AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate – Exam Concepts you should Understand and Prepare

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate – Exam Concepts you should Understand and Prepare

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Exam Concepts

Anyone who wants to take AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate should understand what primary job functions are performed by an associate architect from certification point of view. Although you may perform more or less functions in your real job, Amazon defines some core functions which you should perform after getting the associate architect certification.

As a certified solution architect, you are expected to perform following job functions:

  • Designing and deploying scalable, highly available, and fault tolerant systems on AWS
  • Lift and shift of an existing on-premises application to AWS
  • Ingress and egress of data to and from AWS
  • Selecting the appropriate AWS service based on data, compute, database, or security requirements
  • Identifying appropriate use of AWS architectural best practices
  • Estimating AWS costs and identifying cost control mechanisms

In general, the solution architect converts requirements into the architecture, design and ultimately delivers the blueprint for the solution.  In AWS world, multiple services span across various IT infrastructure and application components including compute power, storage, networking, database and data warehousing, content delivery and much more.  AWS solution architect will be responsible for picking up right services from this pool and design and deploy highly available and scalable enterprise IT system based on given business requirements.  Since AWS is a private cloud and physically not located inside of your enterprise, solution architect should include security elements for network infrastructure and incoming or outgoing data.  Also it is expected that the final system he or she produces will follow the architectural best practices and cost effective measures.

Amazon services are more like Lagos blocks, one can design a simple box or battle ship using them. As long as you know the right blocks and elements to select, and use it with some physics and creativity.

Same is for AWS solution architect, you are expected to design and deploy wide range of IT solutions by selecting right AWS services with scalability, availability and security in your mind.

Eligibility to take the solutions architect associate exam?

Everyone is eligible for taking solutions architect associate exam.  However, here are the five exam requirements, from AWS website:

The first requirement is: One or more years of hands-on experience designing available, cost efficient, fault tolerant, and scalable distributed systems on AWS

Amazon expects the candidates should have one or more years of experience using AWS services.  It is good to have, but you are not required to provide any proof for your experience.  Prior experience may help you to reduce your preparation time, can’t guarantee you to pass the exam.

The second requirement is: In-depth knowledge of at least one high-level programming language

All available AWS services either accessible thru aws console or command line interface or aws software development kit SDK.  If you plan to use SDK, then you should be familiar with programming languages like JAVA, .NET or Ruby.  As a solution architect, you don’t need to necessarily use AWS SDK to learn or use these services.  So, from exam point of view, you should know how and why different services are used.

The third requirement is: Ability to identify and define requirements for an AWS-based application

This is more about your ability to define requirements for AWS based infrastructure or application. It’s like if you never cooked in your life, but will you be able to cook going forward if you are provided with right ingredients and utensils?  The answer is yes, as long as you are willing to learn, so when you prepare for your exam, you will be learning all available services and where they are used and why you need to use them.

The fourth requirement is: Experience with deploying hybrid systems with on-premises and AWS components

It's about deploying some hybrid solution using your existing data center and AWS. Except startups, Most of the organizations don’t want to move to AWS in a single day or in the same month or even in the same year.  They want to experiment AWS and see if they can move their infrastructure in smaller chucks. In that case, you may need to know how to design and deploy solution which may use both AWS and your existing infrastructure.

The last requirement is: Capability to provide best practices for building secure and reliable applications on the AWS platform

Capability is your ability or knowledge to provide best practices.  Best practices are domain specific...  Each domain such as availability, scalability and security has its own set of best practices and you will learn them as you go thru your job.  Best way to improve your knowledge in these best practices, is to read white papers from the web.  From certification exam point of view, you need to review five or six specific white papers from AWS website.

Hope you got clear idea of exam requirements for AWS Solutions Architect Associate certification now. If you want more detail, please check out my Free Video Course.

Image Credit: Anthony P Buce

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