I got a question recently from someone who purchased my Learn AWS By Using It course. They purchased the course a few months ago and used it to help them pass their AWS Solutions Architect exam. They wanted to know what changes once you have an AWS certification.
It's an interesting question. Getting a certification is often meant to further your career. But this question got me thinking, how has my day to day work changed since becoming certified? When framed that way, I was actually able to trace back through some evolutions.
These are of course my own experiences and unique to me. That said, perhaps they can help you in your career as well.
Before becoming certified I spent a lot of my day in the weeds of code. I was either fixing bugs or building new features (and introducing new bugs, let's be honest). My focus was down in the details. I didn't often think about the larger scale or consider different architectures.
Since becoming a Professional Solutions Architect I am still down in the weeds of code every day. But, having a lot of interest in AWS has given me the ability to think bigger picture. I have learned that I enjoy working at an architecture level. When you are thinking about how to architect a solution to a problem, you get to look at it from all kinds of different angles. Whereas when we are down in the code of the problem, it's often hard to take on those different perspectives.
I attribute this context switch to my interest in Amazon Web Services. I enjoy reading about and learning how to leverage new services to build new solutions to complex problems. Sometimes it's not even about new services, but rather using existing services in a new way.
So, how does getting an AWS Certification fit into all this?
Becoming certified takes a lot of studying. You have to know what services exist and what their purpose is. You also have to know how to stitch together services to build solutions to more complex problems.
Becoming a certified Professional Solutions Architect has given me the tools to do both those tasks. This has benefitted my day to day work because folks come to me with problems they need help solving in AWS. By having the certification and the studying/knowledge to back it, I am now a resource within a team. A resource that may not have existed before. Now I can contribute to higher-level discussions and ideas surrounding bigger goals.
This isn't a generic example and will vary based on your own experience, work ethic, etc. It doesn't mean I spend my entire day architecting things. At the end of the day, software gets built to solve business problems, so my day to day focus is on that. But, sometimes we need to architect new solutions. Sometimes we need to rearchitect existing solutions to better solve the business problem. At those times being an expert in Amazon Web Services is beneficial. It provides a knowledge base others can lean on to build those solutions in the most cloud-native way.
This isn't a post trying to convince you to get an AWS certification. You can, and many people are, successful without one. You can design and implement fantastic solutions within AWS without one.
But, if you are new to cloud computing or Amazon Web Services. Getting a certification might be a great way to build up your knowledge base. If your not new to those concepts, it can still be great as well. You never know what kinds of services, best practices, or patterns you might pick up while studying for the exams.
I am a huge fan of the DEV community. If you have any questions or want to chat about AWS certifications, reach out on Twitter or drop a comment below.
Outside of blogging, I created a Learn AWS By Using It course. In the course, we focus on learning Amazon Web Services by actually using it to host, secure, and deliver static websites. It's a simple problem, with many solutions, but it's perfect for ramping up your understanding of AWS. I recently added two new bonus chapters to the course that focus on Infrastructure as Code and Continuous Deployment.
Want to grab a copy of the course to accelerate your learning of AWS? Enter the coupon code getawscert35 at checkout and get 35% off.