Career / Career Progression

Sailing Ahead with the Latest AWS Certifications

by Josh Adams
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Published on February 15, 2017

At their re:Invent 2016 in December, Amazon Web Services announced that they are gearing up to release about 1,000 new features this year, more than twice as many as they released in 2015.

One highlight of the conference was the announcement of, and concurrent beta testing of three new specialty exams being added to the AWS certification structure.

The new exams, AWS Certified Security, AWS Certified Big Data, and AWS Certified Advanced Networking, fill some of the cracks in the certification program and also follow the trajectory of the cloud into enterprise-level environments.

NOTE: You aren't going to find any of these exams if you go to AWS's certification site now because the beta period for these three exams recently closed. However, AWS typically releases an exam approximately eight to 10 weeks after closing a beta exam period, so expect to see the exams to go live within the next few months.

AWS Certified Security

In terms of security and data integrity, the cloud is about as secure as it comes, but only at the cloud-level. That's essentially what AWS says in their Shared Responsibility Model. Amazon provides security for the cloud itself; the user secures the apps, services, and data they put on the cloud.

To bolster the user side of security, AWS created the Certified Advanced Security beta exam, designed to help IT pros secure their end of the Shared Responsibility Model and further their career in cloud security.

The exam covers core topics in basic security, the security of AWS as a whole, and usage of the security products and services within AWS. It also verifies your knowledge and understanding of compliance and security standards, including PCI DSS, ISO 27001, and HIPAA. In addition, the AWS Certified Security certification exam ensures that you will be able to advise customers on architectures meeting industry standards such as SAS70, SOC1, and FISMA.

The exam also covers other key concepts including Identity and Access Management (IAM), compliance, incident management, and troubleshooting within AWS.

AWS Certified Big Data

As organizations use massive amounts of data to better understand their customers and drive efficiencies, they increasingly rely on the cloud to handle and analyze all that data. Enter big data. Big data and advanced analytics have completely reshaped organizations and their business processes.

AWS offers a beta Certified Big Data specialty exam, which validates your abilities to use AWS's data services and products to your organization's advantage.

The exam covers the major areas of AWS that are relevant to analyzing big data, including collection, storage, processing, analysis, visualization, and data security. The exam also validates your understanding of the frameworks that hold together large-scale distributed systems such as Hadoop/Spark and MPP data warehouses.

AWS Certified Advanced Networking

With the shift toward the cloud, some aspects of basic networking processes are changing. For instance, WAN architectures are evolving to accommodate the new possibilities of the cloud. Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) also is changing to make way for the cloud, spreading from service providers to enterprise.

To meet these upcoming changes in networking technologies head on, AWS released a beta version of a Certified Advanced Networking specialty exam. Passing this exam showcases your knowledge of the major areas of AWS networking services.

The exam covers core networking concepts including IPv4, VLANS, DNS, BGP, and the 7-Layer OSI Model. It also tests your ability to plan and implement pure cloud and hybrid AWS networks. In addition, the exam validates your ability to set up network security controls and compliant networks, as well as your skills to integrate AWS advanced network services with your applications and automate and troubleshoot your AWS network.

Beta Exam Basics

Obtaining any of these new certifications will put you among the first worldwide to earn one of these specialist certifications with AWS.

Keep in mind that you must already have at least one AWS associate-level certificate to take these exams and that each exam calls for five years of hands-on experience in their respective specialties.

Each exam runs about three hours in length, and each uses a multiple choice/multiple answer format, like other AWS certification exams.

Any of these three certifications can set you apart as an expert in AWS. We don't offer training in these courses yet, as they are so new. But we wanted you to know what's coming down the pipe first!

Start learning more about AWS and prepare for these exams now! CBT Nuggets trainers Ben Finkel and Jeremy Cioara have you covered.


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