AWS is a beast of a platform that needs extensive knowledge of application deployment and cloud management. At last count, AWS had well over 100 services, and new ones are attached regularly. Each service has its jargon, own GUI, and own CLI command set. Mastery of any AWS service first needs a firm understanding of the basics. Without knowing VPCs, regions, AZs, and security groups, you are settled before even making started. Studying and repeating facts will only take you so far. If you are looking to get certified in AWS, you want to know your stuff. Let’s go through each AWS certification level, compare some opinions, and try to provide you a precise description of how difficult AWS exams are.
Where to Start?
First of all, if you are studying to get certified in AWS, congratulations! You have taken one of the fastest moving technologies in the world with incredible potential.
There are presently 9 AWS certifications that you can take. Based on your current experience with IT and Cloud Computing in general, you will need to begin with the Cloud Practitioner certification, although, if you are comfortable, you can skip it and jump into the Solutions Architect – Associate cert right away if you wish.
Rank AWS certifications as follows, from least to most difficult:
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
AWS Certified Security – Specialty
AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty
AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty
Foundational: Entry-Level Should Be Easiest
The first level on the AWS certification steps is Foundational, which carries the Certified Cloud Practitioner certification. The exam tests the basics plus the given responsibility model, billing and account management, and support options.
AWS recommends six months of experience with AWS in any function whether it is technical, managerial, sales, purchasing, or financial. That is a good indicator for who should take this exam anyone with covering in the game. Not just engineers.
If you are an IT engineer with years of networking experience, This exam won’t be too hard. There might be few new concepts, but everything correlates to something you already know. You might be itching to jump ahead to the Associate level. However, the consent is to master the basics first with this Foundational certification.
Maybe you’re in your first IT role, and AWS certification is an excellent place to start. Expect lots of new material. Go through the element, set up a free tier AWS account to practice. You’ll get up to speed pretty quick.
Not in IT, You have prepared an upward battle no doubt. The good news is while there is a lot to understand, the material can run equal to positions in sales, finance, management, and more.
If you are brand new to AWS, you will require to put in the time to learn the minutiae of AWS to fare well. But if you have puttered in cloud technologies and AWS (even in a free tier), this will presumably be the most straightforward certification on this list for you to earn.
Associate: Don’t Stop In Blind
The following AWS certification level is the Associate which contains certifications in Solutions Architect, Developer, and SysOps. This is possible, as there are no requirements for Associate tests. Get set to start taking from the firehose, though.
Those who have sat for Associate exams suggest the same two things use every resource you can find and practice on the AWS console.
Be able to set up a study plan for yourself. Set aside a part of the time to study. Use each resource you can find, including videos, labs, practice tests, and particularly the AWS white papers. The white papers can get a little hard and reliable, but they are essential.
The exam questions go far into specifics, and the answers are not always straightforward. Many AWS test takers have come to some headscratchers. Most of the answer choices might be technically correct, but there is one that is, well, more correct.
AWS Associate-level exams are difficult because they cover a LOT of ground. Test takers who fail once report questions about completely different services the second time around. This shows just how broad the testing objectives can be, so don’t rely on one source of study material.
Associate-level AWS certification is where you take your first step moving cloud specialty. It’s the most common AWS certification, so there are some study materials available. This one is not going to be a walk in the park even if you put in hours of studying.
Professional: Hard for a Cause
If Associate is tough, AWS Professional certifications are tough times 10. In a way, it is more of the same, just next level. The Professional level exams are constructed around a much higher level of experience and intuition. We are well past beginning from scratch. You not only have to know but also remember how to use AWS products and services.
Test takers report exiting testing centers with test injury from the beating they suffered. You only have 170 minutes to get into a question-heavy exam. There are long walls of text grammar out multiple projects supported by questions about intricate technical details. You will then see answers that are all technically correct.
Professional-level exams are tough because you demand to be able to incorporate answers and draw conclusions based on your knowledge and experience. It is less about knowing tools although this is still important. AWS Professional certifications validate that you know how to use tools effectively.
Specialty: Expert Certification Verify Master Knowledge
While ending with the Specialty certifications, they are not indeed the hardest to earn. If the Associate and Professional exams are broad and deep, Specialty tests are narrow but ultra deep. Many say they are harder than Associate tests, but it is all related to your experience.
The situations for Security, Big Data, and Networking Specialty certification are all system in nature. You will have to work your way through them soon to complete the exams on time. Specialty exams will start your knowledge and experience to the limit.
Considering the narrow, broad skill set that comes with any Specialty certification, there is not much in terms of advertised review conversing to the difficulty of any of the three exams. But based on the study materials AWS gives for this level of certification, there are some things we can expect.
Earning your Networking Specialty certification will come with knowing routing architectures, multi-region solutions, and connectivity practices inside and out. Walking into the Big Data Specialty exam should mean that you understand precisely where AWS can fit into your data’s lifecycle. If you’re a security guru, thoroughly versed in things like ACLs, KMS, and Cloudtrail, you will have a distinct time with the Security Speciality test than most people. Still, demand to cover a lot of ground and walk out of your test exhausted.
Specialty is technically the highest level of AWS certification, and each Specialty exam is sturdy for its purposes. But generally, folks who are considering sitting for Specialty exams do not go into any exam blind. They promptly have experience and knowledge in the Specialty exam they’re lying for. That said, you will presumably want at least 3-5 years of experience in whichever specialty you’re aiming for.
They Are All Tough
Every AWS certification level can be hard. These certifications contain a lot of value in the market. Keeping any of them validates a certain level of experience with the platform, which can be a significant aid to your career.
As AWS keeps growing and controlling the cloud platform space, the demand for experienced engineers will increase. Nothing will make you stand out of the pack more than an AWS certification no matter the level.
The recognized toughness of any AWS certification is only relative and is dependent on your personal AWS knowledge and experience. So train up, and try for AWS-certified greatness.
Tips for Exam Day
Find a time that works for you. So try to book exams in a suitable period.
Determine yourself. Professional exams had about 80 questions each. With only 170 minutes to finish the exam, you have a little more than 2 minutes per question. Any of the questions were very long, so look for keywords in both the questions and the answers.
You should have very sound knowledge about the maximum of the AWS services.
Focus more on VPC service. This is a must for passing the exam. You can expect many questions on the concepts of VPC.
Once you have covered the necessary services, read through RDS and DynamoDB. When you are reading that, understand how it is working instead of looking at the individual implementations.
Have hands-on experience with the AWS services. Externally previous knowledge, it would be hard to understand the concepts and answer the exams. The professional level exams are very tough, and all the questions are situation based. But you have real-time experience, and you will not be able to answer the questions.
Sound knowledge and concepts of failure recovery, security, and High availability architectures.
Reading white papers is required. The most critical white paper is security services.