What AWS certification is right for you

Which AWS certification is right for your team?

Amazon Web Services is a cloud platform offering more than 165 services from data centers all over the globe used by start-ups, big corporations, individuals, and government agencies. AWS offers certification as virtual badge of honor, literally. However, there are many ways to break up the types of certification you can receive which is why it’s important to pick the one best matching you.

Below is a quick breakdown of the AWS tiers before going into them in more detail in categories.

Tiers

    • Ranging from, in order of most basic to advanced; Foundational, Associate and Professional.
    • Separate Specialty category as well in a wide range of topics, these are seen as add-ons for higher level certified individuals.

Categories

    • Cloud Practitioner, only category in Foundational tier. Designed to cover a candidate’s overall knowledge of AWS. Six months of general AWS experience in any role (IT, manager, sales etc.) is recommended.
        • Areas covered in certification test: Understanding basic AWS architectural principles, the value proposition of AWS, key AWS cases and uses, and basic security and compliance.
    • Architect, specific category certification for this available at Associate and Professional tiers. At least one year of experience designing applications and systems on AWS.
        • Areas covered in certification test: Network technologies and how they work in AWS, how AWS-based apps work and how client interfaces connect to AWS network, deploying hybrid systems, and design of highly scalable systems.
    • Developer, specific category certification for this available at Associate and Professional tiers. At least one year experience of developing applications on AWS i.e. developing the code for an application that will use AWS within your custom application.
        • Areas covered in certification test: Understand basic architecture of AWS, hands-on experience designing, developing, deploying, and maintaining applications. Working knowledge of applications that utilize key AWS services such as AWS databases, notifications, and workflow services.
    • Operations, specific category certification for this available at Associate and Professional tiers. At least one year experience creating automated and repeatable deployments of applications, networks, and systems on AWS.
        • Areas covered on certification test: Deploying applications to AWS platform, sending and receiving data between data centers and AWS, selecting appropriate AWS services to meet an organization’s needs, and provisioning/managing/securing systems in AWS environment.

Specialty Categories

As mentioned above AWS offers specialty categories that aren’t tiered like the main three categories. They are recommended for experienced AWS users, previously certified users, or experts on the subject outside AWS.

    • Big Data, specialty category for those with a background in data analytics and experience using AWS services for designing and architecting big data solutions.
    • Advanced Networking, specialty category for those with experience in performing complex networking tasks on AWS and hybrid IT network architecture.
    • Security, specialty category for those with experience in best practices, fundamentals, data encryption/protection both inside and outside of AWS.
    • Alexa Skill Builder, specialty category for those with previous Alexa skill builder experience.
    • Machine Learning, specialty category for those with a background or expertise in development or data science role, and AWS machine learning/deep learning.

Hopefully with this knowledge you and your team can figure out what’s best and most suitable for you to become certified in AWS. After that, make sure to check out our blog on need-to-knows for registering for certification tests.


About the author: Parker Abena, a summer marketing intern at OpenSesame, is a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He looks forward to moving out to PNW after school.