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Cloud Certifications: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

Jun 30, 2020 • 12 Minute Read

Introduction Cloud services integration and architect development are skills integral to developing a modern app. The adoption of cloud services is a de-facto standard in the IT industry. AWS is the most popular cloud services provider; it is constantly evolving and the ability to work with AWS is considered one of the prominent skills in the IT industry.

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification is intended to provide fundamental knowledge of AWS infrastructure to build and validate the basics of AWS apps.

This guide covers the important details of the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification and provides tips and recommended resources.

Certification Objective

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification is designed for its applicants to learn about the AWS platform from scratch. The objectives of this certification are:

  • Introduction to AWS cloud infrastructure at a global level
  • An overview of AWS services with compliance
  • Basics of AWS design and architectural principles
  • AWS billing structure and support documentation

This certification will allow you to fill the communication gaps between developers, management, and clients. Furthermore, it serves as a foundation towards achieving AWS Architect, Developer, and Operations certifications.

Course Curriculum

The course curriculum of the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification can be put into four categories:

  • **Cloud - ** Introduction to cloud computing: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.
  • **Services - ** This includes the following services:
    • Computing and data processing (EC2, Lambda) to manage virtual machines and event-driven computation
    • File Storage (S3) to store and access objects efficiently
    • Networking (VPC, Route 53) to configure networks and routing
    • Database to store SQL (RDS) and NoSQL (DynamoDB, SimpleDB) data
    • Notification (SNS) services for portable devices like cell phones
    • Message (SQS) storage and transfer service for communication and process management
    • Others: Time Sync for accurate current time and CloudFormation to automate work, etc.
  • **Security - ** Shared Security Model, Compliance and Artifact, Web Application Firewall(WAF), Inspector, Trust Advisor, CloudTrail, Cloud Watch, Identity and Access Management (IAM) services
  • **Billing - ** The pricing and billing structure of different services as per usage, quota, and plans

Amazon provides a one-year free subscription plan for practice and learning, though it requires credit or debit card details to confirm your identity. Students and educators can also take advantage of the AWS Educate program.

Prerequisites and Recommended Skills

There is no prerequisite for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification, though there are some recommended skills:

  • **Basic Terminology - ** Every field has jargon, so it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with basic terms and technologies to escalate the learning process. Follow the AWS glossary that provides short explanations about AWS and IT-specific terminologies.
  • **Tools - ** Learning tools and technologies like terminal/command-prompt and OS services (processing, privileges, file system, etc.) can be quite helpful in understanding the concepts of AWS implementation and development.
  • **AWS Fundamentals - ** AWS Fundamentals is a collection of AWS core concepts to build scalable apps with best practices.

Certification Process Details

The final stage of the certification process is the exam. The crucial attributes of the exam are:

  • **Format - ** The exam is comprised of multiple-choice questions, and answers can have multiple correct choices. Marks are only given if only the correct choice(s) are selected.

  • **Scores - ** The criteria for passing scores is set by using statistical analysis and is subject to change. Points are not given for incorrect answers.

  • **Method - ** The exam can be taken online (proctored exam) or given at a physical test center provided by PSI or Pearson VUE. The benefit of opting for a physical test center is the opportunity to grow your professional network.

For an online proctored exam, applicants must be able to speak English to communicate with a proctor, who will monitor the testing environment. Online proctoring exams are not available for candidates in mainland China, Japan, Slovenia, or South Korea. More details are available here. You can find additional information about system requirements and policies here.

Due to COVID-19, test delivery providers have released strict guidelines for safety measures. Follow PSI guidelines here and Pearson VUE guidelines here for testing center availability and safety measures.

  • **Time - ** The duration of the exam is 90 minutes, though it could vary in the future depending on the content.

  • **Charges - ** There is a one-time fee of $100 for an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam.

  • **Beta Program - ** Amazon has a beta program for certification with changes to the exam’s outline or new certifications. Early access is available to a limited number of candidates (on a first-come, first-served basis) who can take the beta exam as well as the stable exam once it’s out of beta. This allows applicants to take the exam twice without any additional fee. The beta program also provides the benefit of 50% off of the standard exam pricing.

  • **Attempts - ** There is only one chance to clear the exam, though there is an option of a practice exam with an additional fee of $20.

  • **Additional Details - ** The exam can be rescheduled up to 24 hours before the scheduled exam time; otherwise there will be no refund and the next exam can be scheduled only after 24 hours. In case of unsuccessful attempts, the next exam can be scheduled after 14 days with the same fee, though you can use vouchers to retake the exam.

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification is valid for three years. The certificates will be available within five working days after a positive exam result.

Details about content and pricing vary, so make sure to verify it here.

Job Market

The AWS Cloud Practitioner qualifies you to apply for the jobs that have cloud knowledge as a required or preferred skill. It is useful for people from technical, managerial, sales, or finance fields who want to grow into their role for growth or better opportunities. It is highly recommended for people who want to join the cloud industry with the ability to clearly and concisely communicate with technical and non-technical stakeholders across all levels of the organization.

There are numerous jobs available in the IT industry that have AWS knowledge listed as a preferred skill, such as:

Compensation is relative to the desired skills as per the industry. According to LinkedIn, the average annual salary for an AWS software engineer is US$108,000. Basic knowledge of AWS cloud can significantly increase your chances of getting placed into the cloud market.

Certification Path

AWS offers various certifications to build a career in the cloud market as an expert.

AWS also offers certifications in specific fields like networking, Security, machine learning, data analysis, Alexa skills, databases and much more.

There are no prerequisites so anyone can proceed without having any prior AWS certifications, even for professional certifications. You can find guides like this one that cover information on other certifications here.

Pluralsight Resources

Pluralsight offers a curated learning path specifically designed for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C01) certification that includes:

Pluralsight’s Role IQ is also a great resource to measure your skill level.

Other Resources

Below is a list of other helpful resources for practice and insights.

Study Material




  • Prepare yourself with the mock tests and follow the updated study material.
  • Dedicate a specific time slot to each question for effective time management and read all options carefully to find the most optimal answer.

This guide explained the necessary details for you to get started with AWS platform and Cloud Practitioner certification. Good luck with your certification.