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:

  • Increased marketability to employers
  • Solid credentials in a growing industry (with projected growth of as much as 70 percent in five years)
  • It’s the highest paying IT certification in 2016, according to market analysis

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 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:

  • 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?

Next, 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.)

Second, 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 learning new topics. We’ll discuss some basics below, and I highly recommend this webinar where a professional with all 5 AWS Certifications describes their approach.

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!

Written by

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

— November 28, 2018

Two New EC2 Instance Types Announced at AWS re:Invent 2018 – Monday Night Live

Let’s look at what benefits these two new EC2 instance types offer and how these two new instances could be of benefit to you. Both of the new instance types are built on the AWS Nitro System. The AWS Nitro System improves the performance of processing in virtualized environments by...

Read more
  • AWS
  • EC2
  • re:Invent 2018
— November 21, 2018

Google Cloud Certification: Preparation and Prerequisites

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has evolved from being a niche player to a serious competitor to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In 2018, research firm Gartner placed Google in the Leaders quadrant in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for the first time. In t...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
Khash Nakhostin
— November 13, 2018

Understanding AWS VPC Egress Filtering Methods

Security in AWS is governed by a shared responsibility model where both vendor and subscriber have various operational responsibilities. AWS assumes responsibility for the underlying infrastructure, hardware, virtualization layer, facilities, and staff while the subscriber organization ...

Read more
  • Aviatrix
  • AWS
  • VPC
— November 10, 2018

S3 FTP: Build a Reliable and Inexpensive FTP Server Using Amazon’s S3

Is it possible to create an S3 FTP file backup/transfer solution, minimizing associated file storage and capacity planning administration headache?FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a fast and convenient way to transfer large files over the Internet. You might, at some point, have conf...

Read more
  • Amazon S3
  • AWS
— October 18, 2018

Microservices Architecture: Advantages and Drawbacks

Microservices are a way of breaking large software projects into loosely coupled modules, which communicate with each other through simple Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).Microservices have become increasingly popular over the past few years. The modular architectural style,...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Microservices
— October 2, 2018

What Are Best Practices for Tagging AWS Resources?

There are many use cases for tags, but what are the best practices for tagging AWS resources? In order for your organization to effectively manage resources (and your monthly AWS bill), you need to implement and adopt a thoughtful tagging strategy that makes sense for your business. The...

Read more
  • AWS
  • cost optimization
— September 26, 2018

How to Optimize Amazon S3 Performance

Amazon S3 is the most common storage options for many organizations, being object storage it is used for a wide variety of data types, from the smallest objects to huge datasets. All in all, Amazon S3 is a great service to store a wide scope of data types in a highly available and resil...

Read more
  • Amazon S3
  • AWS
— September 18, 2018

How to Optimize Cloud Costs with Spot Instances: New on Cloud Academy

One of the main promises of cloud computing is access to nearly endless capacity. However, it doesn’t come cheap. With the introduction of Spot Instances for Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2) in 2009, spot instances have been a way for major cloud providers to sell sp...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
— August 23, 2018

What are the Benefits of Machine Learning in the Cloud?

A Comparison of Machine Learning Services on AWS, Azure, and Google CloudArtificial intelligence and machine learning are steadily making their way into enterprise applications in areas such as customer support, fraud detection, and business intelligence. There is every reason to beli...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • Machine Learning
— August 17, 2018

How to Use AWS CLI

The AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) is for managing your AWS services from a terminal session on your own client, allowing you to control and configure multiple AWS services.So you’ve been using AWS for awhile and finally feel comfortable clicking your way through all the services....

Read more
  • AWS
Albert Qian
— August 9, 2018

AWS Summit Chicago: New AWS Features Announced

Thousands of cloud practitioners descended on Chicago’s McCormick Place West last week to hear the latest updates around Amazon Web Services (AWS). While a typical hot and humid summer made its presence known outside, attendees inside basked in the comfort of air conditioning to hone th...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Summits
— August 8, 2018

From Monolith to Serverless – The Evolving Cloudscape of Compute

Containers can help fragment monoliths into logical, easier to use workloads. The AWS Summit New York was held on July 17 and Cloud Academy sponsored my trip to the event. As someone who covers enterprise cloud technologies and services, the recent Amazon Web Services event was an insig...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Summits
  • Containers
  • DevOps
  • serverless