A quick guide to becoming AWS certified in 2021. Study materials and resources used are linked below.
So.. I finally cleared all the associate-level exams this month. I have learned a lot from my preparation, and would like to share with you some useful tips and resources that might also help you in your certification journey.
The associate-level certifications cover a broad number of AWS services that are tackled at a mid-level depth. Each exam contains 65 items, which can be of multiple choice or multiple response type. Exam labs were also recently added in the new version of the SOA exam this year. You can check the official exam guides below for more information:
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate (SAA-C02)
- AWS Certified Developer — Associate (DVA-C01)
- AWS Certified SysOps Administrator — Associate (SOA-C02)
If you're new to AWS, you can start with the Solutions Architect Associate exam since it covers all the core services and basic concepts you’ll need to get started. However, if you already have some hands-on experience, you can choose one that fits your role. The Developer Associate was my first AWS certification since it aligns with what I do at work.
Out of the three exams, I personally found the SysOps Administrator Associate as the toughest, while I found the Developer Associate as the easiest. I think what you’ll find easy or difficult depends on your current role and level of hands-on experience in AWS.
Here’s a list of all the resources I used to prepare for the exams. The first two are paid materials, while the rest are provided for free by AWS.
- DataCumulus Courses — Stephane Maarek’s courses are extremely helpful especially if you’re new to AWS. It’s easily digestible and more affordable than the other courses available.
- Tutorials Dojo Study Guide and Practice Exams — Jon Bonso’s practice tests are the best out there. They also provide study guides and eBooks on their portal.
- AWS Whitepapers, FAQs, and Exam Readiness Training — AWS offers free technical documentations and training materials to assist you in your preparation. It’s best to go through their recommended readings to supplement your knowledge.
- Create a study plan — Set a reasonable timeline for studying and commit to it. You can allot some time per day or per week depending on your work schedule. It took me a month to prepare for DVA, and a week for the SOA and SAA exams. Take your time, and learn at your own pace.
- Take down notes — Note down important details or new concepts. You can also use Anki to create flashcards, or Notion for note-taking. I might share my notes in the future once I'm done organizing them.
- Do some hands-on — You can sign up for an AWS Free Tier account to do some hands-on exercises. Doing the labs will help you solidify your knowledge in AWS.
- Take practice exams — Take the Tutorials Dojo exams on Review Mode. This way, you can see the correct answers and explanations after each question.
- Set a hard deadline — I always book the exam before starting my review so I can really commit to my study plan. I encourage you to book your exam this way, too! You can always reschedule to a later date if you think you need more time.
I hope you found this helpful. You can reach me on LinkedIn, or you can leave a comment if you have further questions. I'd be glad to help you out.