So, my AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate certification expired a month ago, meaning I had 2 options if I wanted to keep the logo on my website and not get kicked out of the Linked-In group…
- Renew my AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate certification
- Put life aside for a month and immerse my self completely in the world of AWS in order to pass the Professional exam
Both options came with a 1 year grace period (very handy) however, after having passed the Security Speciality earlier this year, I had a 50% discount off my next exam, meaning the failure of either would not hurt as much as paying the full price.
Summer was basically over anyway, and it wouldn’t hurt to take a break from coding, reading, movies, music, friends and all the other stuff I like to fill my spare time with. So after wincing at the price (even after the discount), and debating for at least an hour on whether the money would be better spent on some new headphones, I decided a month of study should be enough to cover the professional blueprint and booked the exam for the end of the month - there’s no turning back that way…
I really hoped there would be a decent book out by now, as I like to get deep and technical when studying, and you can’t beat a good 1000+ page reference manual…no such luck this time. The book I would have purchased - Aws Certified Solutions Architect Professional Exam Cert Guide was 2 months away from being published, so that just left whitepapers, FAQ’s, YouTube and online training courses.
Searching google threw up loads of courses from both well known and trusted sites, to some less known but cheap (less than £15) sites. I decided to take a punt on a Udemy course first and found that if I watched the videos at 1.3x speed I was able to better understand the instructor and cover more material on the train journey - bonus!
From there I moved to CloudAcademy who offered a 7-day trial which had some solid content and excellent quizzes, before finishing off the last couple of weeks study with YoutTube, whitepapers, FAQ’s, the updated A Cloud Guru Associate course and the older but relevant Professional course - occasionally all at the same time :)
Along with my 50% off exam voucher, I also had a free practice test voucher that I used the day before the exam to get a feel for the questions and see what last minute areas I need to focus on.
At the time I wished I hadn’t, as even though I was not concentrating on the questions, I still managed to fail in a spectacular manner - I’d read that many do but it didn’t help me feel better.
Looking back though I wish I’d done it sooner, as not only did it highlight some (many) weak areas but I’m sure the first few questions on the exam were the same as those on the practice test… Either way, I was better prepared and managed to pass on my first attempt!
I quite fancy the Big Data Specialty now….maybe next year.