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Raul Martinez
Raul Martinez

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How I became a AWS Certified Solutions Architect

This past Monday I passed the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam. I found the exam to be very difficult, especially coming from a developer background where I am not engaged in Solutions Architecture directly on a daily basis.

My goal is to share an outline of exactly what I did to prepare for the exam, in hopes of helping anyone who is on their own cloud journey. Please let me know any questions you may have in the comments!

Previous AWS Training & Experience

I have to preface that I have worked with AWS before for a couple of projects so I was familiar with many of the concepts and technologies.

Last year I earned my AWS Developer Associate Certification. In addition, in February of this year I had the privilege of attending Architecting on AWS which was provided by my employer.

Study Log

  • 9/18/2020 - 10/9/2020:
    • Stephan Marek's course on Udemy
    • I tried to write as many notes as possible, and rewatched videos several times.
    • After each section of the course I completed I would go back and complete the quizzes from all the previous sections to ensure I was retaining the previous lectures.
  • 10/9/2020 - 10/25/2020:
    • One to three practice tests a day.
    • When I started taking the practice exams I was getting scores ranging from 67% to 73%, the scores gradually went up as I started understanding the concepts better until I was scoring around 87% to 92% consistently.
    • I found Jon Bonso & Neal Davis practice exams to be the most difficult and have the best explanations.
    • After each exam I would read through every question, and read the explanation's. For questions I did not understand I would read through the AWS documentation until I had a better understanding.
    • I wanted to make sure I was not just memorizing answers to questions, to combat this I had a rotation of 12 practice tests, once I completed a practice test I would not see those questions again until I had completed the rest of the tests.
  • 10/26/2020 (Exam Day):
    • I went through three practice exams reading explanations and reading through AWS documentation.

After the exam

At the end of the exam I saw the PASS notification on the screen and was ecstatic, but I didn't really believe it until I saw the actual certificate signed by AWS. Overall I would say it took somewhere around 100 to 120 hours of studying.

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