AWS Certifications Study Guide, part 3: how to get ready for the AWS Certifications

In our AWS Certifications Study Guide posts, we have seen why AWS Certifications matter for your job profile, how they are are structured, which paths are available, and how to achieve a certification. Now, we can address how to get ready for the AWS Certifications.
How to prepare for the exam depends on the specific path that you are tackling. As we have already seen, the path for AWS Solutions Architect is quite different from that for AWS Developers because each path focuses on different services and skills. Nevertheless, many preparation strategies are relevant and useful no matter what exam you’re studying for.
In the next part of our guide, we will dedicate separate posts to each of the currently available AWS Certification paths, with specific suggestions on how to prepare for each. In the meantime, let’s look at some general advice that applies to preparing for all of the exams.

How to get ready for the AWS Certifications? Know your enemy

The first thing you should do is delve deeper into the AWS website to gather whatever information you may get about the AWS certification that you’re pursuing. This is your best and most important source of information, and you should be aware of every single detail that you might find in the official documentation. The website provides the fundamental information that you need, but you will want to to have a deep knowledge of everything you find there. In particular, read the blueprints for each certification. The exam blueprint provides the best overview of what you will be tested on and you will want to be familiar with every word of this document.
Another strategy that many students have found useful is to read the FAQs of each AWS service a couple days before the exam. While these are usually not very technical, they will serve as a refresher for the core topics.

Experience, experience, experience.

No matter what path you’re taking, some direct experience with AWS is the best way to achieve certification. This is particularly true for advanced certifications like the AWS Solutions Architect Professional, where Amazon recommends “two or more years hands-on experience designing and deploying cloud architecture on AWS“. So, if you already have experience working on real AWS resources, and if that experience spans across many different services at a deep level, you are probably halfway there.
Unfortunately, those without significant working experience may only have knowledge of a small subset of AWS services. The AWS Free Tier might come in handy here. With the AWS Free Tier, you have the opportunity to work with real AWS resources and you can practice architecting complex infrastructures and get real experience in how things work inside the platform. That’s probably the best training that you can do on your own, and if you’d like to have some guidance in using AWS services, you may want to try Cloud Academy Labs.
Our exclusive technology will assign you a goal and will guide you through the process, step by step drive, even giving you hints if it notices that you are stuck. Some of our most popular hands-on labs include Create your first Amazon S3 bucket, Create your first Amazon EC2 Instance, and Introduction to CloudWatch. We also have a selection of resources for AWS DevOps, and Serverless Computing and choose the lab that fits your exam prep requirements. You can view all of our hands-on labs here.

Read the AWS Whitepapers

One of the best resources you that may find on the AWS website are their whitepapers. They contain a lot of information about topics and scenarios that will be asked in the exam. There is an extensive list of whitepapers available, so you’ll want to focus on the ones that fit your path. In our upcoming posts we will share our recommendations for the best whitepapers for each exam.

Online courses for AWS Certifications

Online courses are one of the resources most appreciated by learners, especially because they allow you to learn in your spare time and at your own pace. There are many resources available on the internet, including our online courses, that can provide a good overview of AWS resources and solutions. Also, I highly recommend re:Invent. If you’re able to attend the annual conference, this is great opportunity to be exposed to the AWS ecosystem and the sessions (which are usually posted online) can be very helpful as well.

AWS Sample Questions

Because of the official AWS policy, it’s difficult to know exactly what kind of questions you will be asked during the exam. AWS typically offers a few example questions for each path on their website. These questions are not very exhaustive and provide a very general idea of the real questions that you’ll encounter on the exam.
If you want to test your knowledge about AWS services at a deeper level, you may want to check out our quizzes, which are especially targeted at deeply testing your knowledge about each service. Our quizzes come with explanations and links to documentation for every single question, and there are hundreds of quiz sessions to choose from.

Finally, test yourself with Learning Paths

So how do you get prepared for the AWS Certifications? Cloud Academy Learning Paths are designed to help you prepare for AWS certifications, and we have a dedicated learning path for each of the 5 AWS certifications. Each single learning path contains all of the video courses, dedicated quizzes, and hands-on labs that you need to prepare for certification.
In the next post in our AWS Certifications Study Guide, we will take a closer look at each of the 5 certification paths, starting from the first and most common one: the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Level Certification.

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