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How to Start and AWS Career and Get AWS Certified

Do you want to take off your AWS career? Start by understanding their principles and career paths.

AWS Cloud professionals are in high demand, together with Microsoft Azure they are leading the cloud computing scenario. Most of the bigger enterprises keep both providers which means that IT professionals with knowledge in AWS and Azure are highly valuable. Considering that post-pandemic, cloud computing is the main skills that will be required from network professionals, an AWS career can guarantee you great options.

If you are considering starting in this area, we would recommend first to understand some basic AWS concepts before attending courses and sitting exams.

AWS Structure is based on the Well-Architected Framework, which has been developed to help cloud architects build secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient infrastructure for their applications. It is based on five pillars: Operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, and cost optimization.

1 - Operational Excellence

The mental model which rules the framework is based on automation. When you think about operational excellence in the cloud you need to consider that automation is the main guide to reduce human error and accelerate the process. Besides preventing human errors, automation can improve internal processes in a long-term vision, bringing best practices to reality.

In the operational excellence concept, the focus is:

Infrastructure as a code: Infrastructure as a code (IaC) is the process of managing your infrastructure through machine-readable configuration files. IaC is the foundation that allows for the automation of your infrastructure. Instead of manually provisioning services, you create templates that describe the resources you want. The IaC platform then takes care of provisioning and configuring the resources on your behalf.

Observability: is the process of measuring the internal state of your system. This is usually done to optimize it to some desired end state. You can't improve what you don't measure. Building a solid observability foundation gives you the ability to track the impact of your automation and continuously improve it.

2 - Security

In the AWS model security is a shared responsibility between AWS and the client. AWS is responsible for the security of the cloud. This includes the physical infrastructure, software, and networking capabilities of AWS cloud services. The customer is responsible for security in the cloud. This includes the configuration of specific cloud services, the application software, and the management of sensitive data.

Based on the zero-trust model, security in AWS is crucial, that is why all application components and services are considered discrete and potentially malicious entities. It means we need to apply security measures at all levels of our system. The following are three important concepts involved in securing systems with zero-trust in the cloud:

Identity and Access Management (IAM): IAM is the service responsible for tracking identities and access to a system. It is managed on AWS through the aptly named IAM service. Access is managed using IAM policies which enforce access boundaries for agents within AWS.

Network Security: it involves any system, configuration, or process which safeguards the access and usability of the network and network-accessible resources. AWS provides a wide breadth of features to secure your network, both at the network level and the resource level. A zero-trust approach to network security involves defense and an in-depth approach that applies security controls at all layers of your network (as opposed to just the outermost layer).

Data Encryption: Data encryption is the process of encoding information in such a way that it is unintelligible to any third party that does not possess the key necessary to decypher the data. Adopting a zero-trust model for data means encrypting our data everywhere, both in transit and at rest.

3 – Reliability

Enterprises are always looking for reliability, in the business model that we all live that is an essential topic, companies cannot afford the cost of technology failures. When considering moving to the cloud most businesses do it looking for reliability while the cloud gives companies the means to build resilient services that can withstand disruption, it requires that the client plan their services with reliability in mind. That is why it is essential to have qualified tech professionals on the client’s side as well.

For this pillar, AWS uses the blast radius concept, which is the maximum impact that might be sustained in the event of a system failure. To build reliable systems, you want to minimize the blast radius of any individual component. Two things are essential to be considered in this topic.

Fault Isolation: Fault isolation limits the blast radius of an incident by using redundant independent components separated through fault isolation zones. Fault isolation zones contain the impact of any failures to the area within the zone.

Limits: They are constraints that can be applied to protect the services from excessive load. They are an effective means of limiting the blast radius from both external (e.g.,DDoS attack) and internal (e.g., software misconfiguration) incidents.

AWS services have service-specific limits on a per-account per-region basis. These limits are also known as service quotas. These are maximum values for certain resources, actions, and items in your AWS account.

4 – Performance Efficiency

This pillar focuses on how companies can run services efficiently and scalably in the cloud. While the cloud gives the means to handle any amount of traffic, it requires that clients choose and configure their services with scale in mind.

In the on-premises model of doing things, servers were expensive and often manually deployed and configured. It could take weeks before a server was delivered and physically plugged into your data center. In the cloud way of thinking about servers, they represent commodity resources that can be automatically provisioned in seconds. No single server should be essential to the operation of the service.

The two concepts below need to be considered for performance efficiency.

Selection: on AWS selection is the ability to choose the service that most closely aligns with your workload. Achieving performance through selection means being able to choose the right tool for the job. The typical workload usually requires selection across some number of the four main service categories in AWS: Compute, Storage, Database, and Network.

Scaling: While choosing the right service is key to getting started, choosing how its scales are important to continued performance. AWS has two primary means of scaling: vertical and horizontal. Vertical scaling involves upgrading your underlying compute to a bigger instance type. Horizontal scaling on the other hand involves increasing the number of underlying instances.

5 – Cost Optimization

After all, it is everything about cost and how to make the most with less cost impact for the enterprise. When thinking about the cloud model structure, companies need to think about their costs as OpEx model, which stands for on-going pay as you go. Traditional IT costs on on-premises data centers have been mostly CapEx, which means a one-time purchase model, where you pay for everything upfront regardless of what the company will end up using. Cloud computing providers can be much more flexible in relation to cost as they consider your current needs.

Because you only pay for what you use, any excess capacity can simply be stopped and terminated. When you do decide to use a service, provisioning can be done in the order of seconds and minutes.

How to Become an AWS Expert

In the graph below you can see a sum-up of how AWS has built their career path. It is a role-based model making it easier to reflect the market. Their recommended experience can vary according to everyone’s experience, IT pros already dealing with Cloud technologies will probably need less time to cover the level and will be able to speed up the process.

AWS Career Path

* Sources used in the above article:

AWS Courses at New Horizons Ireland

At New Horizons Ireland we offer a wide range of AWS courses to prepare you to achieve your AWS certification. Find below the list of courses and the referred exams. If you are not sure which path would be more suitable for you, contact one of our Account Managers, they are ready to provide you with the best IT career advice.

AWS CERTIFIED CLOUD PRACTITIONER

Take one of these courses:

Exam: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

AWS CERTIFIED SOLUTIONS ARCHITECT – ASSOCIATE

Take one of these courses:

Exam: ​AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

AWS CERTIFIED SOLUTIONS ARCHITECT – PROFESSIONAL

Take one of these courses:

Exam: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

AWS CERTIFIED DEVELOPER – ASSOCIATE

Take these courses:

Exam: ​AWS Certified Developer – Associate

AWS CERTIFIED SYSOPS ADMINISTRATOR – ASSOCIATE

Take one of these courses:

Exam: AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate

AWS CERTIFIED DEVOPS ENGINEER – PROFESSIONAL

Take one of these courses:

Exam: AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional

AWS CERTIFIED BIG DATA – SPECIALTY

Take this course:

Exam: AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty

AWS CERTIFIED SECURITY – SPECIALTY

Take this course:

Exam: AWS Certified Security – Specialty

Do you want to know how can you start in AWS or any other cloud computing career path? Contact one of our Account Managers, they have plenty of experience providing IT career advice. 

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