How to Get AWS Certified: Get to Know Your Options cover image

Out of all the ways to spice up your resume and attract the attention of recruiters, getting certified by a reputable provider is probably the most substantial. Why? Well, with hundreds of candidates applying to every half-decent position, your own opinion of your skills simply doesn’t cut it anymore. You need tangible proof, and according to Cambridge Dictionary, a certification is literally ‘a proof or a document proving that someone is qualified for a particular job’. Now that we’ve cleared that up – let’s look at how to get AWS certified, a.k.a. get one of the most industry-appreciated and financially-rewarding certifications worldwide.

The Career Climber’s How-To: Become AWS Certified 

We’re not about to surprise anyone by saying tech is currently the most innovative and fastest-growing sector worldwide. The rising need for professionals caused an increase in supply, too: IT study programs, bootcamps, and courses are getting more popular by the minute. Why not pick one of those instead of looking at how to get AWS certified, you ask? Well, a lot of them focus on either outdated (universities) or rather specific (bootcamps) topics – which aren’t the best options for someone who’s getting ready to enter the workforce of tomorrow.

While most industries tend to stay in their own bubble, tech has permeated virtually all of them: IT specialists are just as needed in healthcare, law, finance, education, and a ton of other sectors as they are in, say, software development companies. Because of that, one of the smartest choices a beginner can make is mastering solutions currently used by the majority of modern businesses and organizations.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a perfect example of such a system – for the last ten years, it’s been the absolute cloud computing leader worldwide! And that’s not all – AWS certifications make it simple for you to prove your expertise to the potential employer. In this guide, we’ll explain how to get AWS certified and take your career to the next level.

Psyching Up and Getting Ready

“How do I get AWS certified?” is a question that’s on a lot of people’s minds right now – and we won’t surprise anyone by saying you begin by choosing the certification you’re interested in. There are 12 options, starting with the foundational-level AWS Cloud Practitioner one, and moving on to various types of Associate, Professional, and Specialty certifications. In the past, you were required to pass a lower-level exam to qualify for a more advanced one – however, these kinds of AWS certification prerequisites were later made obsolete to provide the candidates with more flexibility and clarity on how to become AWS certified for a certain position.

You are not technically required to complete any learning courses or have a certain amount of experience to register for your exam, either. And yet, we’d strongly recommend it – and so would most cloud experts who know how to get AWS certified from their first-hand experience. Not only do courses, webinars, books, and other educational resources help you memorize and revise what you need to know to pass the exam, but they also help you gain confidence by letting you know what you can expect once you start your exam and highlighting its very structure. By knowing exactly how to become AWS certified, what steps to take, and when, you will undoubtedly reach that objective a lot faster.

If you’re still thinking whether it’s worth taking a risk and try to get certified without doing the actual studying, remember that AWS certification exams cost money – and while the investment does pay off pretty quickly once you take your shiny new badge to the job market, it’s still a lot of money to lose in case you fail. Depending on the certification level, one exam can lighten your wallet by up to $300, so it’s a lot wiser to get adequately prepared and avoid paying more than once!

What Goes on Behind the Closed AWS Exam Center Doors

When you’re looking at how to get AWS certified, the first option you’ll come across is scheduling and attending an exam in a certification center. As of now, there are 5000+ centers to choose from that operate in more than 180 countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, so it’s more than likely you’ll find one at a convenient location. You can pick the exact center, time, and date in advance – once you complete your payment, the spot will be reserved for you!

A key part of understanding how to become AWS certified is getting familiar with the structure of the exam itself. Each certification exam lasts 90–180 minutes (the higher the level, the more time you get) and consists of single-choice and multiple-choice questions. Next to your basic theory, you get practical situations to solve and everyday problems to deal with. Once you are done, you are informed whether you failed or passed straightaway. It’s that simple. If you pass, you get certified for a period of three years – after that, you will need to recertify by passing the same exam.

The good thing about taking your exams at a certification center is that you’ll be using their computers. This means you don’t need to worry about system requirements and stuff like that. It’s been taken care of, and as you think how to get AWS certified, you can focus solely on learning. Some also believe (though it’s more of a personal preference, to be honest) it’s easier to concentrate in a dedicated study environment as opposed to your own private space. Did we just hear you asking – but wait, how DO I get certified in my own private space? Is that even an option? Glad you asked!

Passing the Exam in Your Fuzzy Slippers? Why Not!

In March 2020, AWS came up with yet another great offer for its enthusiasts – they made remote certification exams available. The timing couldn’t have been better: with the COVID-19 pandemic quickly gaining force, any chance to avoid public outings was encouraged – still, those who were looking at how to get AWS certified did not need to postpone their plans. Taking the exam at home has other perks, too: not only do you save time and money you’d spend traveling to the exam center, but you can also feel more relaxed as you’re surrounded by an environment you’re used to. Online exams are available worldwide except for candidates from mainland China and South Korea.

The idea is pretty simple: you register to take your exam on a specific date and time, complete your payment (there’s no price difference between online and offline exams, by the way) – and wait patiently! You will have the same period of time to complete your exam as you would in a physical center (no breaks allowed), and a dedicated proctor will monitor you the whole time via your webcam. You will only be able to communicate with the proctor in English, but the exams themselves are available in multiple languages.

Of course, the advantages come with the fine print, which means there are some minor AWS certification prerequisites in this case. Using your own computer means you have to make sure it complies with the specific system requirements, has a good and stable Internet connection, a working webcam and microphone. You also need to take care of your surroundings: there cannot be any distractions (voices, screens, irrelevant things on your desk, etc.), as the proctor will examine it carefully before you start your exam. Will such a space be available to you? Think of it as you plan how to get AWS certified.

It’s Time to Take Action!

With this guide, we provided you with a clear roadmap and a sense of clarity on how to get AWS certified at home or an exam center. Believe us or not, these are the only AWS certification prerequisites you need. Understanding the importance of getting certified and knowing exactly what to expect, you’re going to make the right decisions in terms of learning and planning – and from this point forward, your career in tech can only go up!

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Vaida Jėčienė