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Becoming an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

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By: Tatianna Harris

August 20, 2020

Validate your cloud expertise and advance your career as an IT professional

Anyone wanting to start a career in IT needs to acquire a fundamental understanding of cloud computing concepts. Since everyone has to start somewhere, obtaining a grounding in one of the market leaders in cloud computing is an obvious entry point. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the public cloud platform of choice for 76% of enterprises, making it a great option in terms of marketability and career growth. The AWS Cloud Practitioner certification is the company’s foundational-level credential, and a natural starting point for anyone seeking to further their cloud management skills and advance their careers.

Why become an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner?

Almost every organization, regardless of size or industry, is now transferring their applications and data to the cloud. However, while the cloud affords greater flexibility, scalability, and cost control, it is not without its risks and challenges. Among these are data privacy issues, access management, and information governance. Although the AWS certification isn’t aimed towards cybersecurity professionals specifically, it provides a crucial foundation for understanding how the cloud works. Moreover, since AWS is one of the biggest public cloud providers in the world, certified professionals are in extremely high demand.

Knowledge validation

AWS certifications demonstrate the skills needed to design and manage software solutions on the world’s most popular public cloud platform. The foundational credential offers a way to validate a high-level understanding of AWS, without delving too deeply into technicalities. This helps professionals bridge the gap between experts and their non-technical coworkers, as well as lay the foundations for further career advancement.

While the Cloud Practitioner certification doesn’t cover architecture, operations, or systems development in-depth, it does include a high-level overview of each key area. This includes developing an understanding of AWS’s core service and concepts, such as billing, pricing models, account management, and system specifications. It also covers key security concepts, such as access control, logging and monitoring, and incident response.

Obtaining this credential demonstrates the holder’s commitment level and unveils new career paths. For IT managers, it means providing a baseline training experience to early-career AWS professionals and reducing overall corporate risk.

Career development

As one of the market leaders in enterprise cloud computing, obtaining an AWS certification is a fast road to a higher-paying job. It is ideal for nontechnical support staff and IT professionals transitioning from other computing environments (such as Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud). The examination itself only costs $100, but students can also take a practice exam for $20. It is recommended, however, that students first study online preparation courses to prepare for the exam. Cybrary provides a beginner-level course to bring students up to speed.

AWS certifications are consistently listed among the top-paying credentials in the world, with average salaries for accredited individuals in the US surpassing $100,000 per year. Moreover, these certifications are required for millions of job placements globally, thus opening the door to innumerable career opportunities. They also offer access to a network of experienced peers and thought leaders, which translates into more interviews for aspiring cloud professionals, as well as higher wages once hired or promoted.

IT managers should actively encourage employees to embark on the right certification paths not only to advance their careers, but also to hone their core competencies to the benefit of the organization at large.

Future proofing

Enterprise technology has always been a moving target. Now, that target is moving faster than ever. While this also means certifications are rarely valid or even relevant for more than a few years, following one of the career paths established by a major industry leader is among the more dependable ways to prepare for the future. AWS is constantly growing, and it is backed by one of the world’s largest tech giants. Furthermore, organizations are continuing to transfer their workloads to the cloud, with AWS being one of the most popular platform choices.

Globally, there continues to be a significant divide between the current levels of cloud adoption and the people with the skills to drive and manage it. This is costing the global economy dearly, especially when it comes to crucial matters like risk management, compliance, and information security. Training and certification empowers individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to bridge that gap and future-proof their careers.

For IT managers and other business leaders, ensuring their employees are up to speed with the latest certifications also helps to future-proof their organizations and continue their cloud migration strategies without adding undue operational risk.

How to prepare for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner examination requires individuals to demonstrate overall understanding of the AWS Cloud. Amazon recommends candidates have at least six months’ experience working with the AWS Cloud in any role. The role does not have to be specifically technical, and includes individuals with experience using AWS in finance, management, and sales, to name a few. Moreover, candidates should have a basic understanding of IT services and their key uses. Users can take an AWS Fundamentals Skill Assessment to see if they are ready.

It is essential that candidates properly prepare for the examination. This should include taking a certification preparation course, which is the fastest way to obtain the right degree of depth without being sidetracked by unnecessary topics. Candidates should also spend some time with hands-on labs and mock exams, as well as reviewing whitepapers. Whitepapers, such as the Overview of Amazon Web Services (updated January, 2020) are particularly important, since a lot of the questions in the exam are based on the contents of these documents.

Further advancement with associate- and professional-level credentials

All AWS certifications are valid for three years. To maintain his AWS certified status, each candidate will need to go through a recertification process to demonstrate his continued skill and expertise in the area. However, the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner credential is usually taken as the first step towards an associate- or professional-level, or specialty certification. An associate-level exam typically comes after at least one year of professional experience, whilst a professional-level one recommends two years’ experience.

Cybrary provides customizable training programs to help professionals advance their careers in a wide range of cloud computing and cybersecurity disciplines. Schedule your interactive walkthrough with one of our experts, today!

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