Preparing for Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect Certification (AWS Architect Certification)

AWS has launched a comprehensive AWS certification program. Lack of Certification from AWS was an issue in the AWS ecosystem, so the certification program is really exciting. I registered for the exam straight away and gave the exam today (05/08/2013). I am glad to say I cleared the exam for AWS Certified Solutions Architecture, and I am sharing my experiences.

Types of AWS Certification

Under the AWS certification program AWS will provide three kinds of Certifications:

  1. AWS Certified Solutions Architect
  2. AWS Certified SysOps Administrator
  3. AWS Certified Developer


AWS Certification Tracks











Under each of these different verticals AWS will have three different levels in future: 1) Associate, 2) Professional, and 3) Master. For now, AWS has only offered the AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification and only for Associate level. AWS says that the rest of the certifications are coming later.

Update: Since the initial blog post, Amazon now has released all the above three certification in associate level. Also Professional Level Exam is now launched for Solutions Architect and DevOps. For more information on Masters courses, please click on respective links.

What does AWS Solutions Architect Certification consists of?

According to AWS: “Earning an AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Level demonstrates you have the ability to identify and define requirements for an AWS-based application, as well as follow best practices for building secure and reliable applications on the AWS platform.”

My experience: The certification exam was very comprehensive, and it covered almost all the services like EC2, VPC, EBS, S3, Route 53, IAM, RDS, SQS, DynamoDB, etc. Although a lot of the questions were based on popular services like VPC, EC2 and S3, you can expect questions from all the services. And although the questions about these services were more high-level having hands-on knowledge is definitely a must. A note here that from the exam, brand new services released only few months ago were missing, possibly because AWS realized that not everyone have had a chance to use them yet.
The exam is divided into four sections with different percentage representation:

1. Designing highly available, cost efficient, fault tolerant, scalable systems (60%)
This is by far the most important section of the certification with 60% representation. A lot of questions were simulations of what an architect would have to figure out when he designs an application on top of AWS. For example, characteristics of an application with multiple AZ deployment, deploying in multiple regions, what kind of AWS services would one use for a given use case, characteristics of VPC subnets, difference between private and public subnets, high-level costing topics like reserved-instances vs spot-instances, knowledge of strength and weaknesses of various services, etc . A good understanding of how different AWS Services work with each other is also required. Basically, you will need a lot of hands-on practice here.

2. Implementation/Deployment (10%)
This section deals with various deployment management scenarios. This includes Auto Scaling, Custom AMIs, difference between EBS backed AMI vs S3-Backed AMI (legacy instance store AMI), what happens to data stored in EBS, ephemeral storage, etc. in various scenarios like instance reboot, termination, etc. It also contains questions on the best instance type, EBS types, etc. for a given use case.

3. Data Security (20%)
This section has questions about various data encryption techniques in S3, various data protection mechanism in EC2 like security groups, use of IAM roles and users, etc. This also had use case kind of questions about what would be best method to protect data give a particular use case/scenario.

4. Troubleshooting (10%)
This section had various questions about how you would troubleshoot most common errors in AWS. This contains things like trouble logging into EC2 instance, trouble with VPC setup, common mistakes with S3 ACLs, etc. Another important topic here is disaster recovery and how it is implemented on AWS.

How to take the AWS Solutions Architect Certification test

Certification test is available immediately all over the world with Kryterion. It costs $150 to take this test. To signup for the test, go to the Kryterion link here.
Please share your views in comments below if you also took the certification exam, or if you have specific questions.
If you clear the exam, you get a badge like this:     download

How to Prepare for AWS Solutions Architect Certification test

The best way to prepare for the test is to have hands-on experience in working with AWS services. AWS also have various whitepapers that you can refer to here. I will be posting more blog and videos about this certification so keep checking this page. I will be conducting a bootcamp for this certification. If you are interested to join, please click here and fill out the form.

I recently also added sample questions for AWS Solutions Architect Certification. Try it out here.

22 Responses to “Preparing for Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect Certification (AWS Architect Certification)”

  1. Courtenay Probert

    Thanks Bhavesh for sharing your experience. I’ve recently moved my application to AWS and I’m thinking of taking the exam as a way of ensuring my knowledge is complete.

    I’m also interested because I run a exam prep website that provides questions banks and mock exams. Would this type of think have been useful when sitting the AWS Certification Program?

  2. Swapna H

    Hi Bhavesh,

    I don’t have any hands-on experience on AWS. Is there any hope for me to clear this exam?

    Please let me know what you think. Thanks!


  3. Bhavesh Goswami Bhavesh Goswami

    Swapna, you require hands-on knowledge for this certifications, but can always start gaining hands-on experience. With proper training and hands-on labs, we have seen people clearing the certification. If you are interested in the training, check out our training portal:

  4. vadalaa

    hi, Dear goswami,
    i would like to ask some questions regarding for the, aws certification, what are the job offers in the market, for this?
    which is the best place to learn in hyderabad, could you please suggests me,
    thank you

    yours sincerely,

  5. Nitin

    Hi Bhavesh, Curious to know that if there are any console/interface available over public internet where i can realize hands on experience of AWS env, and thenafter can enroll into your training Program?
    Please let me know.

      • amit

        Hello Bhavesh,

        can you please send me the verious aws scenarios for preactise with the details solution..i want to preactise in aws.using all its services..

  6. Yashwant

    Hi Bhavesh,
    I appreciate your efforts in maintaining this forum. Its a great help resource. Please let me know if I can contribute in any way . I have sent a linkedin request, please accept. I am infosec professional and recently got a good handson exposure of setting up a VPC setup for a UK company where I was responsible for architecting security for that. ie. Implementing FW, IDS/IPS, AV, OTP and VA PT. I want to understand the effort or time required for clearing AWS asso and profession exam. And any suggestion on study material.

  7. Vijay

    Hi Bhavesh,

    I wanted to know about opertunities you get by clearing this examination. I am getting trained in big data and I have a little knowledge about AWS. However, I am not an engineer you see and I am just learning these things with an interest to learn. So, if I have to make carrier out of it, what are the possibilities?

  8. Manak

    I just completed the certification. Its not that difficult. But you should have hands on experience on aws.

  9. pranesh

    hi, how are the job opportunities for aws.and what kind of training do you provide.while training do you provide all the course materials and dumps for clearing aws?.do you provide placement also?

  10. Mahinder

    Hi Bhavesh, i am Linux professional and RHCE certified and i am reallly interested in Cloud. And I don’t have any relevant experience in Cloud or AWS. So can i start my career with AWS ? And I also want to know that for AWS certification is it must to have any programming language?. Please resole my queries.

  11. CHetan

    Hi Bhavesh,To get certified in DEVOPS engineer-Professional do I need to clear Sysops Associate certification,
    Can you provide your email id to contact you ?

  12. Kapil Kumar

    Hi Bhavesh,

    Is there any simulator available on internet on which we can practice all these services just like we have gns3 for CCNA certification training. Kindly let me know if there is something like that available on internet.

    Kapil Kumar
    New Delhi

  13. Deepak

    Hai Bhavesh,
    present am working as linux system administrator,i want to move AWS platform.I want to move in AWS administrator this required any programming languages like java,python,etc…
    could you tell me what is differnece b/w architect and dev-ops engineer in this platform,

    Deepak I

  14. SHYAM

    HI Bhavesh – I’m a Junior Project Manager working in a Cloud Infrastructure and Storage Company, My role is not purely technical , However i need to have some high level overview and technical understanding to consult customers about Cloud Services , Will AWS certification help me in that regards ?

  15. Gowrisankar

    I am belongs to Unix domain . I am willing to start AWS cloud . I have confusion whether I have to do Sysops or solution architect since when I approach some one , all are confusing with different different answer . I am not able to find correct answer in google as well :-) . Please help me to find / choose my carrier correctly .

    Note : I have 10 years of experience in uninx domain .


Leave a Reply