For Developers

Guide on How to Prepare for AWS Certifications Exam This Year

Preparation for AWS certifications.

Looking around, you are bound to find almost everyone trying to get hands-on experience in cloud computing today. It is truly one of the hottest trends this year. Whether large or small, every organization is dedicated to transforming the entirety of their applications, their legacy systems, and so much more on the cloud to be more efficient with their operations. For the same reason, cloud computing professionals are in a whopping demand right now. AWS certifications are extremely popular and are often considered to be the entry points to the world of cloud computing. This is your bonafide guide to everything you need to know about AWS certification preparations, getting certified, and all the intricacies involved.

Table of contents

- Understanding AWS

- What is AWS certification

- The Certification system

  • The foundational level
  • The associate level
  • The professional level
  • The specialty examination

- Certifications that are in high demand

  • AWS certification preparation - Total time**
  • AWS certification preparation - Cost**

- Significance

- Getting your AWS certification

- Final words

Now, before we get started with AWS certifications, it is important to understand that the cloud is nothing but an entire computer just sitting somewhere around the world.

AWS certification preparation: What is AWS certification?

AWS certification helps IT professionals empower their skills, confidence, and credibility in the arena of cloud computing by providing them with industry-recognized certifications and credentials. The certification helps skilled IT professionals get different certifications as per their skill.

Amazon offers these incredible certifications to IT professionals like architects, developers, operations role managers, cloud practitioners, etc. The certifications are also provided to validate certain advanced skills in different technical areas.

AWS certification preparation: The certification system

The foundational level

Is it usually recommended that the first certification that one opts for should be the foundation level, also known as the CCP or Certified Cloud Practitioner. This certification gives you a broader perspective of what exactly AWS is and what it entails. The foundation certification is probably not going to offer much hands-on experience to you but will give you a brief insight into what it is like to be a salesperson. This way, you can tell what kind of services are available, why they are available, and what exactly they are available for.

Now, can you skip the foundational level, or is it compulsory?

The correct answer is: yes, you can skip the basic levels. It is not compulsory to do the foundational level first, since there is no order in the certification. The experience you gain after this will be more generic and basic.

The associate level

The next level of certification is the Associate Level. This certification will bring you three different categories, the first one will focus on architects, the second will be focused on developers and the third one will be focused on SysOps.

These exams here will not ask you to do anything really in a real-life situation, but will rather give you some MCQs. These MCQs will be entirely based on scenario-based questions, wherein you will be offered a random scenario with four choices, out of which you will be required to pick one that will do the job better than the other three. The wrong choices here can be eliminated first and you can finally deduce the right answer.

If you are looking to opt for the architecture line, the Associate Level exam will focus on designing a resilient system that is easily available and durable at the same time. This way, you are going to be focusing on the infrastructure and its creation.

If you are looking to prepare for the developers' exam here, you will need to prepare for the workflow of a developer and what you should know about as a developer. There are absolutely no programming abilities required for this exam but the developers will orient more about a beanstalk and CI-CD pipeline setups. This is pretty similar to the SysOps exam as well.

All in all, you can prepare for any of these three exams directly. The good news that will not hamper your efforts is that these exams do share major portions of the curriculum with each other. Almost 60% to 70% of the entire curriculum is pretty similar for the three exams.

So, just in case you do prepare for the architecture level exam, you will have some form of experience of what it feels like to also prepare for the developers or the SysOps exam.

The professional level

At the Professional level, AWS will have two different exams. The first exam will be architect, and the second one will be DevOps. Now, these exams are a bit tricky as compared to the other two levels; therefore, it is not recommended that people just walk into the exam directly, without any preparations. Until you have a few years of experience working in a corporation, it is recommended you should not appear for the exam.

The specialty exams

There are a total of five specialty certifications:

  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking
  • AWS Certified Data Analytics
  • AWS Certified Database
  • AWS Certified Machine Learning
  • AWS Certified Security

It is a myth that you need to go through the CCP, then the associate level examinations, then the professional certifications, and then take the specialty exams. However, this is not the truth!

This is not exactly how it works.

All of the examinations and certifications we are talking about here are widened examinations that not all people are taking or have access to. These examinations require an extremely large-scale experience and knowledge, along with hands-on expertise and experience.

So, while people are taking these examinations, in the majority of cases, they are working for companies that are focused more on WebDevs. They are managing databases, EC2s, beanstalk, etc.

So, their area of expertise is something that is limited to that arena. If an organization is working more on machine learning, the entirety of its time much be devoted to the same. This becomes an area of expertise and specialty for rhythm. So, when thinking of picking up the right specialization for gaining an AWS certification under specialty exams, they would probably pick out Machine Learning as theirs.

People can take these specialty exams directly, without having to cross barriers of foundation, associate, and professional levels. The exams can also be taken to enhance one’s knowledge and skills, and of course, credentials.

Just pick out a specialty exam that works for your time and future, and can offer you the necessary in-depth knowledge that you need to know to grow.

AWS certification preparation: Certifications that are in high demand

Across all the levels, the following AWS certification is in high demand:

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect ( Associate level)
  • AWS Certified Developer ( Associate Level)

AWS Certification Preparation - Total Time

As per AWS, getting an overall hands-on experience of at least one year or more before sitting for the examinations is recommended. However, people without this experience can also pass the examination by only studying for the same for at least a month or two.

AWS certification - Cost

AWS Certification Examinations can vary depending on the level and specialty. The cost for different levels of examinations is listed below. These prices are valid for only one attempt. Taxes may also be applicable here.

  • The Foundation Level (Cloud Practitioner) - $100
  • The Associate Level - $150
  • The Professional Level - $300
  • Specialty Exam (per exam) - $300

AWS certification preparation: Significance

An AWS certification will offer you the ability to validate your proficiency when it comes to working with AWS-based cloud services. It is one of the most sought-after certifications today, standing through testing times, and assessing the caliber and skills required in the competitive markets today. The certification offers a unique emphasis on the best practices and a pretty hands-on approach to cloud management, security, and architecture.

Earning an AWS certification is important because:

  • It helps highlight the in-demand skills of IT professionals in the arena of cloud computing
  • It enhances an IT professional’s marketability
  • It offers these professionals robust certifications and credentials backing them up in an industry that is bound to grow manifolds shortly.

AWS certification preparation: Getting your certification

Though there are no definite steps that focus entirely on the AWS certification preparation, the following however are the most straightforward:

Start by selecting your module

The first step to start preparing for your AWS certification exam is to select your module and get enrolled first. You should be enrolled in an AWS training course and select the most appropriate module for yourself.

Review your study material

The next step will be to start reviewing your study material, lessons, and all the guides that will guide you through AWS Certification preparation.

Read all the AWS whitepapers

Another important step here would be to read the different whitepapers, offering significant information about the topics in your module. These whitepapers are known to hold some extremely important information, answering all your questions.

Take practice tests

To successfully clearly understand the concepts and come closer to achieving the AWS certification, you need to practice regularly. Practice tests will help you rid yourself of all the stress involved in the certification exams.

Schedule your final exam

Schedule your final AWS certification examination once you are fully prepared and confident. Usually, the tests can last anywhere from 80-120 hours of practice and study. However, the average time taken can also depend on the overall experience you hold and the module and certification courses you are going to take.

AWS certification preparation: Study plan

Your AWS Certification Study Plan is not enough to get you started. You should be looking in the following directions to prepare yourself for the exam:

  • AWS whitepapers at faws.amazong.com/whitepapers and Kindle.pdf
  • AWS instructor-led, live/virtual 3-days course
  • Identifying the AWS services helping you monitor, automate and manage all your security operations on AWS
  • Different courses are available on online learning platforms, etc.

AWS certification preparation: Final words

AWS certification exams are truly worthwhile, since they actually help you cross all kinds of barriers and gain the skils and credentials that have the ability to take your career to the penultimate level. The exams are truly the hottest thing that has happened to the IT industry. Kickstart your career with these exams and carve a new future for yourself.

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