So, you decided to take the AWS Solutions Architect exam. A fantastic choice! You’re ready to level up your career and dive deeper into the fascinating world of AWS.
The only problem is that you have no idea where to start because you have never prepared for a certification like this and / or have no experience with AWS.
Do not worry. I was in the same boat not long ago.
Before I began preparing for this exam, I had very little exposure to AWS Training. The most I did was host a static site using an S3 cube.
Also, he had never worn a Solution Architect’s hat, at least in a professional setting.
Less than two months later, I am certified.
So what made this certification easy? Online learning materials.
Online learning materials are a game changer when it comes to studying for these certifications. They will make your life so much easier.
I went through tons and tons of resources while preparing for this exam, and have selected the ones that will help you get the best possible results.
Some resources will be free and others will cost you. I’m usually a big advocate for free resources, but in this space, you pay for what you get. Every penny was worth it. Without paid resources, this certification would have taken months to obtain.
You are lucky to have found this article because it is about to change your life!
Note: If you are looking for tips on how to pass the aws solutions architect certification, click here .
Help you pass your AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Associate Architect Certification Exam (SAA-C02).
Table of Contents
Why should you get certified?
My exam tips
Why should you get certified?
I saw this as an incredible opportunity to learn, and it turned out to be just that. In these two months, I was able to gain a holistic understanding of almost everything there is to know about being a solutions architect.
I’ve only worn the “developers” hat so far in my professional career, so it was fun to see how the applications I work on are designed on an enterprise scale.
It really makes you think about how you can design your application to be highly efficient, robust, secure, and cost-effective (yes, those are the four objectives you are tested on :).
Also, everything is related to infrastructure, architecture, development, deployment, monitoring, serverless computing, security, best practices, etc. The list goes on and on of what you can get from this certification.
If the thrill of learning isn’t enough for you, the average salary for aws solutions architect certification Professionals is well over $ 100,000 (change!). Of course, certification is not equal to competition, but it is certainly a good start.
I tried quite a few study resources. One couple proved to be incredibly valuable. I will list them in order of usefulness.
You can purchase this as a course on Udemy or through the ACloudGuru learning portal. I bought it on Udemy for $ 13. Wait for it to be on sale; you don’t want to spend $ 150.
ACloudGuru was the perfect place to start for me. They give hands-on lectures and labs that are informative and will keep you engaged.
They also do their best to keep their content up to date. Since the AWS landscape is continually changing, it can be challenging to find current resources
Something that worked for me during this course was first looking at the section summaries and then looking at all the lectures. This technique helps you focus on the most critical parts of each class.
With the ACloudGuru course comes the community. And this is one of the best assets out there. They have a discussion forum where people talk about their experience with the exam. If it weren’t for this, I would never have discovered Dojo Tutorials.
Here is an example of a forum post that is helpful. Always make sure to read the latest posts!
This resource , in conjunction with ACloudGuru, will take you approximately 50% of the way. If you already have experience with AWS, TutorialsDojo alone might be enough to get you ready.
Tutorials Dojo offers nearly 400 practice questions that explicitly focus on the relevant topics for this exam.
The package was around $ 15, and it was the best $ 15 I’ve ever spent.
Dojo Tutorials not only gives you a host of questions, it gives you incredibly detailed explanations of why each answer is what it is.
Additionally, they proide links to relevant AWS documentation and cheat sheets to help explain the concepts. These cheat sheets were helpful for this exam.
Official Study Guide for AWS Certified Developers
This study guide was especially helpful during the early stages of my preparation. Conceptually it helped me understand many of the core services.
Yes, I know this is a study guide for the developer exam. I took both tests because there was a lot of overlap between the two. It really is a test on the same content with a different perspective.
The value of this resource is the digestibility of the content. It is written in a way that provides excellent technical depth with minimal ambiguity. AWS documentation and whitepapers can be a bit difficult to beat at times. This study guide offers a layer of abstraction that doesn’t skimp on any of the details.
However, I will say that some of the review questions in this study guide are a bit outdated. But there is no waste of knowledge. It’s all good to know. And sometimes, understanding the historical context will provide a deeper appreciation of current ideologies and methods.
I was able to get this for free through an O’Reilly Learning subscription that I have through work. If you don’t have this, it’s $ 33 on Amazon. If you don’t want to spend this money, don’t worry, you can still be successful without it.
Additionally, the O’Reilly Learning Portal offers a good practice exam through Pearson. I recommend checking it out.
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AWS Documentation and White Papers
If you are ever confused about a particular topic or concept, the best place to clear up that confusion is at the source itself.
AWS documentation and whitepapers are the most current resources you will find. All the materials I have listed before are derived from here.
I found the “Best Practices” and Frequently Asked Questions sections the most helpful.
This one , for Amazon FSx, was responsible for three or four questions on the exam. Fortunately, I read this documentation just before taking the exam!
Always be careful of any API calls or limits you read about from other sources. Since AWS is constantly changing, these values will change as well. An API call that was recommended in 2016 can now be deprecated. The same goes for the limits. AWS Lambda functions used to have a maximum execution time of five minutes, and now it is 15.
Documentation is the best place to get the most up-to-date information for things like this.
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I paid for the practice test, and this was primarily a sanity check to make sure I was studying the correct content. It was $ 20 for 20 questions. It was worth it? Maybe not, but it gave me the confidence I needed to schedule my exam.
The questions you see on the practice test are very similar to those in the Dojo Tutorials pack.
Also, they don’t tell you which questions you got wrong. They just give you a percentage for each section (similar to how they present the results for the actual exam).
This resource was also helpful to me: Exam Preparation: AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate . It provided a different perspective on the core AWS services, as well as practice questions similar to what you can see on the exam.
I wouldn’t say that any of these resources are “must do” to get good results on the exam, but it’s always good to see different perspectives on the content. And this comes directly from the creators of the exam.
My exam tips
Study, study, study your main services!
Make sure what you are studying is up to date if you are taking the SAA-C02 exam. Dojo Tutorials help you understand what new services will appear in this exam.
A fair warning: scenario-type questions appear frequently. This type of problem tests your comprehensive knowledge about a specific service or collection of services and how they work together. This is more of an applied understanding, so memorization won’t help you here.
If you were planning on memorizing the practical questions from Dojo Tutorials, I wish you the best of luck. That is not the correct approach here. Take the time to learn about each of the services and what they do.
That is why I urge you to get as much practical experience as you can. Although I did not use this resource myself, I have heard that Qwiklabs is excellent for this.
Learn everything there is to know about CloudWatch and how you can use it with your local applications (this specific topic made me stumble on the exam).
Now what? Register and you ace the exam!
The exam costs $ 150 and you now have the option of taking it in your own home. Make sure you go to the bathroom first, as they won’t let you leave your workspace for more than two hours.
When will you be ready?
It is almost impossible to know when you are really ready. For me, once I finished the Udemy course (which took about a month), I went ahead and scheduled my exam for two weeks. Then if I felt like I needed a couple more days I would reschedule and delay (you can do this up to 24 hours before the scheduled exam time).
This technique put some fire under my butt and gave me the motivation I needed to do it. Putting the money in and having it on my calendar forced me to be responsible.
For the two weeks after the course and before the exam, I did nothing more than reinforce the knowledge I gained from the Udemy course by taking practice exams in Dojo Tutorials and using the resources I mentioned above.
I wish you the best of luck! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave an answer, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.