Disclaimer: The title is a click bait. Nothing like an AWS Jedi (yet). I just happen to be an AWS fan as well as an imaginary Star Wars shareholder. Thanks for coming though.
Certifications define a learning path, demonstrate a certain level of understanding of a platform or tool, show your ability/capacity to learn and represent a way to validate knowledge. However, there is no value in certification alone. They need to be accompanied with practical experience.
Over the past years, cloud computing has become a core competency requirement in the workplace, from startups to government agencies to big enterprises. Titles such as "AWS/Azure Developer" has become a thing as employers from various industries hunt for skilled and competent engineers with cloud computing skills to design, build, deploy, monitor and maintain workloads in the cloud.
AWS, which calls itself the "world's most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform", has established itself as the market leader in the space. According to studies by the Synergy Research Group, Amazon's market share in the worldwide cloud computing market in the Q2 of 2022, exceeds the combined market share of the two other big players in the space, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.
When it comes to certifications, AWS is known for rigorious, thorough, brain melting and brain frying certification exams that require a certain level of both theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience depending on the certification you are after.
I wrote my AWS associate level exams back in 2020 and after 18 months of hands-on and practical experience architecting, designing, maintaining and monitoring workloads on both personal and work level, I decided to go pro aka beast mode.
One of the most challenging and well-respected certifications in IT, requires multi-dimensional mastery of cloud architecture. Geared towards Cloud Architects, it demonstrates the depth and breadth of your cloud-computing knowledge. I respect this cert so much that I dressed formally to sit for the exam.
Best for devops engineers experienced in developing CI/CD pipelines, monitoring and managing workloads in AWS. Even though the focus is narrowed compared to the Solutions Architect Professional, it is really a tough one.
Geared towards Cloud Security, it covers how to design, build, and troubleshoot a secure network infrastructure, how to respond to security breaches, how to design and implement security monitoring systems, and more.
Cheapest ($100), easiest, completely geared towards beginners and requires minimal technical AWS cloud knowledge. It focuses on AWS fundamentals, financial values as well as basics of the well architected framework and security features.
I actually wrote it first so I could get the 50% discount voucher benefit AWS gives you for your next exam after you pass an exam. Benefits for AWS Certified Individuals
The Pro and Specialty level exams cost $300. Everytime I pass an exam, I save $150 on the next by using the 50% off benefit. Starting off with the Cloud Practitioner exam makes it even cheaper. Do the maths.
I mainly use Adrian Cantrill courses to study. He does a phenomenal job at teaching, breaking down and explaining IT concepts & AWS services. His ability to teach is simply amazing. I, sometimes, marvel at how much I understand something after he has explained it.
His courses have multiple relevant hands-on lessons, demos and labs which depict and demonstrate real world scenarios and usage and consequently translate into practical experience.
Moreover, the courses are not the "just get certified" type. They actually impact AWS knowledge on you for daily real life application. Check out his platform here.
My preferred practice exam platform is Jon Bonso's Tutorial Dojo.
They simulate the actual certification exam and provide feedback to each question, why an answer is correct or incorrect as well as additional links to documentation for further reading.
To supplement for the pro level exam certifications, I also used Stephane Mareek practice exams which I truly enjoyed as well. You can find them on Udemy.
Here is a list of a few solutions I developed with AWS services that gave me an edge and deepen my understanding as well as how they benefitted the stakeholders involve.
|Solution||Main AWS Services Used||Benefits|
|Data Analytics Application||- Kinesis Firehose
- AWS Glue
- AWS Athena
|- Near real time application data querying and analysis using SQL
- Cost saving as audit log data is saved on S3 and not in database which in turn leads to improved database performance
|Building automated CI/CD Pipelines||- ECS
|- Improved and automated CICD pipeline with a manual approval only when deploying to production
- Improved compatibility and cost efficiency as applications are containerised
- Improved Security as container images are stored on ECR and access control is managed by IAM
|Image Generating and File Processing Applications||- SQS
- AWS Lambda
|- Event driven application
- Reduced management overhead, serverless solution
- Cost efficient and Highly Available
|Adding Content Delivery & Caching to existing application||- Cloudfront
|- Faster performance as CloudFront ensures quick delivery of content to users
- Improved security with AWS Shield against DDOS attacks
- Eliminate manual process of managing SSL/TLS certificates as ACM takes care of that
|Developing a Rest API||- API Gateway
- AWS Lambda
- CloudWatch Logs
|- Elastic and multi region available API
- Reduced API management overhead as scaling activities are dynamic
- Built-in caching, logging, throttling, bursting and monitoring functionality as well as distributed tracing support with AWS X-RAY
I work daily with AWS so the list goes on. Adrian Cantrill has standard and advanced demos I have completed as well.
Here are a few:
- Highly Available Dynamic VPN
- Hybrid Active Directory
- Hybrid DNS with R53 Endpoints
- Patching EC2 instances at scale with SSM
- DB Migration Using DMS
- Web Identity Federation
They can be freely accessed here.
One of my goals is to have multi cloud practical knowledge and I intend to look into Microsoft Azure as the secondary cloud platform.
Additionally, I am working towards achieving the "Kubernetes Trilogy" within the next 8 to 10 months.
You can find my badges here.
Thank you for stopping by. Grab some snacks at the door.