January 14, 2016 by michael
AWS Solutions Architect: The Road to Certification
My road to certification begins here! For 2016, I’ve decided to finally establish myself as a certified web services professional by achieving the Associate level of Amazon Web Services Solutions Architect certification.
I don’t think that having a cert would make me more experienced than I already am. However, I do think preparing for an exam and passing it shows a level of competency and a dedication to furthering my education.
With that said, I’m enlisting a few tools to help me out along the way.
“A Cloud Guru is the industry leading training provider for AWS certification. ” Their instructors are AWS professionals that have used the tools and create classes that drill down to the specifics on the exams. I purchased two of their classes on Udemy.com (an online education marketplace).
The Solutions Architect Associate class was a very reasonable $19 (regularly priced at $79) and the SysOps Administrator Associate class was $24 (regularly priced at $99). I used coupons for both of them to get the discounted price. A Cloud Guru and Udemy are almost always providing sales or bundles on their classes so I figured cost should not be an issue; even the regular prices are cheap compared to other online training for AWS!
What I also like about Udemy and A Cloud Guru is that once you’ve purchased the class, you have lifetime access to it including any updates. I think this is key for certification type classes because certs need to be renewed every two years or so. Going back for a refresher and not having to pay for it is a great benefit. Also not having to worry about a time limit on when how long I have to view the class allows me to work at a comfortable pace. Also, using the mobile app, classes can be downloaded and viewed offline.
Because I don’t want to put all of my eggs into one bucket, I looked for other options for affordable, online training for AWS certifications. Lynda.com is an online learning company that has classes on hundreds of topics including AWS! They offer Amazon Web Services Essential Training, a class that seems to be more of an overview of the concepts of AWS but still a great resource.
Instead of paying for one class at a time though, with Lynda.com you pay a subscription to access the entire library. Fortunately, my employer has a set of accounts that allow employees to access the classes on Lynda for about a month at a time. So given that opportunity, I’m going to take advantage of it to round out my training. Lynda also has a mobile app that allows you to access courses and even download them for offline viewing.
While there are books out there, I couldn’t decide on one that I wanted to read. Knowing how fast cloud technologies change, I also didn’t want to lay down the cash for something that might already be out of date and not geared toward what I want to do: passing the certification exam.
To bridge this gap, I turned to the AWS Whitepapers section. In their own words:
The whitepapers section features a comprehensive list of technical AWS whitepapers, covering topics such as architecture, security and economics. These whitepapers have been authored by the AWS Team, independent analysts or the AWS Community…This page will be regularly updated with new and updated whitepapers and reports.
The site lists dozens of papers on specific AWS topics, written by the folks with the deepest knowledge of AWS so I know the content will be on point. The papers are also provided for free and new ones are published regularly. Great!
With these resources on deck, I’m ready to start the journey to certification. To the cloud!