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My path to AWS Solution Architect- Associate Certification

Yogesh Sharma
AWS Community Builder, AWS Architect Pro(3xAWS)|Python|Ansible|DevOps|Big Data(2x)|ML Engineer
Updated on ・4 min read

Why get certified?
Definitely not a MUST but it's always great to validate all your knowledge and learning. Plus challenging yourself, enhancing your resume is always the bonus. It will help boost your confidence, to open different track in your career(may be) and most important helps you to explore the AWS ecosystem.

I am Yogesh Sharma, and would like to share my experience with AWS certification for Solution Architect Associate and how I prepared for it. I scored 940 out of 1000.

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The CSA – Associate certification focuses on the core AWS services, like Identity and Access Management (IAM), Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), S3, and EC2. Studying these core services will give you a good understanding of how AWS approaches security, networking, data storage, and compute capability.

Why Should one take the exam?

If you want to enhance your skills in architectural roles in managing and operating systems on AWS. OR just want to learn AWS ecosystem architecture view- how different services of AWS system makes highly durable, high available, secured production architecture. What are the factors that can impact your decisioning to select the most appropriate service or combination of service following AWS Well Architect Principles.

About the exam

Please follow the content outline provided by AWS:

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Exam Guide
Sample Questions

CSA exam main topics

  • Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  • Simple Storage Service (S3)
  • Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
  • Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
  • Autoscaling and Launch Templates
  • Database Solutions including DynamoDB, RDS and Aurora
  • Application Services (SNS, SQS, Kinesis, IOT, SES, Step Functions)
  • Serverless Architecture (Lambda & API Gateway)
  • Monitoring, Deployment and Security

(though these topics need good amount of time to gain insights :))

AWS Provided Material

  1. Check AWS CSA Page for overview, details and scheduling exam.
  2. Go through AWS Exam Readiness Free course this comes straight from the creators of the exam. Also check out all the relevant topic training on https://www.aws.training/
  3. Try AWSome workshops provided by AWS:
    https://workshops.aws/

    https://awesome-aws-workshops.com/

    https://learn-to-code.workshop.aws/

    https://ecsworkshop.com/

Free Material

  1. ExamPro Freecodecamp CSA Course by Andrew Brown
  2. Learning Path
  3. AWS Cheat Sheet

Paid Courses

  1. Stephane Maarek- Highly recommended
  2. ACloudGuru
  3. Adrian Cantrill

AWS WhitePapers

Serverless Architectures with AWS Lambda ||
AWS Well-Architected Framework || Overview of Security
Processes
|| AWS Storage Services Overview
|| Best Practices for Security, Identity, & Compliance

AWS FAQs

Amazon Simple Queue Service || AWS Lambda || AWS Identity and Access Management || AWS Key Management Service

Practice Questions

The practice exams can help you with time management since each exam has a set amount of time to finish it. After you've taken a few different practice exams and scored consistently above the passing level, you might be ready to take the real exam.

  1. AWS provides Practice Questions to give the flavor of real exam and we all can validate our learning by attempting that. It was $20 for 20 questions (and after passing the actual certification exam we can get a free practice exam voucher that can be applied in our next practice exam). It is definitely not 'A MUST' exercise but it gave me the confidence.
  2. Tutorials Dojo highly recommended offers about 390 practice questions that are explicitly focused on the relevant topics for this exam. It is also available in Udemy.(15$)

Important Tips

  1. Study, Understand, Practice-HandsOn, Repeat!- Your certification is useless if you don’t know how to work in the AWS console.
  2. Reserve time in your calendar regularly to study and to practice. Take breaks.
  3. Create your own flashcards and Write down notes
  4. Read blog posts or books
  5. Watch Re:Invent videos
  6. Schedule your exam with adequate time to study beforehand (2+ weeks)
  7. Share what you learn- the best ways to reinforce what you've learned is to share it with other people. That could be in the form of a tweet, Linkedin post, blog post, #100DaysOfCloud etc.
  8. Read the AWS FAQs
  9. Take practice exams

It's show time

Register and go for the glory! The exam is $150 and you can take it from your home.

After the exam- Pass/Fail Status will come immediately after you complete the exam. But, it takes some time to get the actual score in your AWS certification account. Once it appears in the account you can download the digital badge, pdf certificate, exam transcript, etc. You will get 50% off your next AWS exam as one of the benefits.

I wish you the best of luck! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to leave a response and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Discussion (2)

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jonbonso profile image
Jon Bonso • Edited

Just a small typo Yogesh. Our SAA-C02 practice tests reviewer actually has a total of 390 practice questions ( 6 sets, each has 65-questions)

Thanks again for mentioning the Tutorials Dojo practice tests for the Solutions Architect Associate exam!

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sharma_yogesh profile image
Yogesh Sharma Author

corrections done, thanks Jon

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