Can Anyone do AWS Certification?
AWS certifications are a great way to earn yourself some credibility and remain up to date with current trends in the web services market. From the outside looking in, AWS can seem complicated, but by doing just a little bit of research I realized that an AWS certification is actually quite achievable!
Can anyone do AWS certification? Yes, anyone who is over the age of 13 can do AWS certification. People between the age of 13 and 17 must have the permission of a parent or guardian in order to get certified. There are no prerequisites (other than age) for taking the foundational level AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam.
Getting an AWS certification is something that anyone can do. And it is something that a lot of people should consider doing! Any certification can give you an edge when you’re applying for a job or going after a promotion at work. If you still aren’t sure what AWS is or what the benefits of an AWS certification are, keep reading to find out more!
An Overview of AWS certifications
There are currently 11 different types of AWS certifications. The 11 certifications are divided into four tiers. The first tier – the foundational tier – consists of the most basic AWS certification: the cloud practitioner certification.
From there you can move on to the associate tier which includes 3 different certifications: Solutions Architect, Developer, and the SysOps Administrator.
The third tier is the Professional tier. At this level you can take the Solutions Architect and DevOps Engineer certifications.
Lastly you can explore specialty options. There are five different specialty AWS certifications: Advanced Networking, Big Data, Security, Machine Learning, and Alexa Skill Builder.
The 11 AWS certifications:
- AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate)
- AWS Certified Developer (Associate)
- AWS Certified SysOps Administrator (Associate)
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Professional)
- AWS Certified DevOps Engineer (Professional)
- AWS Certified Advanced Networking (Specialty)
- AWS Certified Big Data (Specialty)
- AWS Certified Security (Specialty)
- AWS Certified Machine Learning (Specialty)
- AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder (Specialty)
How to get AWS certified
Now that you know what the AWS certification options are, let’s take a look at how to get yourself certified. In order to be granted an AWS certification you will need to take an exam.
Each of the 11 AWS certifications has its own exam. You would start with the foundational AWS certified cloud practitioner exam and then progress from there according to your own interests.
Amazon also offers AWS course that go along with the exams. For example, you can take an online 4.5-hour AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials course. The course is designed to prepare you for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam.
If you already work in the field of AWS, you can probably pass the exam without taking the course. But the course can be useful as it will teach you how to function as a professional in the cloud practitioner field and keep you up to speed on industry standards.
6 months of AWS Cloud and industry knowledge + AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam
1 year of AWS Cloud experience (solving problems and implementing solutions) + AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Exam OR AWS Certified Developer – Associate Exam OR AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate Exam
2 years of comprehensive AWS Cloud experience (designing, operating, troubleshooting solutions) + AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional OR AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional
Technical AWS Cloud experience (performing complex networking tasks) + AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty Exam
2 years of experience performing complex Big Data analyses using AWS technology + AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty Exam
2 years of experience securing AWS workloads + AWS Certified Security – Specialty Exam
Relevant experience in a development or data science role (design, implement, deploy, maintain machine learning solutions) + AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty Exam
Relevant experience as an Alexa skill builder (build, test, publish Amazon Alexa skills) + AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty Exam
How much does an AWS Certification cost?
Cost certainly factors into the question of who can do AWS certification. Luckily, the cost is not too exorbitant. Exam prices range from 100 to 300 USD and practice exam prices range from 20 to 40 USD. Here is the cost breakdown:
Foundational certification: 100 USD
Practice exam: 20 USD
Associate certification: 150 USD
Practice exam: 20 USD
Professional certification: 300 USD
Practice exam: 40 USD
Specialty certification: 300 USD
Practice exam (not available for all specialties): 40 USD
What kind of job can I get with an AWS certification?
There is a huge variety of jobs in the AWS field. But it is also easy to find a specialized niche that allows you to exercise your best skills and talents. An AWS certification can open the door to jobs in categories such as:
- Software development
- IT/Support engineering
- Account management
- Business and merchant development
- Systems, quality, and security engineering
- Machine learning science
Some examples I came across while browsing the AWS job page on Amazon were:
- Network Technician, AWS
- Technical Evangelist
- Cloud Application Architect/Developer
- AI/MI cloud consultant – professional services
- Software Development Engineer
- Solution Architect
- Cloud Migration Specialist
- And many more!
At the time this article was written, there were over 11,000 jobs posted on the AWS job page. I’m not trying to say that simply getting an AWS certification will guarantee you a job. But the certification program can certainly help put you on the path to finding a job in the field!
An overview of AWS
The first thing you need to know is that AWS stands for Amazon Web Services. That’s right, Amazon! AWS is a subsidiary of Amazon. Which further proves that Amazon is seriously taking over the world! (well, at least the internet).
In the simplest terms, AWS is a global cloud platform. The purpose of AWS is to allow people (or businesses or companies) to use the services provided by AWS to run applications on the cloud. In other words, AWS is an API and cloud computing platform provider.
AWS helps their users host and manage services in a way that allows users to avoid some of the cost and workload that would typically come with hosting and managing services.
AWS can be broken down into the following categories:
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS):
In this context, infrastructure can be thought of as a physical or virtual machine that provides the computing infrastructure. AWS provides their own servers as an infrastructure service, meaning that they take responsibility for backing up the service and providing a power supply to the service. In other words, the main purpose of IaaS is server storage network. Infrastructure and network architects work with IaaS.
Some examples of IaaS are Amazon EC2, Rackspace, and Windows Azure
Platform as a service (PaaS):
Here, platform might include an operating system, database, programming language execution environment, storage or a web server. The PaaS allows you to deploy applications that do the work of managing and running the infrastructure for you. Most of the platforms run using a variety of different languages such as Java, Ruby, or PHP.
Examples of PaaS are Heroku (Ruby) and AWS Elastic Beanstalk (Java, .Net, PHP, Ruby, Node.js, Python, and more)
Software as a service (SaaS):
The premise of SaaS is to act as a third-party provider that hosts applications. Customers can then access these applications over the internet. This means that customers can save themselves a lot of money because they don’t need to purchase the software outright. Instead, they can use SaaS on a monthly basis according to their needs.
Examples of SaaS are email sending capabilities like SES, queuing services like sqs, Oracle, Intuit, and Microsoft.
Cloud storage platform:
Cloud storage platforms provide a way for users to store their digital data without having to own any physical storage space themselves. AWS provides users with various cloud storage options such as EBS and S3
AWS Fun Facts:
- Almost 80% of Fortune 500 companies use AWS to host their infrastructure
- AWS is the top choice for anyone who wants to do anything on the cloud – mainly due to its transparent and logical billing process
- All you need to sign up for AWS is an email address and a credit card
- AWS has had only 5 major (regional) outages in the last 8 years
- AWS is recognized throughout the industry as a “trusted vendor”
- There are 22 different AWS operational regions around the world
- At any given time, you are less than 1,000 miles away from an AWS region
- An AWS data center can have between 300,000 to 500,000 servers!
- AWS currently has 64 different services
- Netflix, NASA, and Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign are/were AWS customers
Popular services on AWS:
- Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud)
- Amazon VPC (Virtual Private Cloud)
- Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service)
- Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service)
- AWS IAM (Identity and Access Management)
- Amazon Elastic Beanstalk
- AWS Auto Scaling
- Amazon EBS (Elastic Block Store)
- Amazon CloudFront
- Amazon SNS (Simple Notification Service)