Skip to main content

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate: A Study Guide

The AWS Solutions Architect – Associate Certification (or Sol Arch Associate for short) offers some clear benefits:

  • Increases marketability to employers
  • Provides solid credentials in a growing industry (with projected growth of as much as 70 percent in five years)
  • Market analysis shows it is the highest paying AWS IT certification in 2019

If the AWS Solutions Architect – Associate is your next certification, you’re probably wondering where to start in your preparation. What do you need to learn? How long will it take? Don’t worry. At Cloud Academy, we’ve got you covered with this complete AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate study guide. Our Learning Path contains everything you need to know for this certification, organized step by step. This article explains how to use our Learning Paths, and how much time it takes to prepare for the exam.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate study guide: What is a Learning Path?

Cloud Academy offers a wide variety of video courses, quizzes, and Hands-on Labs on different areas of cloud computing. Our Learning Paths help you get from where you are to where you want to go. The Sol Arch associate learning path is essentially your AWS certified Solutions Architect – Associate study guide.

Our Solutions Architect – Associate Learning Path contains all of the courses, labs, and quizzes you need to help you pass the AWS certification exam.

Each type of content on the Learning Path serves a different instructional purpose:

  • Video courses provide guided lectures on key areas of the exam, with examples.
  • The Hands-on Labs provide direct access to the AWS service test areas.
  • Quizzes are the opportunity to show what you’ve learned, with links to AWS documentation.

The Solutions Architect – Associate Learning Path focuses on:

  • Designing highly available, cost-efficient, fault tolerant and scalable systems
  • Implementation and deployment
  • Data security
  • Troubleshooting

Using the Learning Path

An essential element of the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate study guide involves understanding the gaps in your knowledge. First, consider what you already know and what you need to know. Where do you have experience in computing or working with cloud services? What basic cloud service types (IaaS, PaaS or SaaS, for example) are you most familiar with? How does this prepare you for the Solutions Architect exam?

Second, take a look at the general knowledge prerequisites. The only prior knowledge recommended for this Learning Path is basic familiarity with core AWS functions. If you know these functions, then you are ready. (If you are new to AWS, or want a refresher, start with the Fundamentals of AWS Learning Path first).

Third, the Solutions Architect – Associate Learning Path naturally builds from AWS fundamentals to more advanced areas. For the best approach, start at the beginning with the first course and continue step by step. Complete each activity in order to ensure that you’re familiar with services like EC2 or DynamoDB. Then, move on to test your knowledge in the labs and quizzes.

You see, there is no secret. Just make sure that you understand the fundamentals of AWS, and go from there.

How long will it take?

This is a natural question. Passing the exam requires being well prepared, and how long that takes depends on where you start.

On average, we recommend approximately 80 hours of preparation for the Solution Architect – Associate Exam, as long as you have some AWS experience. This includes study across all of your resources, including our Solutions Architect Learning Path, and any other resources that you choose. (Here you will find more advice and recommended study resources for the Solutions Architect – Associate Certification). With a full-time job and other commitments, investing 80 hours of study usually takes two months.

If you are entirely new to AWS, we recommend approximately 120 hours or three months to prepare. Start with the fundamentals, and then move to the Solutions Architect – Associate Learning Path.

Where to focus your time

How much of the Solutions Architect – Associate exam connects with your current or previous work experience? This will give you an idea of where to focus your time on learning new topics. We’ll discuss some basics below, and I highly recommend this webinar where two experienced professionals give insight into preparing yourself for certification exams.

About 60 percent of the Solutions Architect – Associate Exam focuses on Designing Solutions. If you work in Solutions Design or Architecture, or if your role includes these responsibilities, these topics, concepts, and services may already be familiar to you.

Another 30 percent of the Solutions Architect Associate exam concentrates on security and troubleshooting, which might be familiar to those with an IT or System Administrator background.

The remaining 10 percent focuses on deployment and implementation, which may be familiar to developers or programmers. However, the Solutions Architect – Associate Exam focuses mainly on infrastructure. As a result, the concepts and services covered in the exam may be entirely new if your primary experience is in software programming or coding.

Ultimately, where you decide to focus your time and how much time you spend depends on you. The best approach to our Learning Path is to delve deeply into any unfamiliar territory. Watch and rewatch the videos (and post your questions as comments – we will respond!). Take your time in each Hands-on Lab to get comfortable with the different services in AWS. Finally, explore the AWS documentation links in the quizzes.

We don’t want to tell anyone to spend more or less time preparing for the exam. Therefore, you will want to consider your areas of expertise and how they relate to this certification. Finally, if you already have AWS experience, you can use 80 hours of study as a starting point and adjust your strategy from there. The best approach takes the best practices and advice from many sources and is tailored to fit your experience, goals, and schedule.

Good luck!

Avatar

Written by

John Chell

John enjoys the mixture of creativity and learning science in educational publishing, with a focus on building and organizing assessment. Outside of work, he is an audiophile who loves exploring new music, teaching his daughter new songs, and attending and performing live music.

Related Posts

Chris Gambino and Joe Niemiec
Chris Gambino and Joe Niemiec
— June 11, 2019

Moving Data to S3 with Apache NiFi

Moving data to the cloud is one of the cornerstones of any cloud migration. Apache NiFi is an open source tool that enables you to easily move and process data using a graphical user interface (GUI).  In this blog post, we will examine a simple way to move data to the cloud using NiFi c...

Read more
  • AWS
  • S3
Avatar
Chandan Patra
— June 11, 2019

Amazon DynamoDB: 10 Things You Should Know

Amazon DynamoDB is a managed NoSQL service with strong consistency and predictable performance that shields users from the complexities of manual setup.Whether or not you've actually used a NoSQL data store yourself, it's probably a good idea to make sure you fully understand the key ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • DynamoDB
Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— June 6, 2019

The 11 AWS Certifications: Which is Right for You and Your Team?

As companies increasingly shift workloads to the public cloud, cloud computing has moved from a nice-to-have to a core competency in the enterprise. This shift requires a new set of skills to design, deploy, and manage applications in cloud computing.As the market leader and most ma...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Certifications
Sam Ghardashem
Sam Ghardashem
— May 15, 2019

Aviatrix Integration of a NextGen Firewall in AWS Transit Gateway

Learn how Aviatrix’s intelligent orchestration and control eliminates unwanted tradeoffs encountered when deploying Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Firewalls with AWS Transit Gateway.Deploying any next generation firewall in a public cloud environment is challenging, not because of the f...

Read more
  • AWS
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— May 3, 2019

AWS Config Best Practices for Compliance

Use AWS Config the Right Way for Successful ComplianceIt’s well-known that AWS Config is a powerful service for monitoring all changes across your resources. As AWS Config has constantly evolved and improved over the years, it has transformed into a true powerhouse for monitoring your...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Compliance
Avatar
Francesca Vigliani
— April 30, 2019

Cloud Academy is Coming to the AWS Summits in Atlanta, London, and Chicago

Cloud Academy is a proud sponsor of the 2019 AWS Summits in Atlanta, London, and Chicago. We hope you plan to attend these free events that bring the cloud computing community together to connect, collaborate, and learn about AWS. These events are all about learning. You can learn how t...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Summits
Paul Hortop
Paul Hortop
— April 2, 2019

How to Monitor Your AWS Infrastructure

The AWS cloud platform has made it easier than ever to be flexible, efficient, and cost-effective. However, monitoring your AWS infrastructure is the key to getting all of these benefits. Realizing these benefits requires that you follow AWS best practices which constantly change as AWS...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Monitoring
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— April 1, 2019

AWS EC2 Instance Types Explained

Amazon Web Services’ resource offerings are constantly changing, and staying on top of their evolution can be a challenge. Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) instances are one of their core resource offerings, and they form the backbone of most cloud deployments. EC2 instances provide you with...

Read more
  • AWS
  • EC2
Avatar
Nitheesh Poojary
— March 26, 2019

How DNS Works – the Domain Name System (Part One)

Before migrating domains to Amazon's Route53, we should first make sure we properly understand how DNS worksWhile we'll get to AWS's Route53 Domain Name System (DNS) service in the second part of this series, I thought it would be helpful to first make sure that we properly understand...

Read more
  • AWS
Avatar
Stuart Scott
— March 14, 2019

Multiple AWS Account Management using AWS Organizations

As businesses expand their footprint on AWS and utilize more services to build and deploy their applications, it becomes apparent that multiple AWS accounts are required to manage the environment and infrastructure.  A multi-account strategy is beneficial for a number of reasons as ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Identity Access Management
Avatar
Sanket Dangi
— February 11, 2019

WaitCondition Controls the Pace of AWS CloudFormation Templates

AWS's WaitCondition can be used with CloudFormation templates to ensure required resources are running.As you may already be aware, AWS CloudFormation is used for infrastructure automation by allowing you to write JSON templates to automatically install, configure, and bootstrap your ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • CloudFormation
Badrinath Venkatachari
Badrinath Venkatachari
— February 1, 2019

10 Common AWS Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Massive migration to the public cloud is changing architecture patterns, operating principles, and governance models. That means new approaches are vital to get a handle on soaring cloud spend. Because the cloud’s short-term billing cycles call for financial discipline, you must empower...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Operations