I started to learn about the AWS cloud in the summer of 2017. I had opened my AWS account just before I went to an 8 weeks Java development bootcamp. During this time, the instructors were choosing a cloud environment to deploy the student’s final project on. I immediately thought of AWS and mentioned about the free tier to the instructor a few times. They chose Heroku PaaS, which is similar to AWS Elastic Beanstalk. Anyways, it was really cool to know how fast I could deploy an app to Heroku or the cloud in general. I was intrigued even more.
I got done with the bootcamp and I was looking for something to do after that. My dad had bought a 3 course bundle on AWS associate certs from Acloud.guru in Udemy. My brother and I decided to study it together. All 3 of us are all certified now and have 6 AWS certificates among us.
Anyways, Ryan from acloudguru made the lectures interesting enough for me to finish the developer course in about 2 days. Then I took the practice exams and did pretty well. At this point, I started playing more with AWS. I started to make an Alexa App using AWS lambda.
My brother tried to take the Solutions architect exam and failed twice. He score around 63% both times. The passing score for the AWS associate exams is around 65-67%. So my brother decided to take the developer exam instead of taking the solutions architect exam again. He asked me to study together and help him prepare. We studied together and did practice exams together and scored pretty well.
Then my brother took the developer exam and score 94% on it. I was shocked because I was equally prepared for the exam as him. So i booked my exam within a week and passed my AWS Developer Associate Exam with 96%.
As you can see , I missed 2 questions on security. Other than that, I missed nothing.
And I was able to get 87% on security because I had read the Security White-paper by AWS which is around 80 pages. There was a very good overview of the security practice in AWS. I felt like this Whitepaper came in handy in all 3 certs. Totally worth it. 10/10 Would read again.
So, Tip No 1: Read the Security White paper thoroughly first and read ALL the recommended white papers in the exam objectives. At least skim through the papers if you don’t read them fully. I emphasize the security paper because Security is important but also because it is about 15% of the exam.
After I passed the Developer exam. I wanted to try the Solutions Architect associate exam. I knew from visiting different forums that this exam was considerably tougher than the developer exam.
I had to refresh my knowledge on things like VPC , ELB and Autoscaling. I did many labs on VPC until I could build a functioning VPC inside and out without any help. This made some of the questions on the practice exams that were confusing me before, simple to answer.
Tip No 2: Do a lots of Labs. Amazon has a lots of walkthrough and getting started guide for just about any service. Just google Getting started guide [ Lambda/S3/ELB] . Youtube has a lots of people making videos and tutorial. Check some of them out and do the labs. If you bought a course on Udemy or any learning platform, do the labs in those courses but without any help. This will reinforce a lot of things and will teach you a lot of things that you missed when you did the labs earlier. Also there are bound to be mistakes and troubleshooting your mistakes will help you the most.
Other than doing the labs, I made a lots of paper notes.
Tip no 3: Make paper notes. There is some magic about writing something on paper. It helps you reinforce your knowledge. It’s also good for reviewing the important points of a topic.
I also read FAQ’s on all the services at least once.
Tip no 4: A lot of the questions on the exams were straight from the FAQ’s. FAQ has a lot of exam materials. So, read the FAQ’s
Now this next thing is a goldmine. Reinvent videos. AWS hosts a HUGE event every year in Las Vegas where people who work with AWS gather around . There are 1000’s of sessions and most of them are recorded and available on youtube. Watch the Reinvent Videos. A lot of information is shared in these 1 hour videos because people presenting the topics are the Project manager of services and experts in services.
Tip5: Watch the reinvent videos !
I took the official practice exam from AWS and score 100% . Then I took lost of practice exams from Acloudguru and linuxacademy and cloudacademy. I also found other practice exam questions from different forums. I looked for a good explanation for an answer rather than just the answer.
When I took the practice exams I focused on understanding the subject more than memorizing the answer.
Tip 6: Take a lots of practice exams. Understand the questions and the right answer and don’t try to memorize the answers.
Finally, I did a lot of projects on AWS. I built an Alexa skill using AWS Lambda as a backend.
You can find all my Alexa skills here: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dalexa-skills&field-keywords=saurav
I also did some interesting stuff on AWS. For example I built this serverless WebApp inspired from “Silicon Valley” TV show. Users log in through facebook and get temporary permissions and upload an image. Using Amazon Machine learning service and integration of services like Lambda, API gateway and S3, the app will tell whether the image contains a hot dog or not.
Check it out over here: http://cognito-prac-saurav.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/
At this point , I went in to take my Solutions architect exam and score 81%
After I passed this Exam I was offered to teach A bootcamp at an Institute nearby. I accepted the offer.
I went and taught a bootcamp course. I realized that I still needed to understand small things here and there to be able to explain things in simple terms.
I started making more AWS videos on Youtube. I also made an AWS course that teaches how to use the AWS CLI on Udemy. You can find the Udemy course here(coupon included) : https://www.udemy.com/aws-cli-course/?couponCode=CERTIFIED
I also run a free 2 hour workshops every Saturday where I teach people AWS concepts and do demoes and labs.
Tip 7: Write blog posts, make videos, volunteer to teach people AWS. This will help you understand small details about a subject.
I finally took my Sysops Admin after in-depth study of some services important for the Sysops exam. Like Cloudwatch, Autoscaling, troubleshooting, ELB. I took the exam and although it was a tough exam passed with 78%.
So in 3 months August- September I got all 3 associate certs. Next goal: get all the AWS certificates.
I am listing all the resources mentioned in the article below.I will be updating this article If I have any more resources to add.
Courses I recommend :
If you take a course on Udemy( Linuxacademy, Cloudguru etc) they all have practice exams.
Amazon has few sample questions in their exam objective: https://aws.amazon.com/certification/certified-solutions-architect-associate/
You can also pay $20 and take practice exam from Amazon. You can do that from the link above as well. You’ll get around 15 questions.
Other than that the official AWS SAA study guide has some practice exams:
Click this link to buy this book: https://amzn.to/2M6uXAk
Read the faq’s as well because some questions come straight from the https://aws.amazon.com/faqs/
Whitepapers by AWS ( especially the Security and well-architected framework): https://aws.amazon.com/whitepapers/
Regarding Developer exam, make sure to look into the CLI commands ( know how to use basic CLI for deploying/ describing EC2’s):
http://docs.aws.amazon.com/cli/latest/reference/ec2/index.html Read some Cloud formation documentation and I have a good video of it: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQP5dDPLts644H-gXjuRFq3k-2AR17UnQ
Check out my youtube channel with lots of AWS videos:
Update: I have passed 6 AWS Certs now and will be updating the post with how I got there soon.