AWS Certifications Study Guide, Part 4: AWS Solutions Architect Associate Level

(Update) We’ve recently added some great new content to prepare for the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Certification. This hands-on oriented Learning Path provides over 70 hours of interactive content comprised of hands-on labs, video courses, and a preparation exam. Take a look at the Solutions Architect Associate Learning Path.

 On top of that, we’ve also released some great new content to prepare for all AWS certifications, visit Cloud Academy’s AWS library for the latest on AWS certifications.


After the previous posts where we have seen how AWS certifications are structured and how to get ready for them, it’s now time to better understand each one of the available paths and see all the details about them. This new post of the AWS Certifications Study Guide will talk about the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Level certification, often considered the entry level in the AWS Certifications system, and also the first one to be launched by Amazon. We will see what it is thought for, what are the topics of this certification, and a few hints to become a certified AWS Solutions Architect.
AWS Solutions Architect Associate Level

The AWS Solutions Architect Associate level path

As the name implies, the AWS Solutions Architect certification aims at certifying your skills and knowledge as a Solutions Architect, that is designing complex architectures taking in due accounts the needs of the client and the requisites with regard to availability, data security, and safety, fault-tolerance, etc.. Applicants will be tested about their skills in identifying solutions built according to the AWS best practices, and about their capacity of providing guidance to developers and system administrators along the project lifecycle.

For example, some of the concepts that you will be tested about during the exam includes the capacity of selecting the right AWS service according to the computing, database or security requirements, assessing costs for the solution and identifying the strategies to implement cost control, import/exporting data to and from AWS and on-premises migrations in general, helping devs and sysadmins in troubleshooting the architecture and maintaining it, and so on.

This all means that this certification’s breadth and scope are particularly wide, ranging across many if not all the AWS services. On the other hand, people who went through it already say that this certification is not extremely difficult, and some hands-on experience plus an adequate study of the AWS documentation should be enough to pass the exam.
Amazon Web Servicese

Skills needed to pass the AWS Solutions Architect Associate level

First things first: there are some skills that are extremely important for you to have, and are not strictly related to AWS and its services, though:

  • a good understanding of basic concepts like Elasticity and Scalability;
  • mastering at least one high-level programming language, and having some familiarity with common software development practices;
  • general knowledge of both relational and NoSQL databases;
  • experience with RESTful Web Services, XML, and JSON: this is a mandatory one;
  • some good experience with multi-tier architectures;
  • deep knowledge of networking and TCP/IP protocols.

The last item is extremely important. Most of what you do from an AWS Solutions Architect point view involves networking, and you can expect a huge amount of questions about VPC, so it’s really important that you are familiar with both basic and advanced networking concepts.
More specifically to AWS, you should have some direct experience with the AWS console, interfaces like the SDK, the APIs, and the CLI. Of course, what’s most important is that you know all the AWS services and how they interact with each other.

All the core services like EC2, S3, ELB, AutoScaling, VPC, EBS, etc will be a topic for the exam, and you can expect to find more specific questions even about minor and less common services like Elastic Transcoder or Direct Connect. It’s not a hard exam, but it’s very thorough, and spanning across each and every AWS service. Mostly, all the questions will be about real-life scenarios where many services work together: that’s the purpose of being a Solutions Architect, after all! So, it’s really important that you focus not only on each service peculiarities and features but that you really understand how they work together.

How to get ready for the AWS Solutions Architect exam

The list of recommendations I already gave you in part 3 of our AWS Certifications Study Guide is still valid, and especially the first one: know your enemy! Aim your browser at the AWS Certifications website and thoroughly read the page dedicated to the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Level certification, and in particular, read the exam guide.

Once done, start playing with the AWS Console using the free tier. It’s quite easy to create architectural scenarios to see how the services work together (I will never be enough repeating that: this is all about how the AWS services work together!) and what happens when things get broken. This is probably the most important and useful advice, and of course, feel free to use our labs if you need some help in getting started with some of those services.

Practical sessions should meet some theoretical study too, though. The AWS documentation is extremely rich and thorough, and you should at least skim it to find the areas where you lack some knowledge. Cloud Academy’s AWS Training Library can help you here, since they both focus on specific services, and also on designing complex architectures, like in the course: How to Architect with a Design for Failure Approach There are courses about the AWS Storage Services, Security, Data Management, the AWS CLI, and much more: you should definitely take a look at them.

Next post of our AWS Certification Study Guide will be about the AWS Certified Developer Associate Level.

Avatar

Written by

Andrea Colangelo

Software Engineer with a solid focus on QA and an extensive experience in ICT. Above all, Andrea has a very strong interest in Free and Open Source Software, and he is a Debian and Ubuntu Developer since years. Non-tech interests include: Rugby, Jazz music and Cooking.


Related Posts

Avatar
Sudhi Seshachala
— October 9, 2019

Top 13 Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Best Practices

Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) brings a host of advantages to the table, including static private IP addresses, Elastic Network Interfaces, secure bastion host setup, DHCP options, Advanced Network Access Control, predictable internal IP ranges, VPN connectivity, movement of interna...

Read more
  • AWS
  • best practices
  • VPC
Avatar
Stuart Scott
— October 2, 2019

Big Changes to the AWS Certification Exams

With AWS re:Invent 2019 just around the corner, we can expect some early announcements to trickle through with upcoming features and services. However, AWS has just announced some big changes to their certification exams. So what’s changing and what’s new? There is a brand NEW ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Certifications
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— October 1, 2019

New on Cloud Academy: ITIL® 4, Microsoft 365 Tenant, Jenkins, TOGAF® 9.1, and more

At Cloud Academy, we're always striving to make improvements to our training platform. Based on your feedback, we released some new features to help make it easier for you to continue studying. These new features allow you to: Remove content from “Continue Studying” section Disc...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • ITIL® 4
  • Jenkins
  • Microsoft 365 Tenant
  • New content
  • Product Feature
  • Python programming
  • TOGAF® 9.1
Avatar
Stuart Scott
— September 27, 2019

AWS Security Groups: Instance Level Security

Instance security requires that you fully understand AWS security groups, along with patching responsibility, key pairs, and various tenancy options. As a precursor to this post, you should have a thorough understanding of the AWS Shared Responsibility Model before moving onto discussi...

Read more
  • AWS
  • instance security
  • Security
  • security groups
Avatar
Jeremy Cook
— September 17, 2019

Cloud Migration Risks & Benefits

If you’re like most businesses, you already have at least one workload running in the cloud. However, that doesn’t mean that cloud migration is right for everyone. While cloud environments are generally scalable, reliable, and highly available, those won’t be the only considerations dri...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Migration
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— September 12, 2019

Real-Time Application Monitoring with Amazon Kinesis

Amazon Kinesis is a real-time data streaming service that makes it easy to collect, process, and analyze data so you can get quick insights and react as fast as possible to new information.  With Amazon Kinesis you can ingest real-time data such as application logs, website clickstre...

Read more
  • amazon kinesis
  • AWS
  • Stream Analytics
  • Streaming data
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— September 6, 2019

Google Cloud Functions vs. AWS Lambda: The Fight for Serverless Cloud Domination

Serverless computing: What is it and why is it important? A quick background The general concept of serverless computing was introduced to the market by Amazon Web Services (AWS) around 2014 with the release of AWS Lambda. As we know, cloud computing has made it possible for users to ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— September 3, 2019

Google Vision vs. Amazon Rekognition: A Vendor-Neutral Comparison

Google Cloud Vision and Amazon Rekognition offer a broad spectrum of solutions, some of which are comparable in terms of functional details, quality, performance, and costs. This post is a fact-based comparative analysis on Google Vision vs. Amazon Rekognition and will focus on the tech...

Read more
  • Amazon Rekognition
  • AWS
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Google Vision
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— August 30, 2019

New on Cloud Academy: CISSP, AWS, Azure, & DevOps Labs, Python for Beginners, and more…

As Hurricane Dorian intensifies, it looks like Floridians across the entire state might have to hunker down for another big one. If you've gone through a hurricane, you know that preparing for one is no joke. You'll need a survival kit with plenty of water, flashlights, batteries, and n...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • New content
  • Product Feature
  • Python programming
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— August 27, 2019

Amazon Route 53: Why You Should Consider DNS Migration

What Amazon Route 53 brings to the DNS table Amazon Route 53 is a highly available and scalable Domain Name System (DNS) service offered by AWS. It is named by the TCP or UDP port 53, which is where DNS server requests are addressed. Like any DNS service, Route 53 handles domain regist...

Read more
  • Amazon
  • AWS
  • Cloud Migration
  • DNS
  • Route 53
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— August 22, 2019

How to Unlock Complimentary Access to Cloud Academy

Are you looking to get trained or certified on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, DevOps, Cloud Security, Python, Java, or another technical skill? Then you'll want to mark your calendars for August 23, 2019. Starting Friday at 12:00 a.m. PDT (3:00 a.m. EDT), Cloud Academy is offering c...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • cloud academy content
  • complimentary access
  • GCP
  • on the house
Avatar
Michael Sheehy
— August 19, 2019

What Exactly Is a Cloud Architect and How Do You Become One?

One of the buzzwords surrounding the cloud that I'm sure you've heard is "Cloud Architect." In this article, I will outline my understanding of what a cloud architect does and I'll analyze the skills and certifications necessary to become one. I will also list some of the types of jobs ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Cloud Computing