For solutions architects looking to get started with the cloud, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification track can be a great way to get started. The first step is to pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam, which we have covered here. The next step is to pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional exam.

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional exam is geared towards those with the Associate level certification, and two years experience architecting solutions on AWS.  While two years of AWS architecture experience is suggested, the Associate level certification is required.  If you have the Associate level certification, but not two years of AWS architecture experience, you are still able to take the exam.  Don’t let the experience suggestion deter you if you are seeking the certification and feel you are ready to take it on.

The Exam

The exam is longer than the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate. While the time increases to 170 minutes, the cost also increases to 300 USD. While the questions are still multiple choice and multiple answer, you can see by viewing the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional Exam sample questions, they are quite different. At the Associate level, the questions are very straight forward. After reading one, you know the answer or you do not. At the Professional level, the questions are more scenario based, and require much more thought, which is why the test is longer. If you’re looking for more information on the exam, you can find it here.

The Material

The big difference between the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional and Associate exams (besides the price and length of the exams) is the blueprint areas. Where the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate certification had a heavy weight on “Designing highly available, cost-efficient, fault-tolerant, scalable systems”, the Professional certification has many more focus areas. By reviewing both blueprints, you can see the Associate level focuses on the key building blocks, while the Professional level is looking for a more well-rounded solution to be provided by the candidates.

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional certification is specifically looking for knowledge in key areas such as Network and Storage design. Candidates are expected to have a more in depth understanding for AWS’ offerings in these areas than they were with the Associate level certification.

Another big focus on the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional blueprint is “Cloud Migration & Hybrid Architecture”. This is a key area of skill for the Professional certification, as many organizations are still developing their hybrid cloud strategies and migration strategies. It also makes sense to recovered as a more advanced topics, as most organizations will begin with an AWS pilot before either migrating, be it a hybrid or cloud only implementation. The skills need to architect AWS pilot deployment are covered in the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate certification.

Security is another key topic in the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional certification. While Security was covered in the Associate level certification, the Professional level takes things a but further. At the professional level, it is all about implementing toe using the concepts tested in the Associate level to meet Security requirements.

Studying for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional Certification

To prepare for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional exam, AWS suggests taking the Advanced Architecting course. In addition, AWS puts together a certification preparation guide for each of their certifications. They suggest core white papers and FAQs to read, among other helpful tips. Be sure to check out the site and click on Solutions Architect Professional for more information.
As you prepare for your AWS Certified Solutions Architect exams, don’t forget to look at AWS’ best free resources to get you started.

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