Ales Nosek - The Software Practitioner

Practicing to make software perfect.

How I Achieved the AWS Associate Certifications

Over the course of the last year I was working towards transitioning our company’s products to the AWS cloud. I gained a solid experience with many of the AWS services, wrote lots of lines of CloudFormation code, and embraced AWS reference architectures and best practices. To round up my AWS experience I thought that accomplishing some certifications would be a good idea. In this post, I am going to share with you how I achieved the AWS associate certifications.

AWS certifications are divided into three levels of difficulty: foundational, associate, and professional. The foundational level is optional. If you worked with AWS cloud hands-on for several months, I would recommend skipping the foundational level and start your certification path at the associate level. The associate level comes with three certification options: Solutions Architect, Developer, and SysOps Administrator. In order to achieve a specific certification, you have to pass the respective multiple-choice test. As the requirements for the three tests highly overlap, I decided to study for all three certifications at the same time.

AWS certification is rather popular these days. It’s no wonder that there is an abundance of preparation materials available. So, which one should you choose? I started off by reading the three official study guides:

The three study guides are well organized and go beyond the associate exam requirements. I would recommend reading them even when you don’t plan to get certified as they provide a good source of information about AWS in general.

In addition to reading the books, I made use of the AWS training courses offered by A Cloud Guru. I watched most of the videos from the Solutions Architect course and some of the videos from the SysOps Administrator course. I enjoyed the presentation style of Ryan Kroonenburg a lot and appreciated the practical demonstrations on AWS and the included exam tips. As I didn’t really want to spend the time watching all the videos, I used ffmpeg to extract the audio tracks and listened to the courses while driving or being in the gym. Besides the training courses by A Cloud Guru, people also recommend the AWS courses offered by Linux Academy.

Another useful prep material for the exam is the Jayendra’s AWS Certification Exam Cheat Sheet. It includes study notes as well as sample questions.

Before taking the real exam, I practiced using mock exams. You can find many of them freely available on the Internet. I also used several mock exam applications for Android:

Note that the quality of the available prep materials varies and some of the materials may contain errors.

Finally, after I completed my studying, I took the three associate exams. Here are my results:

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate exam passed with 89%
  • AWS Certified Developer - Associate exam passed with 94%
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate exam passed with 95%

If you are preparing to get your AWS certifications, I hope that sharing my experience might have been helpful for you.