AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Training
This credential helps organizations identify and develop talent with critical skills for implementing cloud initiatives. Earning AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate validates the ability to design and implement distributed systems on AWS.
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The cloud has taken over as the preferred hosting location for enterprise. Amazon Web Services (AWS) dominates this space as the first company that offered cloud-based services at a large scale. Organizations are migrating to AWS because it allows them to become more agile in their product offerings while having a relatively low upfront cost.
The migration from traditional data centers to AWS has increased the need for engineers who understand and specialize in AWS. A great way to show potential employers your knowledge of AWS is to obtain a certification. AWS offers three levels of certifications: foundational, associate, and professional. The AWS Solutions Architect Associate certification falls in the middle and validates the certification holder’s knowledge in designing solutions in AWS. Below you will learn more about what it takes to obtain the AWS Solutions Architect Associate certification.
Who is the certification for?
The AWS Solutions Architect Associate is for those who are eager to prove and validate their skills in AWS. It’s targeted at sysadmins and systems and DevOps engineers looking to design cloud-hosted solutions and leverage the capabilities of the AWS cloud.
This associate-level certification from AWS will validate an individual’s knowledge of various AWS services including, but not limited to, EC2, S3, and RDS. It will guide an engineer’s understanding of the AWS environment while adhering to the AWS Well-Architected Framework when creating resources in the AWS cloud. It provides an introductory glimpse into designing solutions within AWS.
As of this writing, there are two AWS exams that will satisfy the AWS Solutions Architect Associate certification: SAA-C01 and SAA-C02. SAA-C01 is the legacy exam version and is slated to be retired on July 1, 2020. SAA-C02 was introduced on March 23, 2020 and is the replacement for SAA-C01. At a glance they are similar to each other in terms of content with the exception of domain five: Define Operationally Excellent Architectures. In SAA-02, domain five has been eliminated and incorporated into the other four sections. (See Skills Measured section for more on domains.)
If you you can complete your AWS Solutions Architect Associate studies before July 1, the SAA-C01 will still be a valid option for you to complete. If not, then SAA-C02 would be a better option to pursue. If you accomplish the AWS Solutions Architect Associate certification by writing the SAA-C01 exam, your certification will still be valid for three years.
There is no prerequisite exam or certification to take the Solutions Architect Associate certification exam. If you want to skip the Cloud Practitioner certification and head straight into the Solutions Architect Associate you are more than welcome to do so.
AWS recommends that candidates have a minimum of one year of hands-on experience working with AWS. However, the lack of experience could be supplemented with on-demand lectures and self-experimentation of AWS services. The key to passing is doing hands-on labs within AWS.
A strong foundation in Linux would be highly beneficial because it’s the popular operating system within AWS; AWS even has its own Linux distribution.
Knowing the basics of networking, especially how subnets work, will go a long way. A strong comfort in basic networking is key, because setting up VPC involves knowledge of routes, subnets, and rules. Think of AWS as an abstracted data center–you don’t need worry about the underlying hardware, however resources still need to interact with each other, and networking provides that in AWS.
A knowledge of virtualization is important because the same concepts used in on-premises solutions (VMWare, Citrix, Xen) will also apply in AWS. Virtualization is at the core of AWS; understanding how virtual machines or instances are used will enable users to maintain their EC2-based ecosystem.
The exam will question your knowledge in a wide range of AWS services such as VPC, EC2, RDS, S3, and more. You will be measured on how well you can utilize offerings and deploy them within AWS. There are four or five domains that topics will be grouped under, depending on the exam. These domains will follow the Well-Architected Framework closely.
In SAA-C02 you will be tested on four domains:
- Design Resilient Architectures
- Design High-Performing Architectures
- Design Secure Applications and Architectures
- Design Cost-Optimized Architectures
As mentioned previously, domain five in SAA-C01 is lacking in SAA-C02. SAA-C02 has been streamlined to better address operational excellence in other domains.