This post was originally created when the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam was in beta, and has been updated with additional information since it has become an official AWS certification.
Every journey starts somewhere, and for AWS, that starting point is the sole Foundational-level certification — AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner.
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner provides you with a high-level introduction to AWS. It doesn’t go deep on any particular service, and instead focuses on the general structure of AWS and some working knowledge of what the major services do.
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Who is the Intended Audience?
The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam is geared toward absolute beginners on the technical side, as well as business professionals — project and product managers, finance resources, and executives — who are looking to build familiarity with AWS, but don’t need to earn an associate-level AWS certification. In other words, people who work among the cloud, but won’t be getting hands-on with actual implementation and deployment.
AWS recommends that you have at least six months of experience with AWS in any role, and a basic understanding of IT services and their uses in the AWS Cloud platform.
That’s probably playing it a bit safe, so treat the six months of experience as a suggestion, not a prerequisite. Though if you are absolutely new to the cloud, we do recommend that you go through our free 1-hour course, Introduction to AWS. It’s a great way to get up to speed quickly on basic cloud concepts.
If you already hold an AWS certification (at either the Associate or Professional level), you aren’t eligible for this exam. If you know your way around AWS but aren’t certified yet, the CCP could be a good warm-up before pursuing Associate-level certifications. Still, it is mostly intended for newcomers.
The Scope of the Exam
The exam covers the following domains:
Cloud Concepts – 28%
Define the AWS Cloud and its value proposition — Identify aspects of AWS Cloud economics — List different cloud architecture design principles
Security – 24%
Define the AWS Shared Responsibility model — Define AWS Cloud security and compliance concepts — Identify AWS access management capabilities — Identify resources for security support
Technology – 36%
Define methods of deploying and operating in AWS Cloud — Define the AWS Global Infrastructure — Identify core AWS services — Identify resources for technology support
Billing and Pricing – 12%
Compare and contrast various pricing models for AWS — Recognize various account structures in relation to AWS billing and pricing — Identify resources available for billing support.
This breakdown generally holds with what we’ve experienced sitting the exam, though Billing and Pricing seems to account for more than the indicated 12% of the questions.
In the exams we’ve sat, we’ve seen questions covering:
- AWS Global Infrastructure (AWS Regions, Availability Zones, Edge Locations)
- AWS architectural principles
- AWS value proposition
- Key AWS services and their common use cases
- The AWS Shared Responsibility Model
- The AWS Console
- IAM (Identity Access Manager)
- AWS storage services and use cases (S3, Glacier, etc.)
- 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
- AWS support tiers and resources
- Security best practices (IAM, S3)
- The AWS Marketplace
The nuts and bolts
The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam consists of 65 multiple-choice, multiple-answer questions to be completed in 90 minutes. The exam costs $100 USD (or regional equivalent), and is available in English, Japanese, Korean, and Simplified Chinese.
To register, go to the AWS Training and Certification portal, and click “Schedule New Exam.”
What’s after CCP?
Once you pass your AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam, what’s next?
First, be sure to upload your certification to your cloud profile. It’s super-easy and a great way to demonstrate your growing cloud proficiency.
From AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, most students proceed into the AWS Associate-level certifications — Solutions Architect, Developer, and SysOps Administrator.
You can also embark on one of our Learning Paths, which are designed to take you step-by-step from novice to expert in your chosen career track. All you have to do is select the path that aligns to your career goals and follow along.