Certifications are intended to validate the skills and expertise of the solution architects. They assess their knowledge, abilities, and experience. So, having one or more credentials proves the expert’s proficiency in specific skills.
Most of the certification platforms, besides the exam itself, offer training courses, learning materials, and practice tests. Other resources can also be helpful to prepare and practice such as Udemy, Coursera, or MeasureUp. However, the exam can be taken without previous preparation.
All that is required is deep knowledge of the architecture concepts and principles and a vast hands-on experience in the industry.
There are a lot of IT architect certifications available, with most of them being vendor-specific, i.e., focused on mastering a specific technology. Here’s a brief overview of the most popular ones.
AWS solution architect certification
The AWS Certified Solutions Architect program offers certifications at associate and professional levels, depending on your experience. Both of them target architects that work with AWS technologies to build and deploy applications and systems.
The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam takes 130 minutes and costs $150. Amazon recommends candidates have at least 1 year of hands-on experience before taking the test. Here’s a list of the main content domains of this exam:
The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional exam is for senior architects with 2 or more years of experience and an associate credential. It takes 180 minutes to complete, and it’s priced at $300. Here’s a content outline:
AWS certifications are valid for 3 years after which the credential holders have to go through recertification to prove their continued expertise and knowledge of the latest AWS technologies and best practices.
Azure solution architect certification
Microsoft has a variety of credentials for solution architects, the most well-known being the Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert. This one is for candidates that specialize in solutions that run on Microsoft Azure and have advanced knowledge of Azure infrastructure.
The Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification can be obtained after taking two exams: AZ-303: Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies and AZ-304: Microsoft Azure Architect Design (previously AZ-300 and AZ-301). The price for each of them is based on the country in which the exam is proctored ($165 for the United States).
Here’s an overview of the skills measured by these tests. In a nutshell, AZ-303 is focused on technical tasks, such as:
- implement and monitor an Azure infrastructure,
- implement management and security solutions,
- implement solutions for apps, and
- implement and manage data platforms.
The content of AZ-304 is assessing such skills as:
- design monitoring,
- design identity and security,
- design data storage,
- design business continuity, and
- design infrastructure.
Google cloud architect certification
Google also offers a number of role-based certifications. Professional Cloud Architect is the one for experts who use Google Cloud technologies in their solutions. For the second year in a row, it is the highest-paying IT certification, according to the survey by Global Knowledge. Again, it’s not only for solution architects, but for any professional dealing with Google cloud architecture.
The exam is 2 hours long with a registration fee of $200. Google recommends at least 3 years of experience before one attempts to take the test. It’s also important to remember that it requires recertification every two years. The exam guide (as well as learning materials and sample questions) is available and lists 6 aspects of the exam:
- Designing and planning a cloud solution architecture;
- Managing and provisioning a solution infrastructure;
- Designing for security and compliance;
- Analyzing and optimizing technical and business processes;
- Managing implementation; and
- Ensuring solution and operations reliability.