Nona Blog

AWS certifications, Cloud Practitioner vs Solutions Architect Associate

One of our core values at Nona is “Continual improvement as a way of life”. In every area of our work and personal lives, we seek opportunities to GIT GUD.

Deep diving into the world of cloud computing with Amazon Web Services (AWS) was one of those opportunities for me. As a non-technical individual, working in a very technical environment, I found up skilling on AWS not only essential to really understanding our offering, but a fundamental shift to how I relate to cloud based infrastructure.

In this blog, I unpack the difference between the Cloud Practitioner and Solutions Architect – Associate courses and certifications.

So get your head out the cloud and get AWS certified!

What is all this AWS cloud business and why should I care?

Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, namely data storage and computing power (thinks servers), without governance or management by an individual.

Cue cloud computing with AWS! Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the most broadly used cloud platforms, that offers the globe infrastructure technologies like compute, storage, databases and emerging technologies.

AWS’s offering makes it faster, easier, and more affordable to run and monitor your applications on the cloud. In a nutshell, they save you a bucket load of money and hopefully stress.

What courses and certifications are right for you?

The two courses I have completed are AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner and AWS Certified Solutions ArchitectAssociate.

While Cloud Practitioner is more about understanding the different AWS services, Solutions Architect – Associate is about demonstrating your ability to design, manage and implement these services. You cover almost entirely the same content (and services) as you do in Cloud Practitioner, however you’ll spend far more time focusing on the actual implementation thereof.

Cloud Practitioner is an entry-level course, and certification, aimed at delivering an overall understanding of the AWS cloud. This course focuses on the core AWS services and use cases, billing and pricing, cloud security, and the impact that the will have on your business. From S3 (Simple Storage Service) to  IAM (Identity and access management) to Cloudfront – you will learn it all.  This course is ideal for the less technically minded – so Project Managers and Accounts Departments – get involved!

Developers and those in Dev Ops should be looking to step things up a notch with the Solutions Architect – Associate course. This course was primarily created to educate those with hands on experience in creating and deploying applications. AWS recommends the course is completed by anyone who has “one or more years of hands-on experience designing available, cost-efficient, fault-tolerant, and scalable distributed systems on AWS.” So if you are a developer, bypass the Cloud Practitioner course and jump straight into Solutions Architect – Associate.

How do I get certified with Cloud Practitioner or Solution Architect?

Step 1: Go onto AWS and book your exam! Nothing motivates me more than a looming deadline. You probably need a good 4 – 6 weeks to prep for the exams – so factor in this time.

Book your Cloud Practitioner here

Book your Solutions Architect here

Step 2: Complete a course on Udemy. There are several highly rated Cloud Practitioner and Solution Architect courses on Udemy. These courses will take you through all the fundamentals to help you a.) digest and understand all things AWS and b.) pass the exam.

Step 3: Read the Whitepaper – this is a critical step to understanding the AWS services and passing your exams.

Overview of Amazon Web Services Whitepaper

Step 4: Complete the practice exams! These are available on Udemy and through AWS itself. I found the practice exams much harder than the actual exams themselves, so don’t be too disheartened if you score lower than you were expecting.

Step 4: Delve into the world of cloud computing with AWS!

Step 5: Smash the exam! Remember you need 70% to pass, so I don’t recommend attempting the exam before you’ve completed the courses or read the Whitepaper.

Happy cloud computing!

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Saskia Koning

Head of Production - Nona