AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Reflection

I recently passed the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate certification and thought i’d share my experience.

I’ve been using AWS for about 18 months and have a strong background with cloud technologies. I was pretty confident that i could sit this exam without any studying. However, that is never worth the risk, so i decided to enrol in Adrian Cantrils solutions architect course. I’ve always struggled with video based learning, but i’ve heard great things about his courses so i thought i’d give it a go… What a humbling experience… I realised i didnt know half of what was required for the exam. There is a whopping 72 hours of videos to go through for the exam. Fortunately i had a couple of weeks leave between jobs, so i decided to capitalise on that time off.

Adrians course dives into detail - considerably more than is needed for the exam. His courses truely are about upskilling in AWS and not just about passing the exam. If your focus is on just passing the exam, there are definetely more streamlined courses out there that will do the job. However, if you geniunely want to improve your knowledge in AWS, i dont think there is a better course out there.

Inside Adrians course, there is an entire section on cloudformation:

Due to time constraints (and tiredness!) i opted to not bother with cloudformation. What i’ve seen of it seems overly complex and I decided that i would take the hit and just guess and cloudformation related questions. Im a terraform man and am struggling to see what benefit cloudformation would provide for me… It was a gamble that clearly paid off and i was able to pass the exam without studying cloudformation at all. Intepret that as you want.

The exam itself was really straightforward. Perhaps ive been acclimbatized to ISC2, but the questions were easy to understand and made sense. Out of the answers, there were often incorrect answers which really helped in situations where I needed to make an educated guess. In contrast to ISC2, where all the answers are correct… However, i’ve heard that this is different for the professional exam, where all the answers are correct and you need to pick the most applicable. Most of the questions in the assoicate exam were worded like that, “pick the most suitable” or “cheapest”, but the answers were so disimilar it was easy.

I’d say it was comfortably the easiest exam I have taken out of CISSP, CCSP and Azure Security Associate, but it was still pretty meaty. There were a lot of questions on hybrid environments, databases and file storage. My strongest areas is probably security, which wasnt really covered that much in this course.

To summarise: - the exam is pretty straightforward - adrian cantrils course is fantastic, but WAY more detailed than needed

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