Is the AWS Advanced Networking Worth It?
| certifications | cloud - Richard Bevis

Is the AWS Advanced Networking Worth It?

Cloud services are an accepted part of most enterprise information technology plans, as organizations diversify from their own network infrastructure to running hybrid and cloud-only setups. As enterprises select their cloud services provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is likely to be high on their list. AWS is  by far, the market leader in providing public cloud infrastructure services, with a share several times as large as Microsoft Azure, their next trailing competitor.

There is strong demand for credentialed professionals who are proficient in designing and managing network configurations for AWS cloud solution projects. Amazon has a broad range of AWS certifications that meet this need. AWS certifications address increasing levels of experience from the Foundational AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, to mid-level Associate certs for developers, architects, and SysOps administrators to Professional-level architect and DevOps engineer certifications. Beyond the AWS Professional level are the super-tough specialty certifications for security, machine learning, Alexa skills building, database, data analytics, and advanced networking.

Let's take a deeper look at the AWS Certified Advanced Networking specialty certification.

What is the AWS Advanced Networking – Specialty Certification?

The AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty is an expert-level certification for IT professionals who design and manage sophisticated network systems that operate on—or in conjunction with—the AWS cloud platform.

This AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty certification is for experienced network engineers who have at least five years of hands-on experience in general and AWS network architecture, design, implementation, and management. For this certification, you'll need in-depth knowledge of advanced AWS and general networking and network interconnectivity, including virtual private networks, inter-domain routing, IPv4 and IPv6 subnetting, and IPv6 transition.

You should be fully conversant with the use of tools to develop automation scripts, as well as with standard network security capabilities, such as web application firewalls (WAF), Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), intrusion detection and protection (IDS/IPS), and protections against distributed (DDoS) and economic (EDoS) denials of service.

While there are no specific prerequisite certs for this specialty certification, Amazon recommends that you are already certified as an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner,  or that you hold one of the three associate-level AWS certifications:

Check out our AWS training that is available for these certs.

In order to earn the certification, you will need to take and pass the AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty (ANS-C00) examination. The exam validates your ability to architect, design, deploy and maintain cloud-based solutions using a full array of AWS service capabilities.

What Does AWS Advanced Networking Certification Exam Test?

The AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty (ANS-C00) test may be taken in your home or office with online proctoring, or in a PSI or Pearson Vue training center. The exam is a 170-minute, multiple-choice/multiple answer examination that has questions spread over the following networking topic domains:

  1. Design and Implement Hybrid IT Network Architectures at Scale (23%)
  2. Design and Implement AWS Networks (29%)
  3. Automate AWS Tasks (8%)
  4. Configure Network Integration with Application Services (15%)
  5. Design and Implement for Security and Compliance (12%)
  6. Manage, Optimize, and Troubleshoot the Network (13%)

For a detailed drill-down into each of these domains, check out the AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty (ANS-C00) exam guide and review samples of the questions that you should expect on the exam.

How much does the AWS Advanced Networking Certification Exam Cost?

The AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty (ANS-C00) examination costs $300 for each attempt. If you should unfortunately fail the exam, you'll have to wait 14 days before attempting (and paying for) a retake — but you're not limited on your number of attempts.

Who Should Take the AWS Advanced Networking?

The AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty (ANS-C00) certification should be of value to professionals such as network architects, network engineers, and DevOps engineers, who are involved in designing, deploying and managing AWS cloud and hybrid network solutions. Especially in hybrid environments, the Advanced Networking – Specialty would be an ideal complement if you've already earned a cert such as the CCNA, the CCNP Enterprise, or even the CompTIA Network+.

Organizations that have already migrated or are considering migration to AWS based cloud solutions increasingly expect existing and prospective members of their AWS cloud team to have earned the AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty certification. Certified AN – Specialty roles can be found in end-user organizations and especially for consulting services firms, as they implement AWS solutions for their clients. Let's look at some of these jobs:

AWS Advanced Networking for AWS Cloud Networking Engineers

Candidates seeking AWS Cloud Networking Engineer or Network Specialist roles are expected to be experienced network professionals with 5 or more years of experience with secure, complex hybrid and AWS environments. It's likely that they'll have experience with—and be certified by—underlying network vendors such as Cisco.

AWS Cloud Networking Engineers (AWS CNE) typically will work within an extended cloud team from project initiation through the evaluation, design, deployment and ongoing support of core AWS networking and automation services within AWS. As a Cloud Networking Engineer, you're responsible for identifying and configuring overall network connectivity and security requirements. You'll also be monitoring them for capacity, performance, and threats, as the solution goes into production and ongoing operation.

If you’re an experienced network engineer — perhaps with a CCNA, CCNP, or similar general network cert — and want to validate your experience in an AWS or hybrid cloud environment, then we recommend that you consider studying for AWS certification and in particular the AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty.

AWS Advanced Networking for DevOps Cloud Engineers

DevOps is a hot button with many enterprise IT execs, as they look to deploy and maintain new solutions—faster, more smoothly, and with fewer resources. Within an AWS and/or hybrid cloud environment, the DevOps Cloud Engineer supports the design, development, and continuous delivery of cloud solutions and services. Their role includes driving the development of automated operation processes that are used to deploy the AWS cloud solutions.

This is a senior role and, as a DevOps Cloud Engineer, you will be expected to have upwards of five or more years of experience with network and AWS cloud infrastructure design and deployment. You'll probably already be certified as an AWS Certified Developer – Associate, or AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional.

A key aspect of the DevOps approach for a cloud solution is getting the underlying network infrastructure set up and optimized. As a DevOps Cloud Engineer, you'll be closely involved with AWS Direct Connect and VPN connectivity, as well as routing between AWS Virtual Private Clouds and other networks. For that reason, if you're a current or aspiring DevOps Engineer working with AWS, then the AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty cert should be on your personal development radar!

Is the AWS Advanced Networking Worth It?

The AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty cert is a relatively recent addition to the AWS certification family. As such, it's not as well-established as the professional-level AWS Certified Solutions Architect or AWS Certified DevOps Engineer certs, but it is certainly in gaining in recognition. You'll frequently see jobs specs that call for an architect or DevOps cert — OR the Advanced Networking – Specialty certification. Because Specialty certs are at the top tier of AWS certification, then you'll be in a competitive position if you're holding an Advanced Networking – Specialty badge!

As you'd expect, consulting services and integration firms are on the leading-edge of requiring their people to hold this advanced certification, as they seek to convince clients of their expertise.

Using AWS Advanced Networking to Learn Skills

So, you're already working in an AWS cloud solutions team and want to reach for the next step up! Now, you may be a NetAdmin, or you're one of the network specialists on the team! If you think you have rock-solid AWS and general networking skills and experience, then take a look at the AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty exam guide. Do a self-assessment and get a sense of where your knowledge or skills gaps may be! From there, you'll be able to figure out a plan of action. Maybe try asking your manager for additional opportunities to develop, perhaps with a plan for self-study and/or formal training.

Using AWS Advanced Networking to Validate Skills

You already have a role as a senior AWS Network Engineer, DevOps Engineer, or Solution Architect and you'd like to validate your skills and position yourself with executive management, then the AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty certification is a perfect addition to your resume. It will put you at the top of the AWS certification pyramid and demonstrate to management — at both current or prospective employers — that you have what it takes in terms of designing and managing sophisticated AWS and hybrid cloud networks.

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