Author: Andrew Larkin, Eric Magalhaes
Jun, 20th 2016

[Andy]: Welcome to the Cloud Academy webinar on preparing for the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Exam

So first of all congratulations on wanting to clear the cert bar and becoming an AWS ninja. Good stuff! Let's hope we can share some information with you today that can get you ready for the exam if it is your first time or help you on your second attempt.

So my name is Andy. I'm here with Eric Magalhaes and we are both part of the AWS content team at CloudAcademy and we are happy to be your hosts today.

Now we've both been through multiple certifications ourselves and we're very passionate about helping you get up to speed and to get certified on AWS.

So I bring the enthusiasm and Eric brings the expertise. You’ll be learning here exactly what you need to pass the AWS Solutions Architect exam – Associate level. Eric has a heap of experience in the front line implementing AWS for customers. He's a genius at problem solving, troubleshooting and of course creating great course content. Now I've worked at AWS as a territory partner manager so most of my last two years has been about helping partner teams get AWS trained and certified. So I feel your pain and we're here to help you. So look the objective of today is just help you focus your study and to outline some resources that can help you prepare.

Let's start by explaining the program tiers for the exams and what we can expect from the exam itself.

And then we can have a look at a few scenarios to help us get up to speed and direct our attention so that we're using our time between now and when you do set the exam to best effect.

We might try a few quiz questions too just to sharpen our pencils. Let's walk through some of these first bits up front shall we?

 

How the AWS Solutions Architect Certifications are Structured

 

There's two levels. There's the Associate and the Professional. So both levels are achieved by sitting a proctored exam. You have to do it at a local AWS accredited testing partner. If you don't know where those are look on the AWS website There's a list of them there. You can book it, it's generally through criterion. You do need to have it proctored. It's quite a formal process that you need to go through when you sit.

The Associate exams are 80 minutes. The AWS Solutions Architect Exam is in my opinion is not the hardest of the exams in the Associate tier, but it's not the easiest either. So the developer is perhaps a little easier in some ways because it's got quite a broad brush of content. What I think is the challenge with AWS Solutions Architect Associate is that it's very heavily weighted towards architecting high availability and durability and cost efficiency. So you really expect it to be able to bring all the solutions and services together and to be able to recognize and explain a lot of those services.

And because it's a proctored exam you've got 80 minutes and time goes very quickly and you need to be able to answer questions quite quickly otherwise you find yourself running out of time and then you panic and of course that's the worst scenario, when you're just trying to get the question and you just have no idea what you're doing.

So hopefully we've got some things that can help you get yourselves ready for that and feel more comfortable.

It's a very good exam to have, having been in the industry for a few years. I think it's one of the most respected certifications to have out there. You're in a minority of people who have it when you pass.

It gives a sense of assurance to your employers and your customers, and it's something that is in high demand.

So as a partner manager I'd be constantly asked for people with an AWS Solutions Architect Associate cert. How can we get more on board? Where we can find them? It's something that is a high need in the industry. And as most of you might be aware, as an AWS partner you need to have a certain number of Associates and Professional certifications to meet the standard and advanced tiers. So of course for partners they're constantly wanting to add more certifications and every year it's a battle to try and keep the numbers, and keep growing the expertise in the business.

So it is one of those first bases for a lot of organizations looking to move into AWS, and certainly for organizations that are already part of the program or are customers who are using AWS and getting a lot of value from it, holding an AWS Solutions Architect Certifications is very important to them.

 

Everything You Need to Focus on in Order to Master the AWS Solutions Architect Certification Exam

 

The first one is you'll have to open your wallet unfortunately. It's $150 U.S. dollars per sit. Now there's a bit of a cool off period, if you do go in a little too hot and come out without the right result.

You have a 14 day wait period before you can re-sit the exam. So it's quite good to be reflective during that time perhaps. The downside is that you do have to re-pay when you re-sit, and there is a caveat on the number of times you can sit in one year, which is three. So on your third attempt you really need to pass. So it's very worthwhile making sure that you prepare properly and that you get through. And if you do your preparation properly and follow some of the guidelines we can give you then you've got a very good chance of passing. You do need to be re-certified every two years which means that you have to re-sit the exam. The bonus is that if you go forward and continue to the Professional level which is where you should ideally be aiming for.

If you sit the Professional Exam, you don't need to re-certify the Associate Exam. So that's a bonus. And I think ideally in terms of your career progression and your personal development, my advice would be to aim towards the Professional tier. The AWS Solutions Architect Professional Certification I had in black box, because that's kind of like the black belt of AWS Solutions Architect qualifications in the AWS realm. So it's certainly one to have and a prize well worth going after. So the plan might be to try and get your Associate Exam booked for say a month out now and then start doing some focused preparation. Sit and pass the exam and then think about when you can go forward and sit the Professional. And it might be good to think around a three to six month road map. It's gonna take a little while to get to that next level and you do need to be prepared for both of them. The important part is to make sure that you have the hands on exposure to the console and to the products because the AWS Solutions Architect Professional tier is not really something that you can just walk up and sit, you do need to have hands on experience in the console.

You need to be able to problem solve and you need to be able to think quickly and clearly about what is the best solution based on the requirements that you've been given. So a lot of those rigors you start to see in the Associate tier exam questions. They are quite testing and they do make you think, and as we've said earlier, we've only got around 80 minutes, which is not long, so you do need to be able to think quickly and spot the questions that are perhaps designed to trip you up a little bit, and to start to think through the ones that are scenario based where you may need to consider more than one variable to get the right answer. So the format of the questions, there's three.

AWS provides the tools, it's up to us to actually manage that. Decommissioning of storage devices using industry standard practices. All right that's good. First of all I'm thinking industry standards sounds good. Decommissioning mhmm okay, and I'm thinking through in terms of the tasks that I've done, decommissioning hardware is not something that the volume is unmounted.

So when our volume is unmounted it's not deleted, right. That's a very interesting wording of the question. So for this one, my choice is option B, and looks like most of you got that, not all of you.

So that's an interesting start. Yeah, so the AWS shared responsibility model will make this much easier to answer this type of question thinking about replication data at rest and in transit, and regions and availability zones. Let's just do another one to see while we're on a roll. Hopefully not feeling too wounded. There's all sorts of good process that goes on in taking quiz questions that really help you focus your thinking

So this one is, your web application front end consists of multiple EC2 instances behind an Elastic Load Balancer. So read this very carefully. Web application front end, multiple EC2 instances, so it's generally gonna be running on an autoscale group perhaps. Behind an Elastic Load Balancer, which is a managed service, right? It's not something that you provision in that Elastic Load Balancers.

It's managed by AWS to scale on your behalf. You configured your ELB, and hopefully you know what an ELB is. If you don't, don't worry, we've got plenty of ways to help you get started with that stuff. We'll perform health checks on these EC2 instances.

So there's another key word, health check. If an instance fails to pass health checks, which statement will be true? So straight away you should be thinking ELB's.

They health check instances. If the instance is healthy, they send traffic to it. If it's not healthy they don't and that's it, right? So let's read those questions.

I've given you a few tips here. So A, the instance is replaced automatically by the ELB.

Okay now if you didn't remember that straight away you might think that was correct because you know that Elastic Load Balancers are designed to help your environment be more scalable and to add more availability, right? So that's their job, but their job is not to replace the instances. That's the job of the autoscale group, or more importantly the launch configuration of the autoscale group. So that one's not correct in my view. B, the instance gets terminated automatically by the ELB. Yeah that would be nice if it could do that but unfortunately that's not the job of the Elastic Load Balancer. That again is a job of the autoscale group. Okay the ELB stops sending traffic to the instance that failed it's health check.

Now think back to your health check when you're setting up your Elastic Load Balancer, you've got the option to set up health check, right? And you should be thinking that's something I can do on any port. Basically it pings the instance and if a response comes back and it's deemed to be a healthy instance traffic is routed to it. That health check can be set up on any port. It's generally set up on port 80 or 8080 depending on what your preference is. But of course you can do it any way you like. But just think if it's failed at health check as far as the ELB is concerned, that instance is not healthy, and I need to direct traffic to another one. Option D, the instance gets quarantined by the ELB for root cause analysis. Wouldn't that be great? I would just love that. If only there was a piece of software out there that could do root cause analysis. Fantastic! That is unfortunately a rather hypothetical answer. The idea of being quarantined as well is quite intriguing. How would that work? Would the instances go into a special quarantine area and wear a special hat or something? Sounds ideal but unfortunately it's not correct in my view. So the answer I'd go for here is C, yeah C, because that's basically a job of the Elastic Load Balancer. And the more time you spend practicing setting up ELB's and autoscale groups, using the autoscale launch config, the more familiar you'll feel with these components and that's gonna help you a lot when you get questions like this, because you want to move through these ones quite quickly and get into the questions that are gonna test you around scenarios, okay?

So let's have a look at another one. Just while we're on a roll. So which of the following will occur when an EC2 instance in a VPC, and hopefully you know what that is. If you don't know what a VPC is, don't worry. You need to do some reading, but that stands for the virtual private cloud.

With an associated elastic IP address, straight away alarm bells should be going off in your mind thinking about elastic IP addresses. What is an elastic network interface? What is an elastic IP address? What is a private IP? And the more time you spend creating VPC's the more you will feel familiar with these terms and therefore more likely to get these type of questions right, okay? So let's have a look at these. Option A, the elastic IP will be dissociated from the instance. And you should be thinking, I don't think so, because an elastic IP address is not dissociated from the instance when it stopped or started. That is something that would need to be done manually from the console or programmatically. Option B, all data on instant store devices will be lost.

So instance, yeah that's sound like a possible. Okay if you're thinking through your elastic block store is persistent storage and your instant store is not. So that is possibly correct. Option C, all data on EBS devices will be lost. That sounds like a blanket statement straight away doesn't it, but immediately you should think because elastic block store is persistent storage, that's hypothetically unlikely to happen. Option D, the Elastic Network Interface is detached. Well again that's not something that is gonna happen when you do a stop or start event, okay. So having a good clear idea of what happens. Stop, start, reboot, and terminate. What are the actual ramifications of each of those events? What happens to the networking side? What happens to the storage side? Those are things that you can prepare yourself for. So I don't like that one. Option E, the underlying host for the instance is changed.

Okay we don't know for a fact that that might happen but ultimately that is what the AWS virtualization provides is that kind of outcome. So again this question is asking for two choices, so you have to get both right.

So I think I'll go E and I think I'll go B. I think this is a really good one because it does highlight some of those areas that you could be working on.

 

Resources That Will Help You Pass the AWS Solutions Architect Exam

 

Alright, last one I think, and then we'll talk about some resources to help you get prepared, but hopefully this is helping you frame your mind a little bit and you're either feeling overly confident right now and just can't wait to get into the exam and answer all these correctly again or it might be that you're thinking okay, I've got a little bit of work to do because we've also got time on our side doing these type of exercises, and in the exam you don't have time on your side.

You've got a maximum of what, three minutes per question? So you do need to be answering fast. You need to be thinking quickly. And the quicker you can get through some of the basic questions, the more time you have to spend on the really difficult ones. So in this one, in the basic monitoring package for EC2. Okay, key-word leaping out at you there. Basic monitoring package. So thinking straight away, CloudWatch has two types of monitoring packages doesn't it? So think the basic one. That's not gonna have as many. What type of things are different about basic reporting in CloudWatch?

Provides the following metrics, A, a web server visible metrics such as number of failed transaction requests. Wouldn't that be great? That would be fantastic if you could have that! That does sound to me like something of a custom metric because for us to be actually running on a web server and a number of failed transaction requests, hmmm I don't think that was something that I would expect from the basic monitoring package for EC2.

If you're not familiar with the package types, the reporting types. Basic reporting gives you a number of sit parameters on five minute intervals. So there's only a few that you could choose from and that would not be one of them. Option B, operating system visible metrics such as memory utilization. I love this, this is so tricky, because you're probably already aware but memory is not something that is easy to report on in virtualization. So actually having a memory view at all is very difficult. And that's certainly not something that's included in the basic monitoring for EC2. So that's not something that you're gonna get out of the box in your basic package. Option C, database visible metrics such as number of connections. Hmm that would be great if I was reporting on IDS or something else, but I'm reporting on EC2 here, so remember go back to your questions and look for the key-words here.

So database visible metrics are not included in those basic monitoring metrics for EC2. So unfortunately that's not something I'm gonna see there. Option D, hypervisor visible metrics such as CPU utilization. You should be closing your eyes right now and thinking about what your CloudWatch dashboard looks like. What metrics can you see in there? And if it's not coming to you, you probably need to spend a bit of time with these so that you're familiar with them. So straight away you can think, aha, that's one of them, that sounds like the right one, because I think that would be my choice out of these ones.

That I can get some CPU utilization. Monitoring itself is a really good topic to be familiar with. It's a cornerstone of being able to do highly available solutions.

Being able to measure and monitor what's happening in your environment so you can act and react to changes. AWS provides some fantastic tools for allowing you to do that: CloudWatch, CloudTrail, even AWS config, to show you what changes have happened in your environment.

These are all very useful tools for designing highly available, cost efficient, fault tolerant applications with AWS.

It's a very good area to be familiar with. All right so hopefully you're not feeling too demoralized.

I'm hoping you've all got all of those right and you thinking I know all this, no problem.

So the other question I used to get a lot from partners and partner teams was:

“Oh okay so if it's not that easy so how do I prepare?”

And I think the first thing you can do to simplify things for yourself is grab one of these guides we've got which basically brings all of the resources together in to one place.

And it gives you a shortcut to navigating some of the links and content that's available to you in preparation because I think the one thing that most people don't have much of, is time.

And if we all had time to sit down and really prepare it would be great and I think you all would probably get 100% but most of us have day jobs, all of us probably, and we're all busy so time is not your friend when it comes to preparation.

And having somewhere to start that's a bit focused can really make things easier for you and I think that with AWS and actually with Cloud technologies in general there is a lot of information for you to navigate and you can spend a lot of time on areas that may not be the best areas for you to be in for the particular certification you're going for.

Having a bit of focus can help, and certainly can help you manage your time.

 

Where to Start Your Journey

 

So that's the first place I would suggest. Now where else would I go? I'm thinking about the bare basics.

So where do I start the skeleton pieces? And the next one, I think number two for me is definitely the exam guide. So this is really important that you absorb this because the exam guide for the Solutions Architect Associate is quite different in that 60% of questions AKA over half of them are going to be about designing highly available cost efficient fault tolerant, scalable systems. So that's the majority of the exam, and most of the other exams have quite a varied focus in that you're expected to be expert in a lot of different parts of the puzzle.

You're expected to know a lot about implementation, deployment, security, troubleshooting, etc..

Here the focus is very much odd weighted to design.

In fact we've only got 10% of questions on implementation and deployment.

So we're talking earlier about the Sys Ops Exam and the Sys Ops Exam Guide looks quite different from this because you're expected to know in detail the majority of the implementation and deployment services that you're gonna need to be across.

So this is why it's very important that you do have a good fundamental understanding of the design principles. And a lot of that can come from building solutions. All right so the more solutions you stand up the more opportunity you have to think through all of the variables and to think okay what is it I need to do for high availability?

How do I use my multiple AZ's for that? What is the option I have for regions? And being very clear about what the difference is between your AZ's and how you use AZ's for high availability versus how you would use a region and would you consider using multi-region? And just thinking through all those different options and scenarios you have, not only in actual design but in disaster recovery as well.

So what's going to be the cost efficient, fault tolerant way of doing a solutions to meet the requirements that you're given. This is a good place to start and read the exam guide. Don't just look at it, read it.

Go through each of the areas or the domains. They're quite specific about the skills that you need to have for each of those. 

And start your preparation for that. I mean the other one for me is what I call my must do's. So the exam guide, the white papers are quite long. And for someone who's time pressed they can be a bit of a challenge. But they're very well put together and if you can find the time it's well worth reading through the security, the high availability white papers.

I'll show you where these are in a sec and I'll share the links to them so you can go through and look at them yourselves. 

They're well worth carving out half a day and just sitting down and reading them.

Maybe doing one a night, that's another way.

You could over the next two weeks or so just plan to do one a day.

And really absorb them because they are well put together and you will learn a lot from those. Now the AWS documentation is also a really important thing but let's be honest it's a massive array of documents and I doubt you had the time to go through all of it, and I actually wonder whether anyone has been through all of it.

But the areas that you can focus on for the AWS Solutions Architect Associate is to really look into the FAQ's and I'll show you a few of these, where to start with those, but you should be relatively familiar with these already.

The FAQ's are a fantastic place to find the type of scenarios and issues that people have had in the field and that are asking genuine questions about: “how do I do something”? And that's a very good place for you to be thinking through questions like “how would I do things if it was a scenario similar to that”?

By all recompense, have a look through those once around. CloudWatch, CloudFormation, I think CloudFront as well.

 

Resources from Cloud Academy, AWS, and More

 

 

We have quite sticky exceptions around how to do things and the great thing about AWS products is that they can deliver on 99.9% of use cases. It's a fantastically flexible platform. It can generally find, there's a way to do things.

That's because people have brought problems to the platform and being customer obsessed, the organization has fixed or found a way to do things that meets those requirements. So that's why it's so good.

It means some of the learning that has gone on may be trapped in those kind of FAQ's and that's a very interesting place for you to start learning about how to do things and to make things work in a way that's gonna get a good result.

The cases studies too, if you have time.

Again these might be something that you just carve off and have a look at. There's some really good ones.

Some of the really good case studies are great, seeing how organizations like Netflix use AWS.

How organizations like CocaCola and the like and Suncorp have adopted the technology and what kind of impacts that had on the way they did things on their operating model.

How they leveraged all of the value tools that AWS provides to change and shape their organization to get the best value from cloud technologies or AWS technologies in particular.

So those are quite useful and again it's all just helping you frame your mind towards the real world and to have a sense of how to do things and to mold the technology to meet the requirements. There's some cool blogs out there too.

The security blog, I know it sounds exciting, but the security blog is great!

This is a really fantastic place for you to learn a bit about some of the security exceptions that you come across. It's a great place for sharing. The team are brilliant at explaining how to do things. If you're still struggling a little bit with how to set up security groups and not quite sure what is, is a security group a stated or stateless? I can't remember. Is our network access control-less? What is that? Thinking that network access control list as your perimeter security. It's your outer line of defense and your security groups are your resource level defense and the security groups are stated and the network access control list is state-less. There's different ways that you set your variables and then what your deny and allow rules are. That security breaches generally allow, can't deny whereas network access controllers can do both. But of course there's a whole lot of things in there of just how you put things together in the security realm that are described very well in the security blog.

One of my favorites is Jeff Barr's blog. If you haven't found that already, it's really great. Jeff is cool. I just love the way he presents things. He's an inspiration and he's very well worth checking out.

He publishes updates about the product and solutions on a regular basis. So those are good places to start the three must do's.

And then of course the next question I'd often get is okay Andy, so how do I prepare if I don't have any time?

That all sounds great and I want to read all the white papers and I'm hoping that I'll go through all that but if I don't have the time to do that what else can I do? Being busy people I'd often get this question.

What is it that we could do to help you? I think at a bare minimum, having a framework in how you approach your preparation can help. So courses, labs, and quiz questions are the three things that I think are really gonna help you get the base knowledge from the courses. That will help you understand the core concepts and to be familiar enough with the high availability requirements, high availability design options. And to be thinking about design of scale. And to the cross over vast realm of services that are in the AWS family.

Now the Cloud Academy Labs are crucial because that's your way of getting your hands on exposure.

I can't stress enough how important that is. The fantastic thing about labs, is it's just a playpen.

So you can go in there and try out ideas, spin up live instances, build an autoscale group with 20 types of instances, if you wish.

So you can try out some of those things that you may be a bit cautious of doing in your own account or your work account because you don't want to incur a cost.

There's some real benefits to doing a sort of structured lab and of course it's helping you identify the steps and the procedures so that when you're doing it on your own time or in your own environment, you're not wasting time having to re-learn.

Absolutely in the middle there. I think that's the one key way to pass any exam in this track is to do the labs. Quiz questions are really fantastic because they help you brush up on your subject matter expertise. Understanding some of the parameters that you need to be aware of. The constraints, a lot of the more detail, if you like, on the product.

Quizzes are fantastic at doing that because they keep challenging you enough so that you start to memorize it. And I think if I had to draw a line in the sand I'd go I think as a bare minimum, you need to do 10 courses to get the design concepts right for this exam. I think you need to do 12 labs just to get enough hands on exposure. And I say aim for 500 quiz questions. Now I think it should be double on all those to do it properly, like 20 courses, 20 labs, and 1,000 quiz questions. You should be able to rock into that exam and feel very very confident. So that's the kind of framework if you like and that would be my bare minimum.

I wouldn't want to go in there with any less because unless you like spending 80 minutes with clammy palms and just wishing the exam was over, it's well worth putting the time into preparing first.

Okay so we've got some things that can help and where we've organized some of our learning paths, which is a way of us collecting things together, which are labs, courses, and certifications prep.

So that they take you on a journey and it makes it easy because you've got one place to come to and start, and it keeps track for you and tells you where you're up to, and makes suggestions about how you could be learning and what areas you could be focusing on which is really useful. It's like having that mentor there and as we talked about earlier, there's a lot of stuff to get through.

If you're struggling to find the time to do it, this can be a really easy way of getting yourself focused.

So the AWS Solutions Architect certification learning path is a really fantastic place to start.

And that gives you a group of courses. You step through them, you can do them in your own time. They really help you understand the core components, and make it, bring it into Layman's terms a lot of the time and just make some of these high level concepts become more real for you. And the courses are very good. They're going to help you get to a level where you'll feel comfortable with the technology. And my favorite is the awesome labs.

As I was saying, labs are great, and the labs we've got in our AWS Solutions Architect learning path, will really help you get hands on enough to feel comfortable and confident going into this exam.

Working with EC2 autoscaling groups. That's not something that you can read about. It's having some experience doing it that really helps. Introduction to VPC, fantastic! Creating EBS backed Linux AMI's, great!

That might be something that you're already quite familiar with.

It might be something that you have no experience with. So labs are a really good way to get comfortable with the command line tool if you're more of a Windows user.

This is the place for you to experiment and to just get a breadth of knowledge that you might not get just playing around in the console on your own.

So there's some real benefit from doing things like your first Amazon Elastic Load Balancer (If you’re more curious, learn here how to create your first Amazon Elastic Load Balancing - ELB)

And being able to spin that up in a lab environment. I'll highly recommend those and it's a great place for you to get your hands on. And we've got some great quiz questions too. I think over 6,000 quiz questions so you can do these anytime.

We have a mobile app so you can do it while you wait for the bus.

It's a really good framework for sharpening up your product knowledge. And we give you the options plus an explain. So when I say, aim to do 500 quiz questions you'll run through that quite quickly. You could be doing 2,000 quiz questions in two weeks. You can start now with a 7-day free trial.

And imagine that, that you've just had time to really test yourself and where you find an area or a question that you get wrong, there's an explanation provided, so you can look into more detail if you need to, but it just really helps you identify which areas are for you feeling a bit difficult.

So this is a really fantastic framework for improving your knowledge as you get closer to the exam and sharpening up your subject matter expertise.

I'm gonna just ask you a question actually. Just take a moment to have a go. Let me know which areas you think you need to work on.

There's one option I should have put in there, that was none of it. Feel free to think about which ones you're feeling a bit comfortable with right now. And again this is about trying to get focused on using your time wisely. That's interesting, we've got a lot of people feeling a bit uncomfortable around services. I think that's a very very easy area to gloss over and having good fundamental understanding of network and VPC can really speed things up for you. So that's interesting stats.

The same way I'd think for most people we talk to. We've got thousands of people that do our courses.

Just reading those out to you, about 40% who said networking, VPC, 6% EC2 which is quite good to hear, 10% on storage and then 52% thought that services like SQS and CloudFront etc. they felt like need some work on that. And 30% said all of it. So that's quite right. Don't worry, it's not an easy exam but you can get there and you'll feel great when you pass it.t You'll have earned it, and it's a badge to wear with honor out there in the market.

Okay, so let's keep going through here a little bit. We've got 10 minutes left, so I better get a mosey on here and then we'll have time for some questions, etc.

The guys and team are there waiting to answer any questions for you if you do have any. I don't think that's something that Eric and I will probably try and tackle for you today. And if there are any questions that you'd like us to help you with, by all means put them to us. We may not answer them today but we'll do our best to come back and give you some help and tips. The blogs around CloudAcademy as well as the AWS ones are very very good.

There's a lot of good information in there. You might find that's quite a good place to start your preparation as well. So just skipping through or out of the questions here, some of the things that you will be asked can be quite challenging around setting up IAM and just being able to recognize and explain some of the key statements that are used in policies and things like that. There's no better way to get your head around these than actually doing them.

And I think the quiz questions are a really good way for you to sharpen up on these so that you feel comfortable with them. And I'm sure you already got that question right. I'm sure you looked at that, straight away thought that's option number D there.

If you didn't, don't worry. We've got some good resources that could help you get more knowledgeable about how statements work in security policies. And again it explains the things that help too.

I'm quite excited about the AWS Solution Architect Associate track because we're about to relaunch the learning path and what we're doing is we're putting in more of a Bootcamp feel to it, which is I suppose a way of honing your skills at the end of your learning path.

So once you've done your fundamentals and you understand compute fundamentals and storage fundamentals, we thought what you're telling us is that you want more information about how to get ready and you want a more focused way of learning.

So we thought we'd put together, a really focused bootcamp that kind of took you through a bit of an exam cram. But also helped you get re-familiar with a lot of those core things like the shared security model. And I've been really enjoying, Eric and I have been working on this and we spent a lot of time as a team, all of us talking about how we can really help you learn more and how we can help you get across the line. It's quite amazing actually how much time we spent on it.

I love it because it just shows everyone's passion for wanting to be as helpful as possible. And having all of us been through this journey we know it's not easy, so we're trying to help you get as much information as possible and to be pre-armed and pre-warned for the exams.

So a lot of this is good for us, we like it. You do need to do the reading. And just thinking through some of those components we're working hard on that. We're very excited. We're hoping to be able to launch that shortly. So just quickly going through some of these resources, I'll just point you to a couple of these. We've got some heads up on where to start. The AWS whitepapers are fantastic. There's a lot of them here. I think the security and high availability ones are very important. They're a good place to start. You can pick and choose a bit which ones you think are relevant to you, which areas you think you'd like to learn more about. The security blog, as I mentioned, is a really awesome place for resources. So if you're struggling with security as most people do, it's not an easy topic.

But one that's very very important because it's one of the fundamental tenets of AWS is to run a secure environment. So it's important as an architect that you're aware of how to use the AWS tools and services to set up a secure environment. Encryption, data at rest, data in transit, a lot of these concepts you do need to be familiar with these from a design perspective. This can be very helpful. The team are really good. They share some really great insights. How to setup DNS resolution on route 53, etc..

That's great, I love spending time reading this. I'm a total nerd but I don't care. I think it's really fantastic to have this type of information shared so readily. Even the cloud security section of the AWS site, it's a good place to start if you're looking at monitoring and IAM. What more could I learn about that? It's quite useful to be familiar with those sections. And the FAQ's, as we talked about earlier, are a good place to just really work through real life problems and to get a better understanding of how things are tackled in the real world by real customers. So by all means, feel free to explore those. I'll get our team to send through the links to these sites so that you've got them there in the end of the presentation there. And if you'd like to have a look at the learning path.

Our learning paths, just go to our site, and have a play around. There's a trial there, you can try it out. It's all fantastic, in that we've done all the hard work in organizing the content into road maps for you. So you can spend time doing your day job and not have to spend all the time we did to bring it all together. Very great place to get prepared, and we're here to help you. So those are the kind of assets that I think you'll find useful. If you do want to learn more about the actual certification process, there's an FAQ on that.

And remember to read the exam guide, because it gives you a lot of information here about which areas you're gonna be tested on and I think any preparation should start here. All right, well that's kind of the end of our content piece. Eric I hope you're still there mate. I'm going to just check out where we are with our questions, if we've had any there.

[Eric], here.

One thing that I would like to add, I think it would be nice to share the results of our poll because this is very interesting. I remember the first time that I went to take this exam and I was feeling more or less like it and the truth is I wasn't using AWS enough so if you feel that you don't know enough about VPC, SQS, CloudFront, CloudWatch, CloudFormation, OpsWork,  you just need to go there and use these services. AWS has great starting guides so you can launch simple applications and so on. For sure you'll feel much more comfortable with these services, with these topics.

[Andy] Yeah that's a great insight Eric. Does that breakdown represent how you felt when you were doing exams?

[Eric] Yeah when I was doing this particular exam, I felt like that.

[Andy] I might just ask another question while we're doing this. Just asking what exam you think you'll do next? Are there any questions that we should tackle Eric in the list there while we're having a go at that question?

[Eric] I haven't seen none.

[Andy] Well we're just about out of time. I'll just close this out. Hopefully you're feeling confident. If you're not, don't worry, it'll come. As Eric mentioned, I think everybody feels quite overwhelmed by services and as he said just getting hands on with the console.

The Cloud Academy Labs are great for that. Standing up environments is even better for that. So make the time to spend in the console. It's amazing you'll probably find yourself sitting in the exam thinking I know what that is but you just can't visualize it. When you've used the services enough it does become more familiar and you can think through scenarios much quicker. I think we're gonna have to close this out because we've run out of time here. Thank you very much for your time today. It's been a pleasure bringing this content to you. Let us know if you'd like more, or the same, or totally different. We are absolutely here to help you. If you have any suggestions for us we're very keen to hear them. And good luck! Give yourself time to prepare. I think is, Eric that's one thing, did we say that? Make sure you don't book your exam tomorrow and expect to go straight home because it's well worth taking the time to prepare and if losing $150 dollars is not enough of an incentive also remember that you can only do it three times, so if you spend two attempts just going oh I wish I could have prepared a bit more for that then you don't want to be riding the gauntlet on your last one. And keep in mind too that this is a coveted certification. The market is very, very hot for this right now.

People are always asking for AWS Solutions Architect certifications. You're in the right place.

This is the technology of the future. So by all means put the time in and if we can help you in any way let us know, we're here to help.

I'll close that out, Eric, unless there's anything more you think we should add mate? Is there anything that?

[Eric] I think we're done here, we're already out of time.

[Andy] Alright, thank you very much everyone. See you next time.

[Eric] Thank you!

[Andy] Bye.

[Eric] Bye.