As promised, here is the 4th free ExamPro AWS Certification course. This course prepares you to earn the coveted AWS SysOps Admin Associate Certification.

We now have free courses for 4 out of the 12 AWS Certifications:

  1. πŸš€ AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
  2. πŸš€ AWS Solutions Architect Associate
  3. πŸš€ AWS Developer Associate
  4. AWS SysOps Administrator Associate (the full course link is at the bottom of this article – but I hope you'll read this article first πŸ˜‰)
  5. AWS Solutions Architect Professional (coming soon)
  6. AWS DevOps Engineer Professional (coming soon)
  7. AWS Machine Learning Speciality (coming soon)
  8. AWS Security Speciality (coming soon)
  9. AWS Advanced Networking Speciality (coming soon)
  10. AWS Alexa Skill Builder Specialty (coming soon)
  11. AWS Data Analytics Specialty (coming soon)
  12. AWS Databases Specialty (coming soon)

What Is The AWS SysOps Administrator Associate Certification?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has 3 Associate Certifications:

  1. Solutions Architect (most popular)
  2. SysOps Administrator (most technical)
  3. Developer (most practical)
An overview of AWS certifications.

The AWS SysOps Associate is the most popular entry-level certification into a DevOps cloud role.

Along the way, you'll gain practical DevOps knowledge for the three most essential skills:

  • Cloud Networking
  • Monitoring
  • Automation and Management

Who Is The AWS SysOps Admin Associate For?

This certification is for people who enjoy highly technical work like building and maintaining systems more than they enjoy programming. (If you particularly enjoy programming, DevOps roles may be a better fit for you.)

SysOps is the kind of work where you configure Windows or Linux servers:

  • You deal with networking (think routers, switches, and IP Addresses).
  • You installing software packages for developers.
  • You investigate and solve problems.

The amount of programming knowledge you need to enter the DevOps field, by comparison, is much more than a SysOps, but much less than a Developer. You would need to know:

  • How to work with JSON, YAML and configuration files
  • Bash or PowerShell scripting
  • How to work with some programming languages but only to configure SDKs in a straightforward copy-and-paste way

There are many DevOps specialization roles, so there are many opportunities for growth or future career transition.

The AWS Certification Roadmap: Start with the Certified Cloud Practitioner, advance to the SysOps Administrator Associate, then DevOps Engineer Professional, then one of many elective certifications.

What is a Systems Operations Administrator (SysOps Admin)?

Also known as a Junior DevOps Engineer or Cloud Support Engineer, this role is responsible for reacting to incidents, monitoring and maintaining the existing infrastructure that was architected by a DevOps Engineer.

A SysOps Admin will receive tickets of work (also known as operational items) they need to complete. Such tasks could include:

  • patching a server with the latest updates
  • debugging production errors relating to the infrastructure
  • improving the performance and optimizing the cost of infrastructure
  • writing automation scripts to perform tasks on remote servers
  • creating servers and various resources for Cloud Engineers or Web Developers to use.

A SysOps Admin is also the first line of defense when something goes wrong with cloud infrastructure. It's common for SysOps Admin to respond during off-hours if an unexpected incident arises.

What is a DevOps Engineer?

A DevOps Engineer is a proactive role and focuses on the automation and grand architecting of complex infrastructure systems.

DevOps Engineers build the foundational infrastructure that will be maintained by SysOps Admins.

Such tasks a DevOps Engineers might do include:

  • Create runbooks or operational playbooks that will be used by SysOps Admins in the case of an incident
  • Looking for ways to automate the work that a SysOps performs to free them up for other more demanding tasks
  • Creating Infrastructure as Code (IaC) so that entire complex systems can be created and destroyed quickly.

Here's a quick, simplified way to understand the two roles:

  • SysOps manage operations and manage systems
  • DevOps manage operations and develop those systems

Many people start in an entry-level SysOps role and then move on to DevOps roles as their career progresses.

Which AWS Services You Should Give Special Attention To as a SysOps Admin?

CloudWatch

CloudWatch is a collection of services that relate to monitoring. This may be the most critical service to learn for SysOps Admin since "Monitoring and Reporting" are worth 22% of the final exam score.

There are nine CloudWatch services, but the ones that require special attention are Logs, Metrics, Events and Alarms.

Events are so important that AWS has turned CloudWatch Events into its robust service now called EventBridge.

Cloud Networking

Cloud Networking is the concept of how servers and services talk to each other using various internet protocols such as IP addresses.

The SysOps Admin has a reputation for being hard, but I believe it is because most courses do not include Cloud Networking Fundamentals. (They expect you to take another course or have the knowledge.) So I made sure not to skip Cloud Network in my course, and I include a large section that will comprehensively teach it to you.

AWS OpsWorks

AWS OpsWorks is a service for deploying and managing multi-tiered applications. The purpose of this service is to be something in-between Elastic Beanstalk (EB) and having to set up everything yourself using CloudFormation. The idea was to give you more flexibility but still, reduce complexity.

OpsWorks did not become a popular service, and so many courses will gloss over OpsWorks. I made sure to make OpsWorks as practical and hands-on as possible.

In the future version of this exam, we might see less of OpsWorks, but for now, you need to learn this service.

Systems Manager

Systems Manager is the cornerstone to the SysOps Admin role. Systems Manager, just like CloudWatch, is composed of multiple AWS Services. Systems Manager has everything to do with managing, patching, maintaining servers.

I gave extra care to thoroughly cover AWS Systems Manager since I predict we'll see more exam questions in the future with multiple new AWS Systems Manager services.

CloudFormation

CloudFormation is a service that allows you to write scripts that will set up multiple AWS Services. This is known as Infrastructure as Code.

I covered CloudFormation thoroughly in the Developer Associate course. This said, I added a few additional questions since the SysOps Administrator requires significant CloudFormation knowledge.

Overlap With The Solutions Architect Associate and the Developer Associate

When you study for more than one AWS Associate certification, you will notice some overlap among the subjects covered on exams.

As a result, about half of this new SysOps course overlaps with other courses I've published for other AWS certifications. If a section of the course seems familiar, you can use it for review, or you can go ahead and skip to the next section.

All right – you can watch the full course here.

Note that YouTube wouldn't let us upload all 14 hours as a single video, so the first video is 12 hours. The final 2 hours of the course are in a second video, linked from the video description.

Some Parting Words

I did my part by designing this course for you and making it freely available. But ultimately it's up to you to complete your journey by investing the time and effort into studying these materials. Best of luck preparing for the exam.