On the 11th of March, I completed the Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) exam. After posting it on social media, I received some questions about how I passed it and how the exam was. I'll try to answer these questions within this blog article.
It started all around christmas last year. I saw an offer at SitePoint Premium from A Cloud Guru. They offered a bundle of 3 courses to get AWS certified. They offered the following courses;
- Certified Developer - Associate
- Certified Solutions Architect - Associate
- Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate
I decided to start with the SA course. I have been working with AWS already for over a year and I wanted to have a greater overview of all AWS services.
Through the last 2 months, I watched over 11 hours of video and tried some stuff within the AWS console. I made sure that in all tests on A Cloud Guru, I scored at least 90%. Although the same questions are asked over and over again, it gave me an overview of my knowledge.
I continued with reading the recommended white papers by AWS. Then I went on with reading the FAQ of several services. They contain a lot of extra information you might be questioned about.
Lots of people on the internet are already mentioning that the actual exam is way harder than expected. I can confirm this. There are a lot of scenario-based questions which sometimes are even misleading. You might also be questioned about services you are not familiar with yet.
Mine had quiet some questions about Active Directory and AWS Direct Connect. Both are distant subjects for me since I am not using them currently and I don't expect to use them anytime soon. I also had a couple of questions about CloudHSM. I can't recall I saw this coming by in any of the videos on A Cloud Guru. If you have read the white papers and the FAQs, you should be fine though.
If you are about to take the exam, I have the following recommendations for you:
- Read the white papers. There is useful information in it.
- Go through all the FAQs of all services. It contains viable information.
- Don't just watch videos, but also play with the AWS Console.
- Read questions in the exam twice. There are moments they try to mislead you.
- Any question you have doubts about, mark it to review it later. Better safe then sorry.
Would I recommend A Cloud Guru? Definitely. Even if you are not interested in getting certified, the videos give you a great overview. The videos are less then 20 minutes each, so it's great to view it when you have some spare time.
I passed the exam with a score of 76%.
Here is the complete overview of my scoring;
- Designing highly available, cost efficient, fault tolerant, scalable systems : 72%
- Implementation/Deployment: 83%
- Security: 81%
- Troubleshooting: 80%