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This content is part of the Essential Guide: Pave a lasting AWS career path
Definition

AWS certification

Contributor(s): Kevin Ferguson, Tim Culverhouse

AWS certification is a level of Amazon Web Services cloud expertise that an IT professional obtains after passing one or more exams the public cloud provider offers.

IT pros gain AWS certifications to demonstrate and validate technical cloud knowledge and skills. AWS provides different certification exams for cloud engineers, administrators and architects. AWS certification lasts for two years, and IT pros can recertify their specific certification after it expires. There are hundreds of testing centers around the world in which to take the exams.

Types of AWS certifications

AWS offers six different certifications, grouped into four main paths -- Cloud Practitioner, Architect, Developer, and Operations -- and additional subpaths. There is also a Specialty Path, divided into five subpaths.

Cloud Practitioner Path

This certification path is intended for individuals who are looking to build and validate overall understanding of the AWS cloud. This path is useful for individuals in technical, managerial, sales, purchasing or financial roles who work with the AWS cloud.

Architect Path

This path is designed for solutions architects, solution design engineers and anyone who wants to learn how to design applications and systems on AWS. There are two architect subpaths:

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect -- Associate: For this certification level, the student must demonstrate knowledge of how to design, manage and distribute applications in conjunction with AWS tools. These IT pros must be able to design and deploy highly available and scalable systems in AWS, as well as proper security, disaster recovery (DR) and troubleshooting concepts. The certification recommends IT pros have one year or more of hands-on experience designing and deploying highly available and fault-tolerant AWS systems.
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect -- Professional: For this certification level, it's a prerequisite to complete the Associate-level AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification exam and have two years or more experience designing and deploying of AWS cloud architectures. IT pros must demonstrate knowledge of complex AWS applications, including how to move applications to AWS, optimize AWS architecture for an enterprise and apply application design best practices.

Developer Path

This certification is designed for software developers who want to learn how to develop cloud applications on AWS. There are two developer subpaths:

  • AWS Certified Developer -- Associate: IT pros must prove code-level knowledge for AWS application design, development and maintenance, along with a thorough knowledge of the AWS architecture. The certification recommends having one year-plus of experience in maintaining AWS-based applications.
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer -- Professional: This certification requires that applicants compete the Associate-level AWS Certified Developer or AWS Certified SysOps Administrator certification exams and have two or more years of experience provisioning and managing AWS architectures. Students must comprehend specific concepts involving continuous deployment (CD) and automation of AWS processes and know how to implement them into AWS architectures.

Operations Path

There are two subpaths are designed for sysops administrators, systems administrators and those in a DevOps role who want to learn how to create automatable and repeatable deployments of applications, networks and systems on the AWS platform.  

  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator -- Associate: Provide knowledge of deployment and operations related to AWS architecture and services, including application deployment and data migration; students also possess basic system administrator skills in security, provisioning and systems management. The certification recommends one year or more of experience with AWS system operations. 
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer -- Professional: This certification requires that applicants compete the Associate-level AWS Certified Developer or AWS Certified SysOps Administrator certification exams and have two or more years of experience provisioning and managing AWS architectures. Students must comprehend specific concepts involving continuous deployment (CD) and automation of AWS processes and know how to implement them into AWS architectures.

Specialty Path

AWS also offers five specialty certifications in technical areas. The five subpaths are:

  • AWS Certified Big Data -- Specialty: Requires at least one Associate-level certification, five years of data analytics experience and a background in AWS big data tools and architecture design. Students must confirm technical and experiential skills regarding big data architecture design, implementation and automation using AWS tools and best practices.
  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking -- Specialty: Requires at least one Associate-level certification, five years of data analytics experience and a background in AWS networking. Students must demonstrate an advanced knowledge in network architecture across all AWS tools and services; automation of network processes; and knowledge to design, develop and deploy services in the AWS cloud.
  • AWS Certified Security -- Specialty: AWS Certified Security is intended for individuals who perform a security role with at least two years of hands-on experience securing AWS workloads. Certificate holders can demonstrate:
    • Knowledge of specialized data classifications and AWS data protection mechanisms
    • Understanding of data encryption methods and AWS mechanisms to implement them
    • Knowledge of secure Internet protocols and AWS mechanisms to implement them
    • A working knowledge of AWS security services and features of services to provide a secure production environment
    • Competency gained from two or more years of production deployment experience using AWS security services and features
    • Ability to make tradeoff decisions with regard to cost, security and deployment complexity given a set of application requirements
    • Understanding of security operations and risk
  • AWS Certified Machine Learning -- Specialty: Developers, data scientists, data platform engineers and business decision makers can use this training to learn how to apply machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), and deep learning to their businesses unlocking new insights and value. 
  • AWS Certified Alexa Skill Building -- Specialty: Certification is intended for individuals who perform a role as an Alexa skill builder. It validates a candidate’s ability to build, test and publish Amazon Alexa skills. Certificate holders are expected to be able to:
    • Explain the value of voice
    • Design the user experience (UX)
    • Design the architecture to build the skill
    • Follow AWS and Alexa security best practices for the skill
    • Develop, test, validate and troubleshoot the skill
    • Manage the skill-publishing process and work with the Alexa Developer Console
    • Manage skill operations and life cycles

Time commitment for AWS certification

The format for Associate, Professional and Specialty certification exams vary, but each features multiple choice, multiple response and sample direction questions. An AWS professional monitors each timed exam. Associate-level exams last 80 minutes while Professional and Specialty exams last 170 minutes. Exam questions focus on commonly used AWS tools, services and concepts. AWS uses a statistical analysis of an exam to determine the passing score, which varies per test and is subject to change.

After completing the exam, AWS certification results post within 72 hours under the test taker's AWS Certification Account. IT professionals who achieve a passing score receive an e-certificate and access to specific AWS-certified logos and badges for personal and professional use. IT pros who fail the test can retake it two weeks later.  

AWS provides practice exams, self-paced labs, sample questions and other study materials for a fee. Many third-party companies also offer instructor-led AWS certification-prep training.

How to become certified

Associate-level exams focus on the following AWS areas, but expand on tools and services related to the exam's specific content:

Professional-level exams focus on these AWS areas and have a larger focus on multi-group AWS tools and services:

Costs

As of this writing, an Associate-level exam registration costs $150; Professional- and Specialty-level exam registrations each cost $300. Each registration fee counts for one AWS certification exam.

Learn about which AWS certification to choose in the video below:

This was last updated in August 2019

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Which AWS certification is the most important to obtain in enterprise IT?
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working as IT help desk engineer,which course need to do ??
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Which AWS certificate is most important & demanded?
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Hi, I'm working as system administrator in Windows, VMware. I am interested AWS. Please suggest me a suitable certification.
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Best AWS Course !
lernerspoint.com
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I want to do Level 1 AWS certification . can anyone suggest  me what should i go through
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Hi Team,

I am new to aws and to learn for my future IT Career.Which aws certification is better for me.

Thanks,
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Hi ,

I am database developer. i want to learn AWS but i don't have know of cloud etc. how should i proceed. can you please help me with list to courses  or road map which i should do.
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Hi, 
I supported Computer hardware for more than 6-7 years and have no much knowledge on networking. Can anybody please tell me whether I will be able join AWS or do I need to take up some basic networking course as a prerequisites.
Thanks,
 
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I am new  to AWS services and I want to do certification.What certification do I need to do in order to enhance my skills
Thanks in Advance
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