A Step by Step Guide on How to Get an AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Certification

AWS Certified Solutins Architect

Cloud computing has stopped being a business luxury. Businesses today center their core competencies around cloud networks and processing data on cloud servers. Several big names in the tech industry, such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are investing heavily in cloud platforms. Amazon Web Services (AWS) tries to bridge the gap between the demand and supply of experienced cloud professionals.

Even though certifications have always been, at best, dubious in their efficacy, their merit can’t be written off easily. When every company relies on certifications to a certain extent, you know that it is important to have the right certification. AWS continues to be one of the most sought-after certifications for cloud architecture.

Ever since its launch in 2004, AWS has quickly become the industry trendsetter for cloud architecture and computing. According to AWS(1), ‘The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam validates technical expertise in designing and deploying scalable, highly available, and fault-tolerant systems on AWS.’ Business benefit from having reliable computing technology that can be scaled as per the business requirements by saving on expenditure for planning and getting IT infrastructure like servers in advance.

From a professional perspective, AWS has high worth, which makes it one of the must-have certifications in the cloud computing industry.

Is This Certification Right for You?

AWS Solutions Architect Certification is intended for individuals who have experience working as a solutions architect. According to the certification’s web page, AWS Solutions Architect Exam is for those who have at least a year’s, or more, worth of experience creating reliable, scalable, sustainable, and fault-tolerant distributed systems in AWS.

Most people get confused about whether to get this certification or not. AWS offers so many different types of certifications. Some people wonder whether practical experience is enough, or they also need to get educational training. The answer to all those questions depends on whether advanced training is required in the field you’re in. AWS certifications help you stay ahead of the competition, offering a well-paid job.

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What are the Eligibility Criteria for Attempting an AWS Certified Solutions Architect exam?

While there are no specific prerequisites, Amazon suggests that individuals have the following knowledge and experience.

  • Experience in computing, networking, storing, and using AWS servers and databases
  • Experience in deploying and managing AWS servers
  • Experience in identifying and creating technical requirements needed for AWS-based applications.
  • Experience in identifying business needs and suggesting the appropriate AWS service
  • Experience in deploying best practices for building secure, scalable, and reliable applications on the AWS platform
  • Experience in using basic architectural principles for building on the cloud
  • An understanding of global AWS infrastructure
  • An understanding of network technologies related to AWS
  • An understanding of the tools and security that AWS provides and their relationship with the technical services.

The basic eligibility criteria are that an individual should be a solutions architect already, working on distributed systems before attempting the AWS solutions architect exam.

What is the Certification Process for AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate?

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam has intermediate level difficulty. It requires either 4 hours of classroom training or 2 hours of online, digital training. The course itself is available in multiple languages. The exam itself is available in English, Japanese, Korean, and simplified Chinese. After completing the classroom training process, you’ll take the test either at a testing center or through a proctored online exam. You will have 130 minutes to complete the exam. The questions themselves are multiple-choice and multiple answers. The pass percentage is extremely high, at 72%.

If you fail the exam, you must wait a mandatory 14 days before taking up the exam again. This exam can be taken 3 times a year from the date of your first attempt. Apart from the classroom training, you’ll need to prepare on your own. With a full-time job and other commitments, this certification takes approximately 2 months to complete. If you’re completely new to this, then you must expect to put in about 3 months of preparation to be fully equipped to attempt the exam.

What are the Levels or Modules in AWS Solutions Architect Certification?

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam is a standalone exam. However, the nomenclature ‘Associate’ doesn’t just apply to a solutions architect. It also applies to DevOps Engineers. There are three tiers in this certification.

  • Foundation – Requires 6 months of AWS cloud experience and industry knowledge.
  • Associate – Requires 1 year of experience in implementing solutions and solving problems using the AWS cloud.
  • Professional – Requires 2 years of comprehensive experience designing, operating, and troubleshooting solutions using AWS Cloud.

Previously, Amazon had examination prerequisites where you needed to pass the previous exam before attempting the exam you wanted. However, they have since removed it(2), offering more flexibility. So, you can take any exam that you want, depending on your experience, knowledge, and job requirements. This includes taking exams for specializations as well.

What is the AWS Certification Cost?

The cost of the AWS Solutions Architect exam is 150 USD. If you want to attempt the AWS solutions architect practice exam as well, you need to pay 20 USD additionally. If you fail the exam, you need to wait 14 days before you can retake it, and you can do so 3 times a year. But each time you appear for the exam, you have to pay 150 USD for the exam.

What are the Benefits of AWS Solutions Architect Training?

This certification is in high demand(3). There are several benefits to doing this certification. Some of them are

  • There is a high demand for AWS certified solution architects. Even though Microsoft is in the race, providing certifications, AWS has 3 times the market share of Microsoft. AWS also has high industrial growth that is anticipated to continue well into the second decade of the 21st century.
  • AWS solutions architect training has significant benefits in terms of pay. The average increase in the pay for professionals who have completed this certification is 26%
  • Certifications provide a competitive edge for you as a professional. This certification requires considerable time and money investment. If you’re changing your job, your career, or moving up, having this certification shows your commitment towards your work.
  • Compared to similar certifications offered by other providers, AWS is relatively easy. Its questions are mostly centered around cloud architecture. This fits in perfectly when you have a full-time job and other commitments.

What is the AWS Certified Solutions Architects Salary?

The average salary for an AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate is about $140000. For an AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Foundational, the median salary is $86000, according to Glassdoor.

Where to Get AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Certification?

AWS itself provides(4) classroom training for preparing for this certification. It also offers practice exams that individuals can attempt to check their preparedness. AWS also offers several exam guides and sample questions for the exam. Using these resources, you can check your preparedness for the exam.

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