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Looking to advance your career in cloud computing? The AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Professional Certificate is a 4-course series that prepares you for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam. Ideal for those with some AWS experience, the program covers everything from basic cloud principles to complex data lake designs. With a flexible schedule and a focus on hands-on learning, it's a solid investment for aspiring and current IT professionals, including solutions architects and cloud engineers. This credential not only validates your AWS expertise but also opens doors to new career opportunities, and the certificate program on Coursera is among the best ways to prepare for it.
If you’re navigating the complex landscape of cloud computing, you’ve likely encountered Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is one of the dominant players in the field. The AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Professional Certificate on Coursera aims to deepen your understanding of AWS cloud architecture, preparing you for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Certification exam. This is a 4-course series that takes you on a journey from the fundamentals of cloud computing to the intricacies of designing data lakes and architectural solutions on AWS. Let’s see how well this program does in practice.
Table of Contents
First, let’s clear up one crucial point: completing this Coursera series earns you a certificate of completion from Coursera but not the AWS certification itself. The AWS certification requires a separate exam and fee. This Coursera program serves as a comprehensive preparatory course for that exam, covering the necessary topics and providing hands-on exercises to get you exam-ready.
Another important point to keep in mind is that while the program on Coursera is a “Professional Certificate,” the AWS exam it helps you prepare for is the “Associate” exam – not the “Professional” exam.
The program is designed for those with some prior experience in AWS or cloud computing, although the first course provides foundational knowledge, making it accessible even if you’re relatively new to the field. Whether you’re an aspiring solutions architect, a cloud engineer, or an IT professional looking to expand your skill set, this course series offers valuable insights and practical skills in AWS cloud architecture.
The syllabus is extensive, covering everything from key AWS services for compute, storage, and databases to advanced topics like designing data lakes and architectural solutions. The course is specifically tailored to AWS services, which might not offer a broad perspective on cloud architecture. However, this focus is understandable, given that it’s a preparatory course for an AWS-specific certification.
The production value is high, as you’d expect from a course affiliated with Amazon Web Services. The program includes 15 hands-on labs, offering practical experience in AWS Management Console. These labs are designed to apply the skills learned in the videos, such as building a serverless web backend in the Architecting Solutions on AWS course or designing a 3-tier architecture in the Cloud Technical Essentials course. They are tightly integrated with AWS’s ecosystem, reinforcing the course’s focus on preparing you for AWS certification.
To fully prepare for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam, it is recommended to supplement this professional certificate with additional resources like the free exam guide, sample questions, and AWS technical documentation. Overall, the course serves as a robust preparatory program for those aiming to get AWS certified, offering both foundational and advanced knowledge in AWS cloud architecture.
The AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Professional Certificate is labeled as an intermediate-level course, but it also claims, ‘No prior experience required to get started.’ This seeming contradiction is resolved by the foundational first course, which introduces a broad range of AWS services, making it accessible for absolute beginners. In fact, some background in cloud computing would be beneficial, especially since the program aims to prepare you for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam. According to Amazon, the exam itself “does not require deep hands-on coding experience, although familiarity with basic programming concepts would be an advantage.”
The course is taught by AWS experts, providing credible and up-to-date instruction. Their expertise helps in simplifying complex cloud concepts.
In-depth content review
The syllabus does its job by diving deep into key AWS topics, from the Well-Architected Framework to data storage. It is clearly designed to get you ready for the AWS certification exam, and you can tell the course materials are kept current. The teaching methods are solid—think clearly presented videos and hands-on labs to let you apply what you’ve learned. Overall, the level is appropriate, but a couple of the exercises could be ramped up a bit to match the level of the AWS certification exam.
If you’re planning to follow the program, it’s a good idea to go through the courses in the order they’re listed. Let’s discuss each course individually to explore its features and learning outcomes.
- AWS Cloud Technical Essentials
- Architecting Solutions on AWS
- Introduction to Designing Data Lakes on AWS
- Exam Prep: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
Course 1 – AWS Cloud Technical Essentials
The first course in the AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Professional Certificate series, “AWS Cloud Technical Essentials,” serves as an excellent starting point for anyone looking to build a career in cloud architecture, specifically focusing on Amazon Web Services. It offers a foundational grasp of essential AWS services, including database, networking, monitoring, and security. If you’re a beginner without a technical background, it’s recommended to complete AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials before diving in.
The instructors effectively guide you through AWS basics, setting you up for success in later courses. The course has five modules covering topics from security, networking, and databases, with additional resources. It employs a mix of video lectures, hands-on labs, and quizzes, which not only test your understanding but also prep you for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam.
A standout aspect is its focus on the AWS Well-Architected Framework, which is key for creating efficient and high-performing AWS solutions. It sets a strong foundation for candidates aiming to optimize AWS architectures. With around 25 hours of content, this course serves as a strong starting point for those aiming for AWS certification.
Course 2 – Architecting Solutions on AWS
The second course in the series – “Architecting Solutions on AWS,” is aimed at an intermediate audience. With a duration of one to four weeks, it’s a course that doesn’t overstay its welcome but packs in a lot of valuable information.
The course dives deep into the nitty-gritty of AWS services, focusing on how to design scalable and reliable architectures. It covers a range of topics, from cloud storage and computing to cloud applications and infrastructure. The course is particularly strong in its hands-on approach, offering labs that allow you to implement the architectures you learn about. This practical aspect is invaluable for anyone looking to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios.
The instructors are from Amazon Web Services, which adds a layer of credibility to the course. However, this affiliation also means that the course can sometimes feel like an extended introduction to AWS services. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but something to be aware of if you’re looking for a more neutral perspective.
One area where the course could improve is in offering more challenging exercises that align with the complexity of the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional exam. Overall, it’s a solid course for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of AWS architecture, but it might require supplementary material for those aiming to pass the more advanced AWS exams.
Course 3 - Introduction to Designing Data Lakes on AWS
A robust addition to the AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Professional Certificate series, the ‘Introduction to Designing Data Lakes on AWS’ is an intermediate-level course, filling in the gaps on a topic that’s increasingly vital in today’s data-driven world. That said, it is a focused exploration of AWS data lakes, equipping you with the skills to manage and analyze big data.
If you’re navigating the maze of big data and cloud computing, this program is a deep dive into the world of data lakes on AWS. It’s tailored for those with some cloud computing background, but if you’re a newcomer, don’t fret—just consider taking some foundational AWS courses first.
There are four modules in this course. It starts by demystifying data lakes and their role compared to databases. It then guides you through the AWS tools essential for data lake architecture, such as Amazon S3 and AWS Glue. You’ll explore data ingestion and cataloging, learning when and how to process data with services like Amazon Kinesis. The course wraps up by focusing on data optimization, security, and visualization, giving you a comprehensive understanding of AWS data lakes. The instructors, who are AWS experts, do a commendable job of demystifying data management and warehousing. However, if you’re aiming for higher-level AWS certifications, you might find yourself craving more advanced exercises.
Course 4 - Exam Prep: AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate
The “Exam Prep: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate” course serves as the final stepping stone in the AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Professional Certificate program. Designed for an intermediate audience, this course is particularly beneficial for those who have already undergone training in AWS architecture and have at least a year of hands-on experience in designing cloud application architectures on AWS.
The course aims to guide learners through the maze of topics that the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam covers. It meticulously outlines the key objectives and subject areas that the exam focuses on, providing a structured pathway for exam preparation. While the course is comprehensive, I would not recommend you view this as the only one-stop solution for passing the AWS certification exam. You should consider examining additional resources, such as AWS’s technical documentation, free exam guides, and sample questions, to ensure a well-rounded preparation.
One of the course’s strengths lies in its structured approach to exam preparation. It doesn’t just throw information at you; instead, it organizes the material in a way that makes the learning process more manageable. However, this course is not a substitute for the broader study and hands-on practice that the AWS certification demands. While this course is a crucial component of the AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Professional Certificate program, it should be complemented with self-study and real-world experience to fully prepare for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam.
What do others say?
Opinions about Coursera’s AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Professional Certificate are diverse. On Coursera, some learners commend the course for its depth and well-structured content, while others express concerns about the pace and complexity of certain exercises. Your mileage with this course may vary based on your background and your level of commitment to this certificate.
External reviews from platforms like Reddit and Class Central corroborate these points. A common recommendation is to supplement the course with AWS’s technical documentation and practice exams to ensure a well-rounded preparation for the AWS certification exam. This aligns with the general consensus that while the course is a valuable resource and has its merits, it should not be the sole avenue for your exam preparation.
Is the AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Professional Certificate worth the cost?
The Coursera’s AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Professional Certificate requires the completion of 4 courses and exam prep, taking around two months at a study pace of 10 hours per week. For those who are planning to enroll, accessing the certificate program costs $39 USD per month, for a total of $78 for the two months – and you can start with a 7-day free trial. The course is somewhat pricey, especially considering that it’s essentially preparing you for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect exam that you need to pay for separately – but by completing the Professional Certificate, you may be eligible for a discount voucher for the AWS certification exam. But if you’re invested in a career in AWS cloud architecture, it will most likely be worth it.
Note that this program is also included in the Coursera Plus subscription plan, costing $59 per month, totaling $118 for the entire duration. You can also have a week’s trial, along with access to multiple other Coursera courses.
While full access to the program is not free, like for most Coursera courses, you can always audit the course material, but without access to exercises or a certificate of completion.
Alternatives and complements to this certificate
While Coursera’s AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Professional Certificate is a great option, it’s worth mentioning that there are alternative routes to preparing for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam. Some individuals may opt for self-study using AWS documentation and whitepapers, or they may choose other online courses and resources that cover the same topics. Other courses might better suit your specific needs or preferences.
If you want some in-depth in the AWS field, then Udemy’s Ultimate AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate is an option for those preparing for the AWS exam. It covers a wide range of topics and includes practice exams, making it a good alternative for those who prefer Udemy’s one-time payment model over Coursera’s subscription. It does not offer labs or other hands-on exercises, however.
For those seeking a more affordable comprehensive course, a better option could be the AWS Exam Prep: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate on edX. While shorter, it covers similar topics and prepares you for the AWS Associate exam, but at a somewhat lower price.
However, if I were to recommend one course that stands out in terms of depth, hands-on experience, and alignment with industry needs, it would undoubtedly be Coursera’s AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Professional Certificate.
Conclusion and recommendation
In closing, Coursera’s AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Professional Certificate serves as a comprehensive guide for those aiming to specialize in AWS cloud architecture. The program is well-designed, offering a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical exercises led by industry professionals. It covers a wide array of AWS services and best practices, emphasizing the skills that are most relevant in today’s industry.
While the course is a valuable resource, it’s important to note its limitations. The program, although thorough, is not a standalone preparation route for AWS certification. Additional self-study and real-world experience are essential to fully prepare for the exam. Furthermore, the course is best suited for those who already have some foundational knowledge in cloud computing, making it less ideal for complete beginners.
In a landscape where cloud architecture skills are increasingly in demand, this Coursera program stands out as a robust educational resource. It equips learners with the tools they need to navigate the complex world of AWS while also highlighting the areas where additional focus is needed. Whether you’re already familiar with AWS or are planning to dive into it, this course can serve as a significant stepping stone in your professional journey.