Last updated: 2020-02-11

I’ll be updating my AWS articles from time to time, as I learn more. I got my first cert — the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification — on January 22nd, but as I took the practice exams (5 exams, 2x each) and the actual exam, I learned about gaps in my knowledge. So I’ll be filling those in through the articles I wrote beforehand.

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam is the most basic AWS certification you could obtain. It certifies that you have a basic knowledge of the core features and benefits of AWS. It’s a great kickoff point if you want to work towards other AWS certifications.

I’ve never had a high opinion of certifications in my field. Most exams seemed to better gauge how good someone is at taking tests or memorizing facts than actually displaying understanding and knowledge. But the AWS exams appear different, and seemed to be designed to be a lot more representative of someone’s knowledge and understanding.

It’s been many years since I’ve actively pursued a certification, but at this point in my career I feel becoming certified in AWS (and cloud computing, in general) is worth the time and effort. The benefits of cloud computing is enormous, and is the most game-changing development since I entered the field. I’ve forced myself to make use of AWS and Azure just to remain current, and to make better solution choices.

In order to pass the most basic AWS exam, we have to be well aware of these benefits:

  • Cloud computing allows businesses to trade capital expenses for variable operational expenses.
  • We can take advantage of massive economies of scale. By sharing costs with other AWS users, machine cycles are used much more efficiently, saving all of us an enormous amount of money.
  • We no longer have to guess our capacity needs ahead of time. We can quickly start small, and by analyzing our usage and needs (including assistance from the AWS Trusted Advisor and Cost Explorer ) we can easily scale up (and down) as-needed, both manually and automatically. This is one of my favorite benefits.
  • There are no long-term contracts, although there are ways to save even more money by committing to 1 or 3 year contracts for certain resources.
  • As you can tell, cloud computing gives us tremendous increase of speed and agility. Small (even single-person) teams can quickly test and implement solutions that were impossible or cost-restrictive just a decade or so ago.
  • We can go global in mere minutes by deploying and replicating our solutions across regions.
  • Not only are the costs of starting up incredibly small (even free for the first year), we no longer have to pay for running and maintaining our own data centers. From experience, I can’t even begin to express how huge this benefit is. We can focus on business solutions instead of constantly worrying about infrastructure, which was a full-time job in itself.

As I work towards my certifications, I’m going to be writing a series of articles. This will help me prepare for the exams (and for better understanding and using AWS). But I hope this will also help you work towards those same goals. Right now, cloud computing expertise is in great demand, and it is still so hard to find experts. This can be a huge boost for anyone’s tech career, no matter if you have an IT or developer background. If you always considered yourself a well-rounded tech person who is often involved in development, architecture, and implementation of solutions, becoming a DevOp is a natural next step.

My subsequent posts may be delayed as I create several of them while I work towards my certs, and I’ll post them fairly quickly once I’m done. I want to make sure my subsequent posts are well thought-out and accurate before I post them.

It’s been a few years since I last created a blog post (so many reasons), and I think this is a good time to kick things off again.

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