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Scott Pletcher
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AWS SysOps Associate (SOA-C02) FAQs: Cost, Training, Value

What's on the SOA-C02 and how hard of an exam is it? (include passing score)

The SOA-C02 is the certifying exam for the associate-level AWS certification SysOps Associate. Broadly speaking, the SOA-C02 tests about a year of professional experience with deployment, management, security, networking, and security on AWS. AWS removed the lab portion in March 2023 (temporarily as of the time of this writing), the SOA-C02 is considered by many to be the hardest associate-level certification exam that AWS offers, mostly due to its breadth.

What's the difference between SOA-C01 and SOA-C02?

Amazon replaced the AWS SysOps Associate certifying exam SOA-C01 with SOA-C02 in July 2021. Comparing them side-by-side, the biggest differences between SOA-C01 and SOA-C02 is that SOA-C02 has fewer domains or subjects tested, and AWS added a practical lab exam portion. In March 2023, Amazon suspended the practical lab portion of the exam, so the main difference between the two is an emphasis on the practical skills related to administration.

Is the AWS SysOps Associate certification worth earning?

Yes, absolutely – the AWS SysOps Associate certification is a well-respected representation of your comfort and experience with managing an AWS cloud instance, and employers recognize it as a mark of professionalism. The SysOps Associate challenges your familiarity with every part of deploying, managing and operating AWS workloads while securing them and maintaining compliance. Earning it is a worthwhile way of proving your comfort broadly in the cloud and specifically with AWS.

How much does it cost to earn the SysOps Associate? (and how long does it take)

It costs at least $150 to earn the SysOps Associate, and the time it takes can range anywhere from a few weeks to several months. There's only one exam for the SysOps Associate, SOA-C02, which is a two-hour exam with 65 questions, and it costs $150 to attempt it. Your experience with managing and administering cloud operations and your comfort in the AWS cloud shape the time it'll take to prepare.

What does it mean to be a SysOps associate?

In the simplest possible terms, a SysOps Associate is a business or organization's local expert on keeping their cloud infrastructure and applications running smoothly. An AWS SysOps Associate is a cloud administrator who manages and operates systems on the AWS platform, with an emphasis on reliability, security and efficiency. They're responsible for deploying, configuring, and maintaining AWS services, monitoring system health, optimizing performance, troubleshooting issues and implementing security measures.
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