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Tommy Leng
Tommy Leng

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How I earned two AWS Associates (Solutions Architect & Developer) in 3 months

With the rise of Covid taking over our lives, I decided to make better use of my time and pick up some useful skills.

In the industry, you hear buzz words like cloud computing, serverless, stateless vs stateful, etc. so I thought it was time for me to learn what those words truly meant.

Doing some moderate research led me to one of the biggest cloud services out there: AWS.

The Resources I Used

I'm a big fan of Udemy for its reasonably priced courses and its no hassle refund policy so all the courses I used were from Udemy.

In my opinion, the two best instructors to learn AWS from are Stephane Mareek and Neal Davis. Both of them provide courses for the Solutions Architect Associate (SAA) and Developer Associate (DVA).

Stephane's Courses:
Stephane's Ultimate AWS Certified SAA
Stephane's Ultimate AWS Certified DVA

Neal's Courses:
Neal's AWS Certified SAA
Neal's AWS Certified DVA

Studying of the Solutions Architect

Since I was extremely new to AWS, I wanted to get two different perspectives with it so I decided to take both SAA courses.

Stephane is great for helping you ease into the material. He explains all the necessary information and more while demonstrating it in a very engaging manner. While Neal makes a huge effort in connecting the services together so what you learn from the previous section builds onto the current section. Though a bit dull, he provides a deeper dive into the services.

After going through the courses, I decided to take some practice exams to help prepare me for the real one. The practice tests I used were Jon Bonso's SAA Practice Exams and Neal Davis' SAA Practice Exams. I averaged around 60s to 70s during the first round and went back over the questions I got wrong and understood thoroughly as to why I got them wrong. The second time around I was averaging 85+.

Honestly either Jon or Neal's practice exams are enough to prepare you for the real test. Personally, I thought their practice exams were more difficult than the actual one. However, the more practice exams you take, the more confident you will feel when taking the real one.

Studying for the Developer Associate

This time around I chose to only take Neal's AWS Certified DVA and skip some sections since I still had a fresh understanding from studying for the SAA.

Basically did the same thing, I went through the course once. Afterwards took practice exams from both Jon Bonso and Neal Davis.

DVA Practice Exams:
Jon Bonso's DVA Practice Exams
Neal Davis's DVA Practice Exams

For Neal's, my averages were low 70s and for Jon's, my averages were mid 70s. Again, did the same thing, I went over the questions I got wrong and understood why I got wrong as well as reviewed questions I got right if I was iffy on the answer. Second time around, I averaged 90+ on both instructors' practice exams.

Some Honorable Mention Resources

While I have not taken some of these courses/practice exams. I believe this could help if you perhaps want to get your feet wet, want to save more, or want a more in-depth course experience with AWS.

First, the free courses, on YouTube FreeCodeCamp provides decent course contents on both the SAA and DVA. The SAA video is 10.5 hours long while the DVA video is 12 hours long. Both videos are taught by Andrew Brown who seems to have a good grasp on the topics for the exams and AWS as a whole.

Youtube Videos:
FreeCodeCamp's SAA YouTube Video
FreeCodeCamp's DVA YouTube Video

If you want a better learning environment, personally I would use Linux Academy. It's a subscription based service with a yearly cost of $379 (as of 8/1/2020). While it is a bit pricey, you are able to use Linux Academy's playground to do hands-on labs which I believe is included in your plan. The course content is really good as well.

Another place for practice exams would be Whizlabs, just like both Jon Bonso and Neal Davis, the service provides comprehensive explanations of the answers. Also if you were planning to take more than one exam, Whizlabs has a yearly subscription for $99 (as of 8/1/2020), this may save you more in the long run since it provide both courses and practice exams.

Wrapping Up

Hope, this gives you have a better understanding on some of the choices/resources you can use to help you become AWS certified. For those who were wondering about my scores, I got an 845 for the SAA-01 (only SAA-02 is available now) and I got an 883 for the DVA-01.

Discussion (1)

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noahwilliam43546 • Edited on

Such great information. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification questions help pass the exam on the first attempt. The exam preparation material is available in PDF questions. You can also take a fre demo of AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification