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Amy Chan
Amy Chan

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From Zero to AWS Certificate

Late last year, I decided to challenge myself - I wanted to learn about AWS and get the AWS Cloud Certificate.

I have yet to work with AWS before. However, even if I may not deal directly with AWS, knowing the basics would still be helpful, much like how my Linux knowledge and basic network helped me - it made diagnosing whether a problem is truly code-related or a network issue easier, and it improved my ability to communicate and work with the IT staff.

The combination of quarantine, Minnesota AWS Certification Challenge, and the AWS re:Invent 2020 gave me the push I need and a set timeline - end of year. The stars seemed aligned for me!

Here is my list of learning resources:

  • From the founder of FreeCodeCamp, Quincy Larson: Introducing The #AWSCertified Challenge: A Path to Your First AWS Certifications. Announce your commitment to join the AWSCertified Challenge! In addition to details about the challenge, the article also come with intro information and some links. My favorite is:
  • FreeCodeCamp Video: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Training 2020 - Full Course was a great intro, with some step-by-step lessons that you can practice while watching.
  • TechTalks Video: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Course from Pearson IT is also a good one. It is 7 hours instead of 4 hours, and it is not as interactive, but it is more detail and talks about more topics.
  • AWS Article: Prepare for Your AWS Certification Exam: Expand "Foundational-level AWS Certification" item and look for "Read AWS whitepapers and FAQs". The whitepapers recommended are very useful, very informative.
  • AWS Videos: AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials: Sadly, this was quite annoying to use for me. I can't natively speed up their videos or switch tabs. There was a script I used to speed it up, but it's annoying that I had to keep doing it. I also got logged out if I step away and come back later. I went through all the videos, but I do feel like most of them are repetitive of the last 2 videos. If you are in rush, I think you can probably skip this.
  • AWS Getting Started Resource Center: This is a really important resource for those who don't actually work in AWS like me. Going through the tutorials to gain more hands-on experience helped solidify what I learned from text and videos. After all, the ultimate reason to get the AWS certificate is to actually learn and utilize new skills.
  • AWS re:Invent 2020 and AWS Events page: Due to the Covid pandemic, the 2020 AWS re:Invent went 100% virtual, free, and lasted 3 whole week. Unfortunately, I had a major project that week, and I missed most of the live events. I was able to re-watch some of them, and it definitely gave me a boost from learning alongside so many people online. AWS do several events each year, so definitely look up the events page to see if there is one coming up!
  • Tutorial Dojo: Bon Jonso's Tutorial Dojo comes highly recommended as a practice exam resource on many online discussions. Now, many people will post his Udemy link, but I found that Bon Jonso actually have his own learning portal site! The platform is designed specifically for doing practice exam, with features not available in the Udemy version. Be smart, buy the Tutorial Dojo version! It's not expensive at all - sometimes even cheaper than the Udemy version. A tip: if you are viewing this around Thanksgiving, wait for the Black Friday sale!

As for the certificate, I did ended up getting the Cloud Practitioner certificate in time. Here is me with my AWS t-shirt I got from completing the Minnesota AWS Certification Challenge!
Amy wearing her AWS t-shirt

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