Stress is for steel
Stress is for steels, Pressure is for tyres, It’s just an exam! That sentence was written boldly imprinted on the wall of the exam centre I did my AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Exam. On Monday, the 23rd July 2018, I became the latest AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate (AWS CSAA) in town. I reported at the exam centre rusty, jittery, and scared. To be honest, that was not my first or second time in an IT certification examination centre, but I had not done a certification examination in years, so I wasn’t sure what could happen.
I had joined a forum on Whizlabs.com – an online company that provide online certification training in various disciplines such as Cloud Computing, Java, Big Data, Project Management, Agile, Linux, CCNA, and Digital Marketing- where folks who have passed different exams come together to express themselves how hard they had to study to pass and the success rate after preparations. My company bought me a Whizlabs training materials for AWS CSAA and Udemy course on it too. I studied both of them to best of my ability, so, on the exam date, although I was scared, but I was confident that I would be successful in the exam.
130 minutes later I ended the test and was so happy to have added another certification to my collections.
The Bull by the Horn
There is no doubt that in today’s world, Amazon Web Services (AWS) lead the pack when it comes to cloud computing. As Engineers, IT Administrators, Architects, no one wants to halt except one is ready to catch fire. That’s why some of the best Certifications available today are AWS Certifications. AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate gives you the background about AWS infrastructure and setting up your AWS resources in AWS environment. It also prepares you for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional Exam.
On daily basis, there is need for the designing knowledge of AWS architecture in the best way to save companies money and as such part of our jobs is to make sure that applications are deployed on AWS with minimum cost and make use of the best AWS services to scale our applications, make them available and reliable for our clients. Also make data available whenever they are required.
These are the summary of AWS as well as it’s certifications. I know the knowledge would help me on my work on daily basis, hence, I avoided the use of certification dumps, I still don’t know if they exist for AWS exams though, but I was not interested even if they are. So, I went into the exam equipping myself with knowledge I gained from A Cloud Guru and Whizlabs training. I am glad I took that path to success.
A Cloud Guru video on Udemy is 20.5 hours long, I started watching this video in April 2018, at first, I didn’t take the exam seriously, but I discovered that at some point I forgot those things I had watched/read, so I intensified the watching/reading. Fortunately, my company is an AWS partner and most of our projects use AWS services, so it was easy for me to make use of what I have learned on daily basis at work. Ryan Kroonenburg really put a lot of efforts into A Cloud Guru video and he is commended for that.
I know that the labs and the quizzes on A Cloud Guru are not enough, he actually recommended that one should read more in the AWS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), this really helps a lot as most of the questions that would come out of the exam are actually explained in the FAQs.
Also, I trained with Whizlabs’ training materials, they took the pain the to explain answers options to each question after the test. You would have the chance to learn why ‘A’ is the right answer and ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ are wrong choice answer. This helps to have better understanding of the certification questions and answers. They actually made it like the actual examination except you have the chance to pause and continue the test.
Pass at Once
I passed my exam once, here are some of the lessons I learned on passing the exam:
- To pass AWS CSAA, you just have to get the right materials, in my case I used Whizlabs and A Cloud Guru videos by Ryan Kroonenburg. These two resources come highly recommended for anyone who is interested in passing this exam once and for all. You will not find the same question the same way they appear in the test directly, but regardless of however the question is framed, you would know the answer if you study those materials with dedications.
- AWS want to advertise their brand, so, whenever you see a question on AWS RDS about structured data, highly scalable, for example, there is at least 90% chance that the answer would be Amazon Aurora. In fact, if you want to create AWS RDS on AWS platform, the recommended RDS is Amazon Aurora because they own it and it is designed to be more powerful than any other AWS RDS supported by AWS. Also, whenever you see the need for high-performing scalable solution, the answer would always be DynamoDB.
- You would have enough time to review your work, do not be in a rush to finish and go home, take your time, look at the question very well and make sure that you pick the right answer based on the questions. You might have missed the most important part of the question the first time thereby making you select a wrong choice.
- Make sure you can configure your own custom Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) before you go for the exam especially the exam that’s based on February 2018. This knowledge would make it easy for you to answers correctly, without an iota of doubt.
- Understanding the following topics would go a long way to help in successfully pass the exam: Amazon Simple Storage Services (S3), Amazon Elastic Block store (EBS) type volumes, VPC, Elastic Load Balancer (ELB), Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), AutoScaling Group, Databases -AWS Relational Database Service (RDS) & DynamoDB, Simple Queue Service (SQS), Simple Notification Service (SNS), Storage Gateway, IAM. These among others are the most frequently asked questions, Others may include but not limited to Amazon Athena, Amazon Glue, AWS OpsWorks, Elastic Container Service (ECS), Amazon Kinesis, API Gateway.
- Read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Conclusively, try to read about the Exam Blueprint, also visit the AWS Certification Preparation website, learn a thing or two about the exam, checkout the Whitepapers recommended on the certification preparation website. Go for the exam, pass it and be proud!