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Igor Soroka for AWS Community Builders

Posted on • Originally published at blog.soroka.tech

Reflections on Passing AWS Solutions Architect Associate Exam

With the distribution of remote work, one has more time for personal and career development. Since winter 2020, I have been working entirely remotely. It gave the enormous possibilities to excel career-wise also.

Cloud certifications are significant in terms of structuring the knowledge and improving it.
I started with AWS in 2018 with the corporate program for upskilling the employees by nurturing the program of certification.
With zero experience back then, I passed the AWS Developer Associate exam.

Community

People are social creatures. That is why we need to go and do something together. I did my first certificate with my peers from the big company. Many people also did the same studies. Most of them had zero or minimal knowledge of the AWS ecosystem. The atmosphere was very supportive.

This time I studied alone with no extrinsic motivation like extra cash to the salary because of my contracting endeavors. However, I have created a challenge with a couple of people from the community. There we were posting every day about the actions for the studying. It was looking like that:

Watching lecture on Cloud Guru about Load Balancers - 30 minutes #dayN
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Consistency and Passive Learning

I had doubts in the middle of the challenge that it would work. But the everyday work on the topics related to the exam helped to be in the context. Our brain is wired to like repetitive things.

Another point relates to the idea of learning when one is not focused primarily on the task. During this certification, I studied more while doing my jogging routine or driving. If the topic is familiar to the person, it will be beneficial to listen without watching. I think summary videos of ACloudGuru courses were helpful.

Big Picture

The questions in the Solutions Architect exam are more scenario-based. I have experience with passing the Developer one. It is important not only how to use services in combination. The key for passing is to look at the interaction between the elements together with the technical requirements.

For the practice in architecting, it would be great to watch short videos on the various topics (This is my architecture). At least, it gives the idea of how to think in scenarios and particular situations. Exam-wise, practice tests are helping for solving cases. The official one from the AWS itself or Udemy ones.

My tips on passing the exam

  • Course on preparation - ACloudGuru or CloudAcademy
  • Focus on practical knowledge
    • QwikLabs
    • Above mentioned cloud schools
  • Topics: VPC (very important to know how to set up end-to-end), On-premises migration and integration, Storage options for S3, EBS/EFS difference and types, Auto-scaling groups, EC2 types usage scenarios
  • Practice Exams (Udemy course or book)

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