Some people are always called upon to fix things. It’s true in families (Hi Mom. Yes, I can fix your computer), and it’s also true in businesses. There are plenty of instances in which people who aren’t necessarily trained for the job might find themselves in charge of a company’s EC2 implementation, for example. If you happen to be one of those lucky individuals—or if you spend most of your day managing AWS instances—you might consider Amazon’s AWS Cloud Computing Certification Program.
Why Get Certified for AWS?
One of the things that many evangelists stress about the cloud is that it’s supposed to be easy to use without dedicated study. The evangelists aren’t wrong, per se, but setting up a cloud is different from running a cloud that supports a plethora of users and customers with five nines’ worth of uptime—which is what the actual business needs. Why should you specifically pursue a certification in AWS, however?
Getting a certification doesn’t need to be like going back to college. Sitting for the Associate Level AWS Certification exam costs $150 USD. Higher levels cost $300. While the exam will test your knowledge, it’s possible to gain that knowledge using free or low-cost resources while keeping a full-time job.
It’s the Only Game in Town
As of December 2016, AWS exceeded the market share of its 10 closest competitors (combined!) by a factor of ten. There is no metric in which AWS doesn’t absolutely dwarf its closest competitors. This dominance is so complete that it’s almost not worth it to become certified in Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud.
People with cloud skills are always in high demand. A majority of companies now find themselves in serious competition when it comes to hiring people with enough cloud skills to keep the lights on—and avoid human error-related shutdowns. Get a cloud certification on your resume, and you could go places. The average AWS Certified Solutions Architect earns more than $125,000 USD per year.
How to Get an AWS Cloud Certification
AWS currently offers three sequential tiers of certification: Associate, Professional and Specialty. You have to achieve a certification within the Associate tier before you go on to the Professional tier, for example. There are three certifications within each tier. Within the starting Associate tier, aspirants can choose:
- Certified Solutions Architect Associate
- Certified Developer Associate
- Certified SysOps Administrator Associate
Which of these should you pick? The first certification focuses on infrastructure and architecture, the second on application development, and the third on systems administration. All three paths are viable, although many applicants choose the Certified Solutions Architect Associate and then specialize from there.
AWS Certification Example Questions
Entrants can pass the 60-question AWS exam and become certified by answering 65% of the questions correctly. While this may seem like a low bar, test-takers note that the questions are designed to cover many if not most of the scenarios that an administrator, developer or sysadmin would face during the course of his or her career. Questions might ask:
- What is Amazon Glacier used for?
(Answer: Data archives, or data that’s infrequently accessed)
- How do you use CloudFront to serve content that’s stored in S3 while keeping the S3 bucket inaccessible to the public?
(Answer: Assign the requisite data to an origin access identity user)
- What metrics does the basic Amazon CloudWatch package provide?
(Answer: Metrics that are visible to the hypervisor)
The internet is full of practice exams and informational material. Start studying, and you’ll be well on your way to a full AWS certification.
Augment Your AWS Certification with Monitoring Tools
Got your AWS certification already? Great! AppNeta helps web administrators get real-time insights into the performance of public cloud implementations such as AWS. With AppNeta, you’ll simplify AWS administration by receiving real-time alerts about application slowdowns, outages, and traffic bottlenecks. You’ll get information that goes above and beyond the default AWS tools—making your certification that much more useful. Try a free demo today.