Image source: #WOCinTech Chat
In part 1 of this resource guide, I shared about my own certification journey and six tips that have guided my (almost) daily study. One of those tips was to figure out how you learn to make your studies most effective. No matter your preferred learning style, you'll need to absorb content in some way or another. Whether it's in-person (or online, live) training, training on the job, blog posts, books, videos, live streams, or podcasts, there is something for everyone. But there is a lot of certification-related content out there! There is official AWS-produced content, content produced by cloud training companies, and content contributed by the community for the community. You have plenty to choose from!
The resources I share below are those I've collected since starting my AWS certification journey. Many have been helpful to me and some I've bookmarked for the future. These focus on the foundational and associate-level certifications because that’s where I’ve discovered the most content and it is where my own focus has been over the last few months. Please share links to what has been helpful to you in the comments below, even for the professional or specialty certifications!
The first AWS certification I pursued was the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. Because my goal of this certification was to figure out how much foundational AWS knowledge I had, I almost exclusively watched the AWS Training and Certification course and the A Cloud Guru video course. Together, these helped me understand where I needed to focus my time but didn't consume too much of my time. I watched most of it on 2x speed and took handwritten notes for areas I wasn't already familiar with.
- AWS Training & Certification - Cloud Practitioner Essentials (2nd Edition)
- A Cloud Guru - AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
- FooBar Serverless Get AWS Certified with Me
- AWS Community Hero Andrew Brown's Free 4-hour Video Course on freeCodeCamp
- Hiroko Nishimura's Prepare for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam on LinkedIn Learning
I'm currently studying for the AWS Certified Developer Associate certification. I found the A Cloud Guru course for the Cloud Practitioner certification helpful, so decided to start with their video course for the Developer Associate certification. Again, I was able to watch much of it on 2x speed while taking handwritten notes, slowing down for areas I wasn't familiar with. During this time, I found that unless I took notes or followed along with a hands-on lab, I would get distracted. It took me much longer to get through this course because of that (and it was twice the length of the Cloud Practitioner course!). I took more breaks and supplemented it with different types of content. I sought out longer hands-on videos that went beyond the basics and even took time to repeat them to try different scenarios.
For example, when I wanted to get more hands-on with AWS Lambda and Amazon API Gateway, I found this video tutorial by Eric Johnson and also learned about Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon Cognito in the process. When I had a few questions, I found this series of blog posts (also by Eric Johnson) and learned a little more about AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM). I was starting to piece the parts together, but I wanted to dive a little deeper and learn more about SAM. I found this Hello World tutorial helpful and also discovered more sample SAM templates here.
While studying for the Certified Developer Associate certification, I’ve also made more use of the official AWS whitepapers. The whitepapers can help give context to why a concept is important as one part of the larger whole. I haven't read them word for word, because as you might notice, they are long! You can skim them for the key topics and dive deeper into areas you're interested in or are lacking knowledge.
As I mentioned in part 1, reviewing what you've learned each week is important to retaining the info beyond just rote memorization. I found the A Cloud Guru summary videos for each module useful for reviews but often at the end of the week, I just didn't want to be watching yet another video. Instead, I've started not only reviewing my own handwritten notes but also the Open Guide to Amazon Web Services with its basics, tips, and gotchas.
So rather than exclusively watching a several hour-long video course, I used that as my guide and then supplemented it with other content to round out my studies.
- A Cloud Guru - AWS Certified Developer - Associate
- Happy Little APIs (S2E2): Building a Serverless URL Shortener without using Lambda (Part 1)
- Building a serverless URL shortener app without AWS Lambda (all three parts)
- Deploying a Hello World Application (with SAM)
- Sessions With SAM sample code
- Getting Started with Amazon DocumentDB
- DynamoDB Cheatsheet
- The Basics of AWS RDS
- The Open Guide to Amazon Web Services
- AWS Well-Architected Framework Whitepaper - You'll see these best practices and strategies in play throughout your studies, whether you're studying for the foundational exam or one of the professional or specialist-level exams.
- Serverless Applications Lens - AWS Well-Architected Framework Whitepaper
- Introduction to AWS Security Whitepaper - Pay special attention to the shared security responsibility model.
- Hosting Static Websites on AWS: Prescriptive Guidance
- FooBar Serverless YouTube Channel
- AWS Community Hero Andrew Brown's Free 16-hour video course on freeCodeCamp
I don't have as much experience with these certifications since I haven't been studying for them. The recommendations below are based on the quality of content I've used for other exams and others I've heard are good. Have some recommendations of your own? Feel free to drop them in the comments below to help others out!
- AWS Community Hero Andrew Brown's Free 10-hour video course on freeCodeCamp
- This is My Architecture
- Bart Castle's insights on the latest exam
- AWS Community Hero Andrew Brown's Free 14-hour video course on freeCodeCamp
- Bart Castle's insights on the latest exam
- Just starting out and not even sure what the cloud is? Check out Alejandra’s What the Cloud series, in both English and Spanish.
- Looking to get more hands-on practical knowledge? The #100DaysOfCloud challenge has a repository of micro-projects just for this purpose.
- Want to show off what you’ve learned? Complete the Cloud Resume Challenge.
- Want to strengthen your data skills? AWS Data Hero Lynn Langit also has created “Hello world” for the data services.
What resources have been helpful to you? Drop your own tips in the comments below and share with others who are also studying for a certification. Now it's time to get started on your certification journey!