April 20, 2016 by michael
Passed the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Exam
I’m happy to share that I passed the AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam!
My score was 83%. I scored 78% on High Availability, 83% on Implementation/Deployment, 100% on Security (yay!), and 80% on Troubleshooting.
I share the following because I see students of the certification asking “How’d you do pass the exam” on various sites around the web. Also, I’m amazed at the students that can watch a video course over a few days and then breeze through the exam with stellar scores. I’m offering a counterpoint as I’m a bit more methodical than that. 🙂
I watched the A Cloud Guru lectures and completed all labs during or immediately after the lecture. With life and work taking up lots of my time, I spent two months covering the course and material. During the last weeks, I read the AWS Security Whitepaper (link to PDF); I’ll share thoughts and tips on that in another post. The Cloud Guru quizzes were right on target with several of the questions being very similar to exam questions.
I also took practice tests at Cloud Academy as part of their trial period. Those tests were helpful in rounding out my knowledge and highlighting areas that I needed to work on. Its free for one week (and then upwards of $25USD/Month after that). I did this during the last week of my studies to reinforce the concepts.
From what I can recall, there were plenty of questions on S3 and EC2, in particular EBS volumes, snapshots, and encryption. Lots of VPC questions, most I think in the form of troubleshooting and HA. Questions on the test that might not have been covered in the A Cloud Guru course involved AWS Workspaces and Elastic Network Interfaces (ENI). However, they could be in the course somewhere and I’m just not recalling.
I have to give a big shout out to Ryan and the team at A Cloud Guru for an excellent course and the community built around the courses. I appreciate all the care they took to put the lessons and practice exams together.
Now that I’m certified (and not just certifiable!), I plan to keep at it, studying for the rest of the certifications. I’m certainly going for the Solutions Architect Professional as well as the SysOps Associate and DevOps Professional. Because the SysOps Associate and Developer Associate certs are both prerequisites for the SysOps Professional cert, I’m going to skip the Developer Associate path and focus on the SysOps exam. I’m happy for the folks that have all five certs but four will be plenty for me, thanks.
I’m also looking at solutions architect certifications on other cloud platforms, specifically Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. While AWS is a clear leader in the managed cloud business, Google, Microsoft, and others are providers that clients may consider depending on their needs. I’d like to be able to hit the ground running on those competing platforms as well.