You’ve thought about going to AWS. You have been learning about things like Amazon’s EC2 Instances. Why not go out there and get an AWS certification? There’s no doubt about it, AWS certifications are some of the hottest out there right now. Don’t believe me? Just ask Forbes.

Let’s take a closer look at AWS certifications, so you can find the one that’s right for you.

AWS Certification

AWS Certification Tracks

There are currently three different AWS certification tracks: architecting, developing, and operations. The great part about this is there is a track for everyone. AWS was smart in doing this, as dividing the certifications into tracks opens them up to more people. For example, if you are a developer interested in the developing track, you can focus your learning in the area you prefer to work in, though there will be a light focus in design. If you are an architect, you can focus on the architecture portion of AWS, with a light focus in development. More people are likely to take the exams if they focus in the areas they are working in, versus an all encompassing exam that will require them to know all areas.

In the architecting track, there are the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate and Professional certifications. From an architecture perspective, there is a big focus on making solutions highly available and fault tolerant (you know all about AWS regions, right?).

In the developing track, there are the AWS Certified Developer Associate Certification, and the AWS Certified DevOps Engineer Professional Certification. As a developer, the focus is more at the design and deployment of application level.

In the operations track, there is the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate certification before obtaining the Certified DevOps Engineer Professional Certification, which is shared with the developing track. This track is very unique, as it focuses on a little bit of everything, which is to be expected of someone with the expertise to troubleshoot and operate an environment.

Be sure to look at the exam blueprints for each track you find interesting. You can find them at the home page for each certification, which is linked above.

Associate Level AWS Certification Exams

The first AWS certification to earn is the Associate level. These exams are all 80 minutes long and consist of multiple choice and multiple answer questions. The fee for these exams is $150 USD, and AWS also offers a practice exam for $20 USD.

Professional Level AWS Certification Exams

In order to take the professional level exams, you must fist obtain the AWS associate level certification. Here is where things can get a bit confusing if you are new to AWS certifications. If you are on the architect track, you need to have obtained the AWS architect track associate level certification. If you are on the developer or operations track, you may obtain either the developer or operations AWS associate level certification to continue on to the professional level certification. This is because these two tracks currently share the AWS Certified DevOps Engineer Professional certification. These exams are also a bit more pricy at $300 USD each with an available $40 USD practice test. They also take longer at 170 minutes.

While the question format is still multiple answer and multiple choice, the questions themselves are a bit different, as you can see by the free sample questions AWS provides. At the AWS associate level, you will be asked about mostly facts. The answers will come to mind quickly. At the AWS professional level, you must apply the facts you were tested on at the AWS associate level. The questions require more thinking an analysis. Comparatively, this is similar to most of the entry and mid level technology certifications out there currently.

To learn more about AWS certifications, be sure to check out AWS’ certification page.