If you’ve been spending time with AWS, and are ready to start looking at AWS architect certification, you’ve come to the right place. The AWS architect certification is aimed for those looking to design solutions on the AWS platform. The great thing about AWS certifications is there is a certification track for everyone.

At this point in time, there are two different AWS architect certification exams available. First is the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate, which is the exam we are going to be focusing on today. After you pass this AWS architect certification exam, you can become an AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional.

The Exam

Before you start preparing for an AWS architect certification, it is important to know the format of the exam. The exam consists of multiple choice and multiple answer questions and is 80 minutes long. The examination fee is 150 USD, and AWS also has a practice test available for 20 USD. You can find the details of the associate AWS architect certification at this link.

The AWS Architect Certification Study Material

Now that we know what the first AWS architect certification is like from a testing and logistics perspective, let’s take a look at the content which will be tested. The secret to determining how to study for any exam is the exam blueprint. You can find the blueprint for the AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate here.

The blueprint will tell you what the profile of the candidate tested is. It will also give you a breakdown of areas to be tested, and very specific topics the exam will cover. The best way to study for any exam is to know the exam blueprint from cover to cover before sitting for the exam.

One of the biggest topics on the first AWS architect certification is “Designing a highly available, cost-efficient, fault-tolerant, scalable systems.” This topic alone is 60% of the certification exam.  The next most heavily weighted topic is Security at 20% of the exam, followed by Troubleshooting as well as Implementation/Deployment (yes, these are lumped together) at 10% each.  The best way to start studying for this exam is to focus on this particular topic, and read some of the many white papers offered from AWS.

One of the best white papers to start with if you are new to AWS architecture is the Architecting for the Cloud: AWS Best Practices white paper.  This white paper gives a great overview of what architecture in the cloud, specifically the AWS platform really is.  It also frames a discussion on two very different types of AWS deployments, migrating current workloads or designing new workloads specifically to be cloud native.

When you are ready to tackle some more in-depth material, the AWS Well-Architected framework. This will also help you learn more about the other exam areas, such as Data Security.  There are five pillars of the Well-Architected Framework, Security, Reliability, Performance Efficiency, Cost Optimization, and Operational Excellence, all key areas architects are concerned with, especially in a cloud based environment.  For those looking to have a solid understanding of AWS before introducing it into their current IT infrastructure environment, both performance efficiency and cost optimization can be key areas for building a business case.

AWS offers additional resources such as official study guides and training classes. They offer a certification prep site which will give you information on AWS’ recommended studying material. This page, found here, lists items such as the white papers, guides, and training classes we just mentioned, as well as some of the best free resources AWS offers like self paced labs.  One of the best parts about deciding to undertake an  AWS architect certification is the vast amount of resources available for study.  Good luck!