Author avatar

Parul Saxena

Cloud Certifications: AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder - Specialty

Parul Saxena

  • Jul 8, 2020
  • 12 Min read
  • 578 Views
  • Jul 8, 2020
  • 12 Min read
  • 578 Views
Cloud
Cloud Application Development
Machine Learning and AI
AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder - Specialty AXS-C01

Introduction

AWS Alexa is a cloud-based voice service. It acts as an artificial intelligence assistant for organizations and employees and can assist them in setting up meeting rooms, facilities, etc.. You can also ask Alexa to provide information, answer questions, play music, read the news, and get results or answers instantly. Alexa can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation system.

The AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder-Speciality (AXS-C01) certification is an advanced level of certification designed for IT professionals who want to pursue a career in designing and managing the lifecycle and key operations of Alexa skills. The Alexa Skill Builder learning path is designed for software developers, voice developers, solutions architects, UI developers, voice designers, and others who perform a role involving Alexa skill-building. The AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder - Speciality certification is the final step in this learning path.

This guide will provide resources and tips to help you prepare for the certification exam.

Who the Certification is For

This certification is designed for software developers who have experience in any programming language and have a basic understanding of Alexa skills. Any IT professional looking for a career in voice services can go for this certification.

Prerequisites and Recommended Knowledge

You should have:

  • A knowledge of any programming language.

  • A minimum of six months of hands-on experience building Alexa skills using the Alexa Skills Kit.

You are also expected to have an understanding of the following topics:

  • AWS backend services, i.e., Lambda, DynamoDB, S3
  • IAM roles and policies for Lambda functions
  • Basic understanding of JSON request/response
  • Knowledge of persisting data in a session as well as among sessions
  • Knowledge of the different interaction models and what intents are provided by default
  • Understanding of the Standard Built-in Intents

Skills Validated

This exam validates your ability to manage the complete lifecycle of building and publishing the Amazon Alexa skills by following AWS and Alexa security best practices. The skills validated by the certification are:

  • Explain the value of voice

  • Design a user experience

  • Design the architecture to build a skill

  • Follow AWS and Alexa security best practices for skill development

  • Develop, test, validate, and troubleshoot a skill

  • Manage the skill-publishing process and work with the Alexa Developer Console

  • Manage skill operations and life cycles

Topics Covered

The most important topics and concepts covered in the exam are:

  • AWS Lambda Skills – AWS Lambda is a serverless computing platform that runs code in response to events and automatically manages the computing resources required by that code. The AWS Lambda documentation is a good starting point for beginners. The Pluralsight course AWS Developer: Serverless Architecture and Monitoring provides in-depth knowledge about how to create serverless applications.
  • CloudWatch – CloudWatch is a monitoring service that provides data and actionable insights for AWS, hybrid, and on-premises applications and infrastructure resources. Using AWS Lambda with Amazon CloudWatch Events is a good tutorial for understanding the flow of events and invocation of Lambda functions.
  • S3, EC2 – Amazon S3 is a web service used to store and retrieve objects at any time from anywhere. The Pluralsight course Implementing Amazon S3 Storage on AWS provides thorough knowledge of S3. EC2 is an elastic compute service that allows you to run code. The AWS Compute Deep Dive course from Pluralsight provides deep knowledge of EC2.

  • DynamoDB – DynamoDB is a NOSQL database service that supports key-value and document data structures. The Amazon DynamoDB developer guide is a good starting point for beginners.

  • Alexa Skill design, architecture, and development - I highly recommend that you go through the Alexa Skill Builder Guides thoroughly to get a good understanding of each module in designing and developing skills using the Alexa Skills Kit.

The following table lists the percentage of test questions you are likely to encounter in each domain.

Domain-specific Weightage


Domain

Weightage

Description

Voice-First Design Practices and Capabilities

14%

Decide the type of interaction you want your customers to have with Alexa and follow Voice-Forward Design Considerations to make wise decisions.

Skill Design

24%

Design and develop an interaction model along with multi-turn conversations.

Skill Architecture

14%

Use Amazon services to extend Alexa skill functionality by following security best practices.

Skill Development

20%

Implement state management along with Alexa service interfaces and use SSML for expression and MP3 audio.

Test, Validate, and Troubleshoot

18%

Use CloudWatch or other debugging tools and test simulators to troubleshoot errors in an interaction model.

Publishing, Operations, and Lifecycle Management

10%

Describe the skill publishing process and perform skill analytics analysis in developer the console.

Exam Details

Format

There are three types of questions on the exam:

  1. Multiple-choice: Has one correct response and three incorrect responses.
  2. Multiple-response: Has two or more correct responses out of five or more options.
  3. Unscored Content: Your examination may include unscored items that are placed on the test to gather statistical information. These items are not identified on the form and do not affect your score.

Note: Unanswered questions are scored as incorrect.

Time

You have 170 mins to complete the exam.

Cost

The cost of the certification exam is $300 USD.

Delivery Method

The certification can be taken at a testing Center or scheduled as an online proctored exam.

Test Results

The results are reported as a score between 100 and 1000. The minimum passing score is 750.

The score report will contain a table that breaks down your performance at each section level. This information is designed to provide general feedback for each section. The examination uses a compensatory scoring model, which means that you do not need to “pass” the individual sections; only the overall examination score matters.

Pluralsight Resources

Other Resources

Job Prospects and Compensation

Artificial intelligence smart speakers are a booming technology with a strong upward market trend. The smart speaker market is projected to grow by $23.1 billion worldwide by 2025. Amazon and Google are currently the only smart speaker makers in the world. There aren’t many developers with the combination of expertise in both cloud-based app delivery and developing for voice functionality and user experience. The new Alexa Skill cert is an effort to turn this tide by training and validating more developers in those areas.

According to Forbes, the average salary of an Alexa skill builder is $122,000. However, the salary package depends upon the knowledge and skills of the candidates.

Conclusion

Finally, some tips as you prepare for the exam:

  • Attempt practice tests several times to boost your confidence.

  • Review the AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder Specialty Exam (AXS-C01) Exam Guide a day or two before exam day. This will help you to review the exam topics so none of them is a surprise. You should be well prepared.

  • You should be relaxed and stress-free when you take the exam.

  • Attaining the AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder - Specialty certification will build your competence, confidence, and capability, helping you stand out from the crowd.

All the best and happy learning!

4