AWS Certification Definition & Meaning

The Amazon Web Services Certification, also referred to as the AWS Certification, is a set of training programs and certifications provided by Amazon for IT professionals and others to prove their proficiency in Amazon Web Services. An exam must be taken to receive a certification and can cost up to $300. The exam requires real-world proficiency and extensive knowledge of specific AWS technologies to pass.

Obtaining the AWS certification validates cloud expertise, which is valuable considering AWS is the provider of choice for public cloud service with over 1 million users. The certification lasts for two years and can be renewed after it expires. Globally, there are hundreds of testing centers for taking the exam. 

Levels of AWS certification

Within AWS, there are 4 levels of the certifications: 

  • Practitioner: The foundation level when starting the certification journey. It’s intended for those who are looking to build and validate overall understanding of the AWS cloud. The exam costs $100. 
  • Associate: Requires more expertise than the Practitioner. One year of experience in solving problems and implementing solutions using the AWS cloud is required. The exam costs $150. 
  • Professional: Requires a comprehensive understanding (a recommended two years) of the many attributes in running, optimizing, and troubleshooting solutions within AWS. It is possible to get this certification first, but it’s recommended to obtain the associate level prior in order to have a base-level knowledge of AWS. The exam costs $300. 
  • Specialty: Hones in on one particular domain within AWS, such as data analytics or machine learning. Requires deep technical knowledge and experience of the particular topic. The exam costs $300. 

AWS certifications offered

AWS offers 12 certifications: one foundational, three associate-level, two professional-level, and six specialty-level certifications. It generally takes 80-120 hours of practicing and studying to prepare for the exam, dependent on previous knowledge. The 12 certifications are: 

  • AWS Certified Cloud – Practitioner
  • AWS Certified Developer – Associate
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
    *Note: new exam version (SAA-C02) as of March 22, 2020
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional
  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Security – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty
  • AWS Certified Database – Specialty 
  • AWS Certified Data Analytics – Specialty
    *Note: (formerly AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty)
  • AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty

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