Everything you need to focus on in order to master the AWS Solutions Architect certification exam
Before talking about the AWS Solutions Architect exam, I’ll provide a brief introduction to Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS, the leading cloud provider in the market, started in 2007 with one service (Simple Storage Service – S3), and has since expanded rapidly in all directions while, at the same time, consistently dropping prices (they currently have over one million active enterprise customers).
In 2013 Amazon introduced their certification tracks which measured professional administrators’ AWS expertise. AWS tracks focus on three areas: Solutions Architects, Developers, and SysOps.
In this article, we will address the skills required for passing the AWS Solutions Architect exam – Associate level. Although there are many sources of information on AWS, your first stop for reliable information (after Cloud Academy) should be AWS documentation.
What you’ll need to study for the Solutions Architect exam:
Linux and other operating systems
You don’t need to be expert in any one operating system, but you’ll need to know how to access (using Windows RDP or Linux Shell) and manage EC2 Instances from the command line. Familiarity with the basic principles of virtualization can also be useful. With our Hands-On lab “Create your first Amazon EC2 Instance (Linux)” you’ll learn how to launch and configure your first Amazon EC2 instance using AWS Management Console.
AWS Solutions Architect exam and Networking
A solid understanding of TCP/IP networking concepts, IP addresses, CIDR is necessary. You should be very comfortable with configuring and working with AWS Virtual Private Clouds (VPC). Experience using network route tables, access control lists, firewalls, NAT, HTTP, DNS, IP, and OSI are all helpful. With the Introduction to Virtual Private Cloud Hands-on Lab, you’ll learn how to create an isolated network infrastructure.
Security and Reliability
You must understand how AWS access control lists, security groups, and IAM work. And you’re expected to be comfortable with high availability and design for failure best practices, along with those related to disaster recovery. Your application security experience should include public key encryption, SSH, access credentials, and X.509 certificates to pass the AWS Solutions Architect exam. With the Introduction to IAM Hands-on Lab, you’ll learn how to create IAM users and groups with specific policies.
Storage and Databases
You should have at least a basic understanding of your OS’ file systems to be able to properly work with Amazon’s Elastic Block Store (EBS) and Simple Storage Service (S3). Understanding RDBMS (using MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server), and NoSQL will also be expected. Storage Fundamentals for AWS provides an in-depth overview on EBS, S3, Glacier and more.
Enterprise architectures and Software life cycle
Be familiar with loose coupling and stateless systems, web servers (Apache, Nginx, IIS), caching, application servers, and load balancers, along with message queuing and RESTful Web Services, XML, and JSON. A strong understanding of how to interact with AWS (AWS SDK, AWS API, Command Line Interface, AWS CloudFormation) and the software development lifecycle are also assumed. Our beginner quiz on Amazon Web Services will test your knowledge on these topics and more.
Time and resources
Amazon recommends that you have at least one year of practical experience with AWS before doing the AWS certified solutions architect – associate level. The exam blueprint lists all the elements you’ll need to focus on. One month of focused study before the exam is a reasonable time.
Don’t look for leaked exam questions (brain dumps), as all candidates sign an NDA before doing the exam. And besides, many question sets available on the web are misleading. In any case, it’s good to have a real evaluation of your level of mastery that only an honest exam result can give you. The Solutions Architect exam questions are meant to test the real level of the candidate, as they are written by AWS experts, and they don’t contain filler questions.
Cloud Academy is a great place to start studying for AWS certified solutions architect. Cloud Academy has the most comprehensive Learning Path for the AWS Solution Architect Associate Certification exam. It includes over 18 hours of study materials with 9 downloadable video courses, 12 quiz sessions and 15 hands-on labs that were created to thoroughly addresses the skills you’ll need for the exam.
AWS is likely to continue its impressive growth as the demand for cloud services increases. Being certified improves your skills and attractiveness on the job market. Now you should be able to evaluate if you’re ready for the AWS Solutions Architect Exam – Associate level.