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How I passed my AWS Solution Architect - Associate Certificate (and you can too!)
At Opsview we have an interest in making sure we understand our customer’s environments as best as possible. As a member of our pre-sales team a large amount of my time is spent looking at the various environments of our customers. As a result, it’s pretty much expected that we are able to understand how modern infrastructure is plugged together. This recently led to me choosing to formalise my Amazon Web Services (AWS) knowledge with the AWS Solution architect – Associate certificate. If you’re planning to take the same qualification, this blog is for you.
Learn the syllabus
I chose to use A Cloud Guru video course to make sure that I knew everything relevant. It resulted in watching about 18 hours of video and working through some of the AWS exercises. It’s worth noting that none of the exercises actually cost any money thanks to the AWS free tier/trial functionality; so it’s a useful exercise to make the most of.
Practice and revise
The Amazon-issued practice test is worth its weight in gold, or at-least the $20 it costs. Many people screenshot the questions during the practice and use them as flash cards for revision. I personally used the tests provided by the ‘A Cloud Guru’ team and then finished it off with the practice test. On-top of this, the end of ‘chapter’ videos provided by ‘A Cloud Guru’ are brilliant for revision.
The test itself
Amazon’s exams are hosted by Kryterion test centres. This means that unlike many other certifications where you can take them at home using remote proctoring you will need to venture outside and actually sit in an exam booth, within a designated centre. I chose to take mine at Avnet’s head office in Bracknell. As far as an exam goes I personally found it a bit of a struggle. There are a lot of questions and not that much time to deal with them in.
The one question I was so pleased to have seen in the practice test was the question around which metric CloudWatch does not offer (it is memory utilisation folks! as its not available to the hypervisor). Actually if this is a metric you need to track, give Opsview Monitor a shot as its certainly something we can collect - try it for free
Awaiting the results
Fortunately the system tells you the results as soon as you have finished your exam – so as soon as I hit next on the screen I knew I had passed! Phew. I still received this email as soon as I turned my phone on though, just for double confirmation.
Like any formal exam or accreditation, finding and making the time and effort to study is the majority of the battle. While it sounds like common sense, preparing yourself as best as possible for the ensuing test will makes things so much easier. I strongly recommend utilising low cost training resources such as ‘A Cloud Guru’ (no they’re not paying me to say this!) or any other references online. They really are worth their weight in gold.
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