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What We Learned: Sitting the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Beta Exam

By Ryan Kroonenburg  |  November 21, 2017  |   Certification   |  

 This post has been updated with additional insights from our second set of team members to sit the exam, as well as new information directly from AWS…


AWS is now offering a new certification exam in Beta: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. And although AWS hasn't yet published an official Exam Blueprint, we sat the exam this morning.

Here's what we learned about its scope and intended audience. 

Who is the Intended Audience?

Available only from new testing partner PSI, the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam is geared for absolute beginners on the technical side, as well as for professionals on the business side of things -- project and product managers, finance resources, and executives -- who are looking to build familiarity with AWS, but do not need or cannot invest the time required to earn an associate-level AWS certification.

The exam, modeled closely on the AWS Technical Professional and AWS Business Professional accreditations offered by the Amazon Partner Network (APN), covers the following domains:

  • AWS Core Services

  • AWS Architecture and Solutions

  • Billing
  • Security and Compliance

The APN accreditations are intended for non-technical professionals who need to know about cloud, but not necessarily to work directly with AWS services. And now, these accreditations have been reworked into a certification available to everyone.

The Scope of the Exam

When we took the exam earlier this morning, we saw questions covering:

  • The AWS Global Infrastructure (AWS Regions and Availability Zones)
  • The Shared Responsibility Model 
  • The AWS Console
  • IAM
  • EC2 use cases, comparison of EC2 vs. on-premise servers, AutoScaling, the use of On-Demand Instances vs. Spot Instances vs. Reserved Instances)
  • AWS Relational Database Service (RDS)
  • AWS Cost Control (AWS Organizations, Consolidated Billing, using Alarms, and Resource tagging)
  • TCO and Cloud Economics (data center migrations, etc.)
  • Trusted Advisor
  • Security best practices (IAM, S3)
  • The AWS Marketplace 

If you already hold an AWS Certification (at either the Associate or Professional level), you aren't eligible to sit this exam. However, if you don't yet hold an AWS certification, this exam may serve you well as a tune-up for the Certified Solutions Architect - Associate exam.

To register, go to the AWS Training and Certification portal, and click "Schedule New Exam."

Pasted image at 2017_09_18 07_53 PM

The Nuts and Bolts

The Certified Cloud Practitioner Beta exam costs $50 or regional equivalent, and there are 70 multiple-choice questions to be completed in 110 minutes. AWS say that those sitting the Beta exam should receive their results in the first quarter of 2018.

We're now at work developing a course specific to this new certification, so watch this space for updates....

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*Update from AWS:

Since this post was originally published, AWS have released the Certified Cloud Practitioner description and Exam Blueprint.

In a nutshell, here's what they say:

The AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification Examination (CLF-C01) is intended for individuals who have the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively demonstrate an overall understanding of the AWS Cloud, independent of specific technical roles addressed by other AWS Certifications (e.g., Solutions Architect Associate, Developer Associate, Systems Operations Associate, etc.).

The four Domains addressed in the certification are:

  1. Cloud Concepts
  2. Security
  3. Technology (I wonder whether they could be any less specific?)
  4. Billing and Pricing

According to AWS, this exam validates an examinee's ability to:

  • Define what the AWS Cloud is and the basic global infrastructure;
  • Describe the key services on the AWS Platform and their common use cases (e.g., compute, analytics, etc.);
  • Describe basic AWS Cloud architectural principles;
  • Describe basic security and compliance aspects of the AWS platform and the shared security model;
  • Define the billing, account management, and pricing models;
  • Identify sources of documentation or technical assistance (e.g., white papers, support tickets, etc.);
  • Describe the AWS Cloud value proposition; and,
  • Describe basic/core characteristics of deploying and operating in the AWS Cloud.


Of special note in this documentation is the fact that, once the exam is out of Beta (if that does happen), an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification will serve as a prerequisite for either of the AWS Certified Specialty exams. So, if you're interested in eventually sitting the Certified Big Data Specialty or Certified Advanced Networking Specialty exams, this new certification is a possible starting point. (This juicy bit of information is buried in the last paragraph of the "Beta Exam FAQs" tab of this page.) 

A Cloud Guru recommends our Certified Solutions Architect - Associate course if you're going to sit this exam. It will more than address the exam requirements, and will pave the way to an AWS certification that will aid you in levelling-up your career.Further updates: Now that the exam is out of Beta, we recommend our AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner course to thoroughly prepare for this exam.

Keep being awesome, Cloud Gurus! 

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