Passed AWS CSA - Associate (10/14)

averageguy72averageguy72 Member Posts: 323 ■■■■□□□□□□
Passed the AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate exam this weekend, took about an hour.

Study Material
A Cloud Guru videos series, quizzes and iPhone app

I've been in the IT industry 20 years and have been working in a SaaS company for the last 14 years (back when it was an ASP). I architected and wrote most of the core platform software libraries, services and processes. I designed and managed the infrastructure being used as well.

Until about a month ago, I had zero experience with Amazon AWS but I decided to get familiar with how the platform was implemented and the capabilities to see if/how some of the offerings could be applied to my company's business. I also wanted to gain some insight for better approaches to how we may be able to do things. Turns out, I really like Amazon AWS. I've used it for some projects for my company on my own dime to do some POCs and will probably continue using it in the same capacity for now. I didn't really intend to go for a certification at the outset. But once I used AWS, I wanted to learn more. As I started researching for the best option to get a really good overview of the platform I stumbled upon the A Cloud Guru site. Once I started getting deeper into it, I decided I might as well get a certification out of it.

I viewed the videos and took notes, around 50 pages. My plan was to do what I normally do; go through the information once and take condensed notes, review the notes and take practice tests every day until it's driven into my head, then take the test after 1-3 weeks.

In this case, I didn't do the 1-3 week review nor did I get very hands on with the platform. I just viewed the videos and took notes. There is a possible need for this in the short-term related to a project at work so about half way through watching the videos I wanted to go ahead and try for the cert. I should have been done with the videos a week or two earlier but I'd get lazy and take a couple days off between watching them. I did do some EC2 and CloudFront experimentation, took the quizzes and used the iPhone app, but that was about all I did before taking the test.

Study material review
I liked the A Cloud Guru video series. I think it goes in-depth enough to pass and points you to the white papers and FAQs for more complete information. I recommend not doing what I did. Take the time to read through the white papers and FAQs. Review notes over a couple of weeks before attempting the exam to get some of the finer points down. Practice tests are quite limited, so it'll be better to have the information down before trying the exam. The A Cloud Guru quizzes are well done and align well with how the actual exam questions are structured. A handful were very similar.

The test
I have to say, this is the best exam I've taken thus far. The questions were clearly worded. Most were scenario questions.

My score breakdown perfectly reflects my limited hands on - have about 3 weeks of hands on - as well as my lack of review of my notes and the white papers. I'm not ecstatic with my score but that's my fault for not adhering to my normal approach and taking my time. I definitely learned my lesson. I don't like ending up with a mediocre score when I know I could have done much better with just another week of review with my notes. Lesson learned.

Overall Score: 77%

Topic Level Scoring:
1.0  Data Security: 55%
2.0  Implementation/Deployment: 60%
3.0  Troubleshooting: 100%
4.0  Designing highly available, cost-efficient, fault-tolerant, scalable systems: 82%

I'll work on additional AWS certs in the near future but I also have several others I want to accomplish. I'll work on Azure eventually as well. Need to get back to CISM and finish it up.
CISSP / CCSP / CCSK / CRISC / CISM / CISA / CASP / Security+ / Network+ / A+ / CEH / eNDP / AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty / AWS Certified Security - Specialty / AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional / AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional / AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate / AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate / AWS Certified Developer - Associate / AWS Cloud Practitioner


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