So, you passed the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam, now what? First, congratulations on your achievement, you’ve taken your first step towards building a career in cloud computing.  If you wanted to gain a high-level understanding of the cloud or to understand the value proposition, you can now feel confident in your knowledge.  There are three distinct routes forward, which is reflected in the three Associate Level Exams.

The most important thing from here on to land a job is to build hands-on projects.  You might be able to pass the certification exams via rote memorization, but employers seek well-rounded problem solvers that can leverage AWS technologies with security, scalability, reliability, cost optimization and performance.  When working on your projects, you will need to solve several of these problems which prepares you for real life scenarios. 

We think that’s you need to identify your current skill level with cloud, your current strengths, and your desired outcome before picking the next exam.  In the comparison below, we discuss each in more detail. 

Certification: AWS Certified Developer Associate 

Ideal Job: Software Engineer, DevOps Engineer, Engineering Manager, Scrum Master, Product Manager 

How to prepare for the exam:  The AWS certification does not test your ability to develop software itself, but, rather, sees how well you understand developer tools, fully managed services, and AWS core services from the perspective of a developer.  You can get away by just reading a lot about AWS services and topics outlined on exam blueprint. 

This certification is for: Software developer who wants to showcase their familiarity of cloud, or for Cloud Systems Engineers to understand more about the Dev part of the DevOps methodology. It is also useful for managers to understand software development environment within AWS.

Certification: SysOps Associate

Ideal Job: AWS Engineer, Cloud or AWS Engineer, DevOps Engineer, Cloud Operations Engineer, Site Reliability Engineer

How to prepare for the exam:  We recommend that you get familiar with the exam using the exam blueprint, and then understand the AWS environment by reading AWS’ whitepaper on the five pillars of well architected framework. This exams tests on scenario based questions and is more difficult to pass via memorization.  We recommend that you do the following: Build a VPC, Deploy an autoscaling group with load balancer , Manage EC2 logs with Cloudwatch logs, Monitor metrics and custom metrics with cloudwatch agent, Understand Cost of services and learn how to optimize cost, Automate small tasks like turning off EC2 at night etc.   

This certification is for: This certification is perfect for those new to cloud or IT to get a job in cloud.  The knowledge tested in this certification exam can help you gain familiarity with AWS and DevOps principles used in the real world. This is also a good certification for sysadmins, help desk analysts and other IT professionals who wish to stay relevant and progress your career in the age of cloud computing

Certification: Solution Architect Associate

Ideal Job: Solution Architect, Cloud Engineer,  Pre-Sales Consultant, Implementation Manager, Technical Architect 

How to prepare for the exam:  The AWS Solution Architect exam tests knowledge of core services, managed services at a great depth.  As with the SysOps exam, we recommend that you get familiar with the exam using the exam blueprint, and then understand the AWS environment by reading AWS’ whitepaper on the five pillars of well architected framework. This exams tests on scenario based questions and is more difficult to pass via memorization.  

This certification is for: people with several years of experience with cloud and cloud-based technologies.  Most Solution Architects are hired by firms who wish to implement large projects, and it is important to have experience with enterprise level technology to succeed in these roles. 

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