.