AWS Solutions Architect — Associate certification is a sought after certification in the industry. In this article, I share my experience of preparing for the exam, and some helpful tips.
I passed the exam in November 2021. Here is what I felt about the exam:
The exam seems to be heavily focused on VPC and EC2 components of AWS. You may have seen this mentioned in almost all online posts or threads that you’ve read about exam preparation. It is absolutely true.
I found that the exam questions are mostly focused on situations about transitioning from on-premise architecture to cloud architecture. That’s also the reason why there are more questions about EC2 and VPC architecture. So, while going through AWS services, think about scenarios where each of the services could be a replacement for services used in different types of on-premises architectures.
I think having a high level understanding of where each AWS services fit within different categories makes it easier to tackle exam questions. For example: as I already had an experience using AWS services for a few years before I took the exam, I classified the services in four main domains - Storage, Compute, Identity, Security. By doing so, I didn’t have to memorize each and every detail of all the services.
In general, prepare for this exam just like you would prepare for any other exam, but also consider following tips:
It is helpful to review some topics everyday. Since the Associate Certificate exam is not heavily focused on scenario based questions as compared to the Professional Certificate exam, you want to be familiar with all the AWS topics mentioned in the exam guide. So, it is an excellent idea to go over AWS FAQs. Remember, your certification won’t be worth much if you do not have hands-on experience with using the AWS services. So, while going through the topics, make sure to try them out in AWS console or the CLI.
Go through practice tests a few times before the exam. I used the practice tests available on O’Reilly Learning. You could find similar tests on some other sites. Even though the following book is related to SAA-C01 Exam, it still has relevant content for SAA-C02.
Focus on VPC, EC2, and resilient architecture. As of November, 2021, the Design Resilient Architectures domain was worth 30% of the exam. Questions related to VPC, and EC2 components come up in the Design High-Performing Architectures domain as well. In general, it's critical to understand the VPC architecture, and how some application on the internet can communicate with your application within the VPC and vice-versa.
Overall, if you have been using AWS services for at least a year, you should be able to pass the exam by reviewing the topics and preparing for about a month. It is crucial that you focus on the topics related to the services that you don’t have hands-on experience with.
Note: This article was first published on my Medium blog