How to Get AWS Certified: Tips From a DevOps Engineer?

I am a DevOps engineer at Nioya Tech LLC, which serves in the fields of Cloud Solutions, DevOps, Quality as a Service, Software Development, Software Product Full Cycle Development, and Data Science.In this post, I will share with you some tips to get AWS certified.

First of all, what is DevOps?

Let’s start with a general definition of DevOps. It was formed due to the combination of the first three letters of the words Development (Dev) and Operations (Ops). Software developers work on applications and services. After applications and services are prepared, codes need to go through some processes before being presented to the customers. In this respect, DevOps comes forward as a productive solution that enables development and operation teams to work harmoniously while building software.

What do DevOps Engineers do?

DevOps engineer is the definition given to the persons who automate these processes before they are presented to the customer and speed up the delivery process. By using DevOps culture, tools, and practices, we can constantly maintain the most effective and stable state of applications/services and decrease the delivery time of the products. Under the DevOps engineer roof, you can see different positions such as junior DevOps engineers, graduate DevOps engineers, associate DevOps engineers, senior DevOps engineers, and principal DevOps engineers based on their skills and experience.

8 Responsibility of DevOps Engineers 

devops engineer responsibilities

Let’s see a few of the DevOps Engineer’s roles.

  1. DevOps engineers take the application, use some tools/practices and apply them in the operation phase to automate the process.
  2. Acts as a coordinator between development and IT teams. 
  3. DevOps engineers can also be considered mediators between development and IT teams. 
  4. A DevOps engineer should have a superficial knowledge of developer activities and IT operations.
  5. They monitor the applications/resources and are responsible for all the apps running.
  6. They work in coordination with the DevSecOps team on security and automation issues.
  7. Most DevOps engineers can be involved in planning and project management during the development phase.
  8. DevOps engineers mostly keep in touch with Release Manager, Software Developer, Tester, Quality Assurance, and others.

What is a DevOps Engineers Salary?

I would like to point out a few caps from a nice article on DevOps Engineer salary:1.In the USAn AWS DevOps Engineer’s annual salary In the US is approximately $125.000. This average amount varies depending on some factors (location etc.). For example, in San Francisco, It can be $130.000 or in New York, $115.000.2. In CanadaIf you are an AWS DevOps Engineer in Canada, you’ll approximately get CA$87.000.3. In EuropeFor the European countries: An AWS DevOps Engineer earns £65.000 yearly in the UK. In Germany €60.000, in France €50.000.

There are a few different certifications for AWS

how to get aws certified

After remembering the general information about DevOps engineers, let’s focus on our main topic, AWS certifications. In this section of the article, I would like to share my experiences about getting certified by Amazon Web Services (AWS) on highly prestigious AWS Solution Associate Architect, AWS Developer Associate, AWS SysOps Administrator, and AWS Solution Architect Professional certifications within the industry.

Do You Need an IT Background to Get AWS Certified?

You may think that I have many years of experience in the IT industry, but it is not the case. I graduated from university as an electronics engineer. After working as an electronics engineer for about 10 years, I decided to shift my career and improve myself in Cloud and DevOps. So, I registered for the AWS/DevOps path of Clarusway. During the 9-month boot camp, I made an incredible effort to make up for my lack of basic computer knowledge and catch up with my friends in the course.After the boot camp, I joined Nioya Tech as a DevOps engineer. I am currently involved in many projects on which hundreds of instances are running. Should You Even Get an AWS Certification?What do you get by having AWS Certifications? First, let’s see some of the advantages of having AWS Certifications. AWS certifications

  • Increase your knowledge of basic AWS Services. For example, Identity and Access Management (IAM), (Elastic Compute Cloud) EC2, Relational Database (RDS), and Simple Storage Service (S3).
  • Help to understand the relations of essential AWS Services with other AWS services in more complex infrastructure.
  • Prepare you for business life by revealing the real problems faced by the companies in the questions.
  • Learn how to use an AWS service with other services based on real-life examples.
  • Validate your technical knowledge and cloud skills by AWS.
  • Reveal a general picture of what you can do in the cloud.

The Different Types of AWS Certifications

certifications for aws

AWS has many certifications according to your knowledge, experience, and interests. The role-based certifications are evaluated in three levels. The first level is Foundational (Cloud Practitioner), the second level is Associate (Solution Architect, Sysops Administrator and Developer), and the last level is Professional (Solution Architect and DevOps Engineer)Here are the details of the AWS Certifications:The first level of role-based certification is AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. This certification shows that the person has a basic understanding of AWS services and their use cases in AWS. In the exam, the questions are generally based on the definition of AWS services.At the second level, role-based certification is Associate, and we have three different certifications in this level:

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect (for Architects) 
  • AWS Certified Developer (for Developers)
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator (for Systems Administrators)

At the last level, role-based certification is Professional, and we have two different certificates in this level:

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect (for Architects with two or more years of hands-on experience designing and deploying cloud architecture on AWS)
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer (for DevOps engineer with two or more years of experience provisioning, operating, and managing AWS environments)

Although role-based certifications are divided into levels, there is no hierarchy regarding getting certifications. Anyone can apply for certification at any level, and there is no obligation to obtain previous-level certifications. For instance, your first certification exam can be AWS Solution Architect Professional. Likewise, you don’t need to have foundational or associate-level certifications before getting professional-level certifications. But if you don’t have much AWS experience, I strongly recommend getting the certificates in order.Here is the list of the AWS Specialty certifications:

  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking (to perform complex networking tasks) 
  • AWS Certified Data Analytics (to design, build, secure, and maintain analytics solutions)
  • AWS Certified Database (to recommend, design, and maintain optimal AWS database solutions)
  • AWS Certified Machine Learning (to build, train, tune and deploy Machine Learning (ML) models on AWS)
  • AWS Certified Security (to secure data and workloads in AWS)

Customers are more willing to work with companies with well-trained and certified personnel. Having a certain number of staff with role-based or specialty certificates in your company allows you to become a member of the AWS Partner Network (APN).

How do I get My AWS Certifications?

After completing AWS and DevOps training in Clarusway, I gained my first certification (AWS Cloud Practitioner) in November 2020. The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner was the exam that excited me the most as it was my first AWS certification exam.As soon as I got over my excitement, I gained the AWS Certified Solutions Architect–Associate exam in the same month. In addition, I gained AWS Certified SysOps Administrator-Associate and AWS Certified Developer-Associate about 3 months after the AWS Certified Solutions Architect–Associate exam. As a result, I gained all associate-level certifications within 3 months.After obtaining any certificate, a 50 percent discount voucher is earned for the next exam. I know that I need more experience and knowledge to get a pro-level certification after all associate-level certifications. At this point, my participation in real-life AWS/DevOps projects at Nioya Tech LLC and the experience I gained in these projects increased my self-confidence in taking a pro-level exam. Then I earned AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional in November 2021. 

Where did I take AWS Certification Exams?

You can take your certifications in the testing centers or from home/office with online proctoring. Although both ways have their own advantages, I personally think that it is necessary to get used to taking the exam with online proctoring.

What Should You Know About the Exam Registration Process?

If you want to schedule an AWS certification, log in to the AWS Training and Certification page. There are Home, My Profile, Exam registration, Exam history, Achieved certifications, Benefits, and Digital badges links in the certification portal. You can use the “Exam Registration” link on the AWS Training and Certification home page for exam registration. There are two ways of registration: one is “Schedule with PSI”, and another is “Schedule with Pearson VUE”.The exam’s languages are English, Chinese Mandarin Simplified, Japanese, and Korean. If English is a Second Language for you, you can request AWS to get an additional 30 minutes for your certification duration. For example, the Cloud Practitioner exam’s duration is 90 minutes. Therefore, after accommodation of “ESL + 30 minutes” you will have 120 minutes for the exam. 

How to Prepare for the AWS Certifications?

The most detailed and extensive information about AWS can be found in the documentation of AWS. If you read all AWS documents, you will really have the most profound knowledge of AWS, but it will take a very long time. If you don’t have a foundational knowledge of AWS, registering in an AWS boot camp would be very helpful. Sometimes more exam-oriented study methods can be more useful for people who do not have enough time. There are many online courses for AWS Certification Preparation. However, I recommend that you choose courses that include hands-on and real-life examples rather than just theoretical knowledge, especially for the Pro-level certifications. After learning the basics of AWS, I think experience stands out as the most important factor for AWS certifications.

General information about AWS Certifications

Name of the certificationExam cost (USD)Exam duration (minutes)Number of questions
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner1009065
AWS Certified Solutions Architect 15013065
AWS Certified Developer15013065
AWS Certified SysOps Administrator 15018065
AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional30018075
AWS Certified DevOps Engineer Professional30018075
AWS Certified Advanced Networking30017065
AWS Certified Data Analytics30018065
AWS Certified Database30018065
AWS Certified Machine Learning30018065
AWS Certified Machine Learning30017065

Final Thoughts

Certifications are documents that validate your knowledge and experience in certain IT fields by AWS. It is a fact that certified and experienced personnel are preferred more in every industry. In this context, having AWS certifications will give you a great advantage.


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