From Developer to AWS Cloud Specialist - The AWS Certification Learning Paths Explained

From Developer to Cloud Specialist: The AWS Certification Learning Path
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Avantika Monnappa

Published on February 4, 2016


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The Value of an AWS Certification

It is globally known that to earn an AWS certification implies the higher level of qualification of experience in an employer’s and peer’s eyes and increase an organization’s proficiency with applications that are AWS-based.
However, there is another benefit that has remained in the dark up until now. The results from the 2015 IT Skills and Salary Survey that was conducted by Widows Pro and Global Knowledge shows that the average pay for four of the AWS certifications has exceeded $100,000.

 

Scale your cloud skills and gain expertise in AWS platform with our wide-range of AWS Certification courses.



While it isn’t guaranteed that a certification does not necessarily equal to a six-figure salary, it couldn’t hurt to get one!

The certifications of AWS are programs that are role based. They are designed specifically for developers, solution architects, and system operations administrators. Within each role is defined an entry role, an intermediate role or the associate level, and the expert or the professional level. While it isn’t compulsory to have training before attempting one of these exams, it is highly recommended.



The AWS Learning Path


With data and information collected from our wide base of qualified trainers, we give you learning paths that could walk you down the path to becoming an AWS rock star.
 

Developer/Sys Ops Admin


If you are a Developer or a Systems Operations Admin or aspiring to get into this role, this is what your possible learning path should be.

Dev/Sys Ops Admin learning path


Entry Level – The AWS Tech Essential Certification


An Overview of this Certification

With this certification, you are introduced to all the AWS services, products, and common solutions to rigorous exercises and hands-on experience. IT technical end users are given the fundamentals to becoming more capable and competent in identifying services by AWS to make informed decisions about the IT solutions based on the business requirements.

This certification stands as help to individuals who emerge from a non-technical background.

Who is the course for?

This course is for those individuals who:

  • Are responsible for the articulation of the technical benefits of the AWS services
  • Are new to AWS
  • SysOps Developers and Administrators who have an interest in learning and using the AWS services.

The Prerequisites of this course

There are no prerequisites for this course. Since it is an entry level course, there are no defined prerequisites.

The Objectives of this course

With this course an individual will learn to:

  • Recognize terminology and concepts as they relate to the AWS platform
  • Navigate the AWS Management Console
  • Understand the security measures AWS provides
  • Differentiate AWS Storage options and create an Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) bucket
  • Recognize AWS Compute and Networking options and use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS)
  • Describe Managed Services and Database options
  • Use Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) to launch an application
  • Identify Deployment and Management Options

 

Intermediate Level: Developer Associate OR Systems Operations Associate

Depending on which area of expertise you want to excel in, you can choose the Developer Associate or Systems Operations Associate


The AWS Certified Developer – Associate


An Overview of this certification

With the AWS Certified Developer Associate certification, expertise in technical areas such as the development and maintenance of applications on the AWS platform is validated.

Who should do this course? (Prerequisites)

Candidates who wish to take up this course should have:

  • 1 + years of hands-on experience in maintaining and designing AWS-based applications
  • An in-depth knowledge of 1 or more high-level programming language
  • An understanding of the core AWS uses, services, and basic architecture best practices
  • A proficiency in developing, designing, and deploying any cloud-based solution with use of AWS
  • Experience in the development and maintenance of applications that are written for Amazon Simple Storage Service, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Simple Queue Service, Amazon Simple Notification Service, Amazon Simple Workflow Service, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and AWS CloudFormation.


A Brief Overview of the Exam

  • A practice exam registration fee of $20 USD
  • An exam registration fee of $150 USD
  • Multiple choice questions
  • A time duration of 80 minutes to complete the exam
  • The exam is available in Chinese, English, and Japanese

 
The skills you should possess

Before taking up this exam, there are a few skills to possess:

AWS Knowledge and Experience
 

  • Professional experience using AWS technology.
  • Hands-on experience in programming with AWS APIs.
  • Understanding of AWS security best practices.
  • Understanding of automation and AWS deployment tools.
  • Understanding of storage options and their underlying consistency models.
  • Excellent understanding of at least one AWS SDK.


General IT Knowledge and Experience
 

  • Understanding of stateless and loosely coupled distributed applications.
  • Familiarity developing with RESTful API interfaces.
  • Basic understanding of relational and non-relational databases.
  • Familiarity with messaging and queuing services.


Salary Prospects

The average salary of an AWS Certified Developer Associate is $137,825.
 

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate


An Overview of this Certification

With training and a credential in the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate, expertise in technical areas such as management, deployment, and operations on the AWS platform are validated.

Who should do this course? (Prerequisites)

Aspiring candidates will be eligible for this course only if they fulfill the given criteria:

  • Candidates must have 1+ years of experience in the operation of AWS-based applications.
  • Candidates must have experience in operating, provisioning, and maintaining the systems that run on AWS.
  • Candidates must have the ability to identify and acquire requirements to define a solution to build and operate on AWS.
  • Candidates must possess the capabilities to provide the AWS deployment and operations guidelines and best practices throughout the lifecycle of a project.

 
A Brief Overview of the Exam
 

  • The registration fee for this exam is $150 USD.
  • The practice exam registration fee is $20 USD
  • The exam is available in Chinese, English, and Brazilian Portuguese.
  • It is a multiple choice based question with a time duration of 80 minutes.


The skills you should possess

Before taking up this exam, there are a few skills to possess:


AWS Knowledge
 

  • At least one year of hands-on experience with the AWS platform.
  • Professional experience managing/operating production systems on AWS.
  • A firm grasp of AWS seven principles for architecting for the cloud.
  • Hands-on experience with the AWS CLI and SDKs/API tools.
  • Understanding of network technologies as they relate to AWS.
  • Good grasp of fundamental security concepts with hands-on experience implementing security controls and compliance requirements.


General IT Knowledge
 

  • One to two years of experience as a systems administrator in a systems operations role.
  • Understanding of virtualization technology.
  • Experience monitoring and auditing systems.
  • Knowledge of networking concepts (DNS, TCP/IP, and firewalls).
  • Ability to collaborate with developers and the business team across your organization.


Salary Prospects

The average salary of an AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate is $108,046 per annum.
 

Expert Level – The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional


An Overview of the Certification

With the AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional certification technical expertise in operations, provisioning, and management of distributed application systems on the AWS platform are validated.

Who should do this course? (Prerequisites)

Before taking the course, candidates need to meet a few prerequisites, after which they can take up the exam:

  • Candidates must have attained the AWS Certified Developer – Associate or the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate credentials.
  • Candidates must have 2+ years of experience in operations, provisioning, and the management of AWS environments.
  • Candidates must be experienced in developing codes in at least 1 high-level programming language.
  • Candidates must be experienced in automation and testing via programming/ scripting.
  • Candidates must have an understanding of agile and the other development processes and methodologies.


A Brief Overview of the Exam
 

  • The exam registration fee is $300 USD
  • The exam is available in English
  • It is a multiple choice question-based paper with 170 minutes to complete the paper.


The skills you should possess

Before taking up this exam, there are a few skills to possess:


AWS Knowledge and Experience
 

  • AWS services: compute and networking, storage and content delivery, database, analytics, application services, and deployment and management.
  • At least two years of hands-on experience with production of AWS systems.
  • Effective use of Auto Scaling.
  • Monitoring and logging.
  • AWS security features and best practices.
  • Design of self-healing and fault-tolerant services.
  • Techniques and strategies for maintaining high availability.


General IT Knowledge and Experience

  • Networking concepts.
  • Strong system administration (Linux/UNIX or Windows).
  • Strong scripting skill set.
  • Multitier architectures: load balancers, caching, web servers, application servers, databases, and networking.
  • Templates and other configurable items to enable automation.
  • Deployment tools and techniques in a distributed environment.
  • Basic monitoring techniques in a dynamic environment.

 

Solutions Architect


If you are a Solutions Architect or aspiring to get into this role, this is what your possible learning path should be.

Solutions Architect Learning Path


Entry Level – The AWS Tech Essential Certification


An Overview of this Certification

With this certification, you are introduced to all the AWS services, products, and common solutions, with rigorous exercises and hands-on experience. IT technical end users are given the fundamentals to becoming more capable and competent in identifying services by AWS to make informed decisions about the IT solutions based on the business requirements.

This certification stands as help to individuals who emerge from a non-technical background.

Who is the course for?

This course is for those individuals who:

  • Are responsible for the articulation of the technical benefits of the AWS services
  • Are new to AWS
  • SysOps Developers and Administrators who have an interest in learning and using the AWS services.


The Prerequisites of this course

There are no prerequisites for this course. Since it is an entry level course, there are no defined prerequisites.

The Objectives of this course

With this course an individual will learn to:

  • Recognize terminology and concepts as they relate to the AWS platform
  • Navigate the AWS Management Console
  • Understand the security measures AWS provides
  • Differentiate AWS Storage options and create an Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) bucket
  • Recognize AWS Compute and Networking options and use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS)
  • Describe Managed Services and Database options
  • Use Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) to launch an application
  • Identify Deployment and Management Options

 

Intermediate Level - AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate


An Overview of this Certification

This certification is intended for those individuals who have experience in designing distributed systems and applications on the AWS platform.

Who should do this course? (Prerequisites)

Before taking up this certification, candidates must meet certain criteria:

  • Candidates must have 1+ years of experience in designing cost-efficient, available, scalable, and fault-tolerant distributed systems on AWS.
  • Candidates must possess an in-depth knowledge of one or more high-level programming language.
  • Candidates must have the ability to identify and define the requirements for an application that is AWS-based.
  • Candidates must have experience in deploying hybrid systems with on-premises and AWS components.
  • Candidates must possess the capability to provide the best practices for the building of a secure and reliable applications on the AWS platform.


A Brief Overview of the Exam
 

  • The registration fee for the exam is $150 USD
  • The practice exam registration fee is $20 USD
  • The exam is available in 8 languages - English, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese
  • It is a multiple choice based question paper with 80 minutes to complete.


The Skills to Possess

Before taking up this exam, there are a few skills to possess:


AWS Knowledge
 

  • Hands-on experience using computer, networking, storage, and database AWS services.
  • Professional experience architecting large-scale distributed systems.
  • Understanding of Elasticity and Scalability concepts.
  • Understanding of network technologies as they relate to AWS.
  • A good understanding of all security features and tools that AWS provides and how they relate to traditional services.
  • A strong understanding of how to interact with AWS (AWS SDK, AWS API, Command Line Interface, AWS CloudFormation).
  • Hands-on experience with AWS deployment and management services.


General IT Knowledge
 

  • Excellent understanding of typical multitier architectures: web servers (Apache, Nginx, IIS), caching, application
  • RDBMS (MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server), NoSQL.
  • On servers, and load balancers.
  • Knowledge of message queuing and Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).
  • Familiarity with loose coupling and stateless systems.
  • Understanding of different consistency models in distributed systems.
  • Experience with CDN and performance concepts.
  • Network experience with route tables, access control lists, firewalls, NAT, HTTP, DNS, IP and OSI Network.
  • Knowledge of RESTful Web Services, XML, JSON.
  • Familiarity with the software development lifecycle.
  • Work experience with information and application security, including public key encryption, SSH, access credentials and X.509 certificates.


Salary Prospects

The average annual salary of an AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate, is $114,935.


Expert Level - AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional


An Overview of this Certification

With the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional credential, advanced technical skills, and experience in designing distributed systems and applications on the AWS platform are validated.

Who should do this course? (Prerequisites)

Candidates who wish to take up this course should have:

  • The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate credential
  • 2+ years of experience in designing and deploying cloud architecture on AWS
  • The ability to evaluate requirements of the cloud application and make architectural recommendations for deployment, implementation, and the provisioning of applications on AWS
  • The capabilities to provide the best practices guidance on the architectural design across multiple projects, applications, or the enterprise

A Brief Overview of the Exam
 

  • The registration fee for the exam is $300 USD
  • The practice exam registration fee is $40 USD
  • The exam is available in Japanese and English
  • The paper is multiple choice based with a time duration of 170 minutes


The Skills to Possess

Before taking up this exam, there are a few skills to possess:


AWS Knowledge and Experience

  • AWS core services, including Compute and Networking, Storage and CDN, Database, Application Services, Deployment, and Management.
  • Security features that AWS provides and best practices.
  • Ability to design and implement for elasticity and scalability.
  • Network technologies as they relate to AWS Networking, including DNS and load balancing, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and AWS Direct Connect.
  • Storage and archival options.
  • State management.
  • Database and replication methodologies.
  • Self-healing techniques and fault-tolerant services.
  • Disaster recovery and failover strategies.
  • Application migration plans to AWS.
  • Network connectivity options.
  • Deployment and management.


General IT Knowledge and Experience
 

  • Large-scale distributed systems architecture.
  • Eventual consistency.
  • Relational and non-relational databases.
  • Multitier architectures: load balancers, caching, web servers, application servers, networking, and databases.
  • Loose coupling and stateless systems.
  • Content delivery networks.
  • System performance tuning.
  • Networking concepts, including routing tables, access control lists, firewalls, NAT, HTTP, DNS, TCP/IP and OSI model.
  • RESTful Web Services, XML, JSON.
  • One or more software development models.
  • Information and application security concepts, including public key encryption, remote access, access credentials and certificate-based authentication.


Salary Prospects

The average annual salary of an AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional, is $117,434.


Salary Prospects for the AWS Certified

A Forbes article reports that there are 3.9 million jobs in the U.S. affiliated with cloud computing today with 384,478 in IT alone.

Cloud computing jobs


The median salary for IT professionals with cloud computing experience is $90,950 and the median salary for positions that pay over $100,000 a year is $116,950.

Globally, there are 18,239,258 cloud computing jobs.

Cloud computing jobs


Conclusion

With these learning paths to help you, you have a clear and sure shot at success in your field.

So get out there are get certified, today!

We would like to hear your views and opinions too, so go ahead – Leave your comments in the section below. 

About the Author

A project management and digital marketing knowledge manager at Simplilearn, Avantika’s area of interest is project design and analysis for digital marketing, data science, and analytics companies. With a degree in journalism, she also covers the latest trends in the industry, and is a passionate writer.


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