What Is An AWS Certification? (With Types And Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Amazon web services (AWS) certifications help IT professionals develop technical skills and learn the best practices required to build and deploy applications on the cloud. It contains various modules related to databases, data analytics, security, advanced networking and machine learning. If you are interested in enhancing your cloud skills and improving your employability, you can consider obtaining an AWS certification. In this article, we discuss the answer to 'What is an AWS certification?', review its various learning paths, look at some of its benefits and find some tips to help you get certified.

What Is An AWS Certification?

The answer to 'What is an AWS certification?' is that it is a certification provided by Amazon that offers courses related to infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and packaged software as a service (SaaS). Obtaining this certification helps professionals gain knowledge of various cloud capabilities and develop technical skills and strategies to build and deploy applications on the cloud. It helps professionals develop scalable, efficient and secure applications that reduce operational costs and meet business objectives.

Related: What Is An AWS Solutions Architect? A Complete Guide

Benefits Of Being AWS Certified

Here are some benefits of obtaining an AWS certification:

  • Provides an opportunity to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and developments

  • Enhances credibility and builds confidence in areas related to cloud services

  • Improves job prospects

  • Provides access to a community of professionals where one can learn, network and share knowledge in areas related to cloud computing

  • Helps professionals build customised solutions for clients based on their requirements

Related: 10 AWS Interview Questions And Answers

Types Of AWS Certifications

AWS offers 11 certifications, which include five core certifications and six speciality certifications. These certifications validate your knowledge and experience as a cloud developer. The learning paths include:

Foundational

This certification validates a basic understanding of AWS cloud services, the benefits of using them, its pricing model and security. This is ideal for candidates who are familiar with basic cloud computing concepts and are looking to expand their skill sets. Topics covered under this certification are:

  • Basics of cloud computing and the global infrastructure of AWS

  • Various use-cases that can leverage AWS capabilities

  • Documentation and technical support

  • Security and compliance aspect of AWS

  • Pricing models, account management and billing

You can consider taking this certification if you have a minimum of six months of experience in technical, managerial, sales or financing roles.

Related: Types Of Cloud Computing (With Definitions And Tips)

Associate

This module validates technical expertise in building and deploying scalable solutions and knowledge of architectural principles and access management. There are two certification levels:

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate

This module provides a broad insight into the AWS cloud, focusing primarily on the Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Identity and Access Management (IAM) and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) services. It helps professionals deploy applications on AWS technologies and develop solutions using architectural principles. The pre-requisites to attempt the exam include:

  • Hands-on experience with storage, databases, computing and networking services

  • Understanding of various services to meet user requirements

Related: What Is A Cloud Architect? And How To Become One

AWS Certified Developer - Associate

This module provides an overview of various AWS services, such as Elastic Beanstalk, DynamoDB, Simple Notification Service (SNS) and Simple Queue Service (SQS). It includes a working knowledge of core AWS architecture and basic AWS services. By obtaining this certification, professionals can also become proficient at developing, deploying and debugging serverless applications in the cloud. The pre-requisites to attempt the exam include:

  • Experience in high-level programming languages such as Python or C++

  • Basic understanding of application lifecycle management

  • Experience using AWS command-line interface (CLI) and AWS software development toolkit (SDK)

Related: What Is An AWS Solutions Architect? A Complete Guide

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate

This module provides professionals with an overview of the deployment, operation and management of applications on the AWS cloud platform. It features various AWS services which help cloud professionals select the right service for a client. They also learn how data flows in and out of the cloud platform. The pre-requisites to attempt the exam include:

  • Understanding of AWS cloud architecture

  • Relation of network technologies with AWS

  • Knowledge of virtualisation

  • Ability to understand and translate architectural requirements

Related: What Is Software As A Service (SaaS)? (Examples And FAQs)

Professional

This module validates technical expertise in building, operating and managing distributed applications on the AWS platform. There are two certification levels:

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional

Professional AWS architects evaluate an organisation's needs and provide recommendations for implementing and deploying applications on AWS. To become a Certified Solutions Architect Professional, you need advanced skills and experience in designing AWS-based solutions. The certification covers areas such as cost optimisation strategies, migration of complex applications in multi-tier architectural design and best practices to follow when designing an architecture for the development and deployment of applications on AWS.

It is essential that a candidate has at least two years of hands-on experience in both designing and deploying applications in the AWS cloud and familiarity with multi-application architectural design.

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional

The DevOps Engineer certification covers provisioning, running and managing AWS applications. It focuses on the design and management of tools that enable the automation of various business operations. The pre-requisites to attempt the exam include:

  • Good understanding of AWS core services

  • Scripting and programming experience

  • Knowledge of Linux or Windows operating systems and AWS command-line interface

Related: What Are The Best Corporate Certifications To Get The Job?

Specialty

This certification contains the following modules:

AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty

This certification validates a candidate's expertise in performing complex networking tasks on AWS and hybrid networks. Professionals who have extensive experience in implementing networking solutions on AWS can benefit from this certification. The pre-requisites to attempt the exam include:

  • Knowledge of advanced networking concepts such as IP virtual private network (VPN), multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) and virtual private LAN service (VPLS)

  • Familiarity with the development of automation tools

  • Knowledge of design, implementation and optimisation of routing architectures and connectivity solutions

  • Proficiency using AWS technology, AWS security best practices, AWS networking modules, storage options and integration of these services in an application

AWS Certified Security - Specialty

This certification demonstrates proficiency in ensuring data and workload safety in the AWS Cloud. The exam evaluates your AWS knowledge in areas such as data protection and encryption, network security, incident management, access control and log management. The pre-requisites to attempt the exam include:

  • A minimum of five years' experience in designing and implementing security solutions and knowledge of AWS workloads

  • Proficiency in log management, patch management, cloud security threat models and security automation

  • Understanding of cost, security and deployment complexities when hosting applications in the cloud

AWS Certified Machine Learning - Specialty

This certification demonstrates proficiency in developing, implementing, and maintaining machine learning solutions in a variety of business contexts. Data scientists and machine learning (ML) engineers can benefit from obtaining this certification. The pre-requisites to attempt the exam include:

  • A minimum of two years' experience in building, optimising and deploying ML or deep learning models in the cloud

  • Proficiency in hyper parameter tuning and model optimisation

  • In-depth knowledge of neural net frameworks and architecture

  • Knowledge of best practices while developing, training and deploying models

AWS Certified Database - Specialty

This certification demonstrates an understanding of all AWS database services, including the integration and design of databases, to enhance business performance. Professionals who work extensively with databases can benefit from obtaining this certification. The topics included in this certification are database design, database security, deployment and maintenance and monitoring and troubleshooting. The pre-requisites to attempt the exam include:

  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner or an Associate-level AWS Certification

  • Five years of experience with AWS database solutions and complex database processes.

Related: What Is ETL? (Definition, Importance And Prominent Uses)

AWS Certified Data Analytics - Specialty

This certification demonstrates an understanding of data analytics and experience in using AWS services to design and implement big data applications. The module covers areas such as designing, maintaining and visualising data, tools for automating data analytics and best practices to follow when designing an architecture for big data applications. The pre-requisites to attempt the exam include:

  • Five years' experience using common data analytics tools

  • Hands-on experience and expertise in designing, developing, securing and maintaining analytics solutions using AWS services

  • Understanding various AWS data analytics services and how they relate to one another

Tips To Get AWS Certified

Here are some tips that you may find helpful:

  • Enrol in a training class. You can consider enrolling in training classes that help you learn in-demand cloud skills and concepts related to your certification exam. You can also benefit from group discussions and collaborating with other individuals during these sessions.

  • Review exam guides. Exam guides provide detailed information related to various certification levels. It also contains more information on the knowledge, skills and concepts assessed by each exam, general IT knowledge and guidance on how you can interpret the test results.

  • Read AWS white paper. The document describes various AWS services in detail. It also provides a detailed description of AWS cloud architecture, various frameworks and how AWS pricing works.

  • Practice. Make notes on important concepts as you prepare for certification exams. Prepare by taking various online practice exams that help you get acquainted with the exam pattern and the type of questions to expect.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article is associated with Indeed.

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