I passed my AWS Solution Architect-Associate exam on 11th August 2018 with 81% marks. I decided to write this blog to share my own experience and study plan with aspiring professionals planning to write AWS-SA-Associate exam.
I’m Niraj Kumar an ex-Microsoft employee who is Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Private cloud and O365 certified Enterprise Cloud architect, who also happens to be an MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer). I’ve total 18 years of IT industry experience and primarily worked with Microsoft technologies. For last 8 years I’ve be fully immersed and working with Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, O365, IAM, Security.
What got me interested in AWS!
My journey with AWS started when one fine day while having team lunch I had an animated discussion on Azure vs AWS with one of my colleagues. By this time you would have guessed that being a passionate Microsoft Azure certified professional I would have defended Azure superiority over AWS in all departments. 🙂 But after dust settled, my co-worker suggested to learn about AWS and subsequently write AWS-SA-Associate certification exam. He was confident after AWS certification, I would be able to air a balanced and unbiased perspective about both the cloud providers. It was one of the best advice I ever received. So this was my turning point and my journey began of true Multi-Cloud Enterprise Cloud Architect.
My Study Plan
If you want to be successful in the exam, you will have to be committed and married to “A Study Plan”. There are many courses and study materials which can be used for exam preparation but if you plan to use all of those you will never get through. My advice is to devise a Study Plan and stick to it no matter who says what. I’ve used this strategy time and again to successfully pass more than 10 Microsoft certification exams in last 2 years. One very important advice is when you are creating your study plan please consult a certified person to get the list of study tools and material to be incorporated in your plan. It’s very important to choose the best course material and who else other than a certified person can give better advice.
My simple yet effective study plan consist of 4 parts:
Part-1 Watching Video : I watched over 40 hours of video courses to build a strong basic foundation knowledge of AWS cloud platform. I consulted following 2 courses.
- Acloud.Guru AWS-SA-Associate course: I really loved this course for it’s accuracy and amazingly detailed lectures on Exam Tips & Tricks. I highly recommend you take this course.
- Linux Academy AWS-SA-Associate Course: This was one of my favorite course I’ve ever taken from Linux academy. In this course the instructor has used Interactive Visio-like diagram to explain the concepts. Very innovative idea and I recommend this course.
Part-2 doing Hands On Lab:
- I signed up for AWS free tier account and practiced by following along labs in Acloudguru course.
- Here I want to give a shout out to Linux Academy because they are offering Real-AWS lab which utilizes their own AWS account. It was really unique and easy to do the labs without having to sign up for AWS free tier account.
Part-3 Reading book/whitepaper:
- I referred AWS Certified Solutions Architect Official Study Guide: Associate Exam published by Sybex. It was really a good book to read.
- Read S3, EC2, IAM, VPC, RDS, SQS, Dynamodb Faqs.
- Also referred study notes based on AcloudGuru prepared by Agasthi Kothurkar.
Part-4 Practice questions: I used all possible avenues to try and attempt as many questions ( 1000+) I could. The key here is: “The more you practice the better it is“. I leveraged following sources for practice test:
- Acloudguru course practice questions. (Part of Course)
- Linux Academy course practice questions. (Part of Course)
- Practice questions included in AWS Certified Solutions Architect Official Study Guide: Associate Exam
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Practice Tests (Paid)
- AWS Solutions Architect Associate Test Questions (Free)
- SimpliLearn free practice questions ( Free )
- Cloudassessments free practice test (Free)
- Awsapprentice free practice test (Free)
- Finally google for AWS practice questions and attempt those. 🙂
I tried to summarize everything in easiest possible way and if you have any feedback or questions feel free to leave your comments below! My Multi-Cloud journey has just begun next I’m preparing for Google Cloud Architect Professional exam before returning to complete AWS-SA-Pro exam.
Wish me good luck and I wish you all good luck with the exam and do let me know how you did in exam!
Niraj Kumar|Azure Architect-MCSD, AWS SA-A, MCSA-O365, MCT, PMP