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AWS Solutions Architect Associate

Cristiano D. Silva
Software Engineer, Entrepreneur on the Beauty and SPA industry and enthusiast photographer.
・4 min read

This gotta be one of the moments that I felt most proud of my career. I have to build many things and accomplished many others when it comes to engineering web applications but accomplishing something that is out of my comfort zone felt empowering.

Achieving this certification wasn’t easy and it was a journey none-of-the-less and I know that I’m not the only one that is trailing this path, there are many other engineers attempting to get to this point, therefore I will share here what I have done and the best resources I have found to pass this certification exam.

I have started exploring AWS training and knowledge when facing a challenge to find out what are the best solutions for a new project that my company is pursuing. What I realized really quick is that, although knowing Linux, web server configuration and maintenance and even a great deal about databases I didn’t know how this is applied to AWS or, for that matter, what AWS would actually mean to our project.

I took, to gather more knowledge about AWS solutions, 2 trainings and both in person. The first training covered the basics and the second covered the architectural level of the AWS services.

You would expect that once you leave the training you would go and schedule an exam and simply pass because that is how it should work right? No! It doesn’t work like that. You gotta have some real understanding of how AWS culture works and their environment because the nuances, the small differences are what will make you wrongly answer a question.

To pass the SAA exam I had to study for a couple of months and the following resources were essential to that:

  • AWS Training— Absolutely essential from free digital training to paid training. They have some free content for the certification itself, therefore, you can use that content as a reference on what you will get. Another important portion is that on the certification exam readiness videos there will be an ending section where the instructor goes into what you should look for on the exam and why it matters. That is essential for the exam.
  • Linux Academy — I have navigated only a few resources from Linux Academy but I can affirm that it has the best community out there for anyone pursuing AWS knowledge. What I learned from their Slack AWS channel and from being able to be in touch with the instructors was essential for the exam. For the next certifications, I will be exploring a lot more of their content. I had seen feedback from students that affirm that without their hands-on labs and courses they wouldn’t be able to pass the exam.
  • Udemy — There are a few certification exam tests questions that you can explore on Udemy. These questions help you to prepare your mindset on how to approach the exam.

When it comes to the exam itself there are a few things that you must keep in mind:

  • Time management is key and if you know well the content you can finish the exam way ahead of time. During the exam, you will have 130 minutes to answer 65 questions. That would give you 2 minutes per question but in fact, you have 1 minute per question because you want to have some time to spare to go back on the questions that you have set as flagged.
  • If you aren’t sure of how to answer a question, answer it on your best guess, mark it as flagged and come back to it before completing the exam.
  • If the answer seems overly complicated, very likely is not the answer. AWS culture revolves into less expensive, less complicated, more decoupled, more performant, more available and properly meeting the client needs.
  • Nuances will be the reason why you answered a given question wrong. Little things like why choosing S3 instead of S3 infrequent access on a given question when both answers seem correct is key.
  • Read the question 2x before answering. Every question will have a set of keywords that will lead you to the correct answer. This is extremely important especially to exclude answers that will be obviously wrong.
  • The certificate has a lifecycle of 2 years and that is because AWS changes considerably in a period of a month, imagine in a period of 24 months.
  • This is probably the best tip I can give because it serves as a check of your knowledge. For SAA AWS training has a downloadable 10 question test that comes with answers. You gotta get 90% of this test because it is a really easy test.

I won’t stop on this certification. Being a web developer, my next logical step is to explore the AWS Developer certification that talks about CloudFormation and more specific on how to code your infrastructure.

To everyone that supported me to achieve this certification, thank you and if you are considering exploring this certification or taking it soon, good luck. I hope to see your comments here on how you did.

This article was originally at: https://bit.ly/2Z2qjgt

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