Wednesday, August 28, 2019

How to Crack AWS Certified Solution Architect Associate Exam (SAA-C01) in 2019

There is no doubt that AWS certification is precious and opens the door for a lot of opportunities, not just for system admins but also for developers and DevOps. Even though there is no substitute of knowledge and experience and your certification is useless if you don't know how to work in AWS console, there are a lot of tangible and intangible benefits of AWS certifications, mainly AWS Certified Solution Architect Associate. First thing, it gives you recognition. It allows you to put AWS in your resume and LinkedIn and also get you a lot of chances as recruiters and company prefer certified professional over a non-certified if skill set matches.

But, the most crucial benefit of an AWS certification or any other certification is the knowledge it gives you. I have personally learned a lot while preparing for certification, and that's also my preferred way to discover new technology in depth.

Once you start preparing for AWS certification, you obviously begin reading more about it, watching more online courses, doing more hands-on labs and start solving more practice questions, all these activities provide a lot of knowledge and experience.

I have been focusing a lot on Cloud, Machine Learning, and Big Data since last year and reading a lot about associate levels AWS certifications like solution architect, cloud developer, and sysops administrator. I was also helping a couple of my readers with their AWS certification journey, and now that they have successfully passed I have a blueprint to share with you.

This is a tried and tested blueprint by myself and many of my friends and readers. I have followed this blueprint to get different Oracle, Java, Spring, SQL Server, Data Science, and AWS certifications. It's pretty much a three-point formula where you need to choose an excellent course, do a lot of hands-on labs and then solve as many practice questions as possible. If you follow these three steps honestly, you are bound to score 800+ on your AWS solution architect exam.




How to Crack the AWS Certified Solution Architect Associate Exam

This blueprint will help you to get success in not just AWS certification but also in any IT certification, all you need to do is pick the right resources for each section. I mean choose the best online course for the AWS Certified Solution Architect Associate exam and choose the best book and Mock tests, and that's where this article will help you.

In this article, I'll share your resources, which will help you to pass the AWS Certified Solution Architect Associate exam with flying colors.


1. Online courses

The best way to kick start your AWS certification preparation is to join a quality course. Thankfully, there are a lot of useful resources available, particularly on Udemy and from Cloud Guru. Here are some of my recommended courses for anyone preparing AWS solution architect associate certification in 2019:

#1: AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate [New Exam] Course by DolfinEd
This course is like One-Stop Shop for AWS certifications. It covers everything you need to pass the exam and that too in-depth. It also includes labs and over 60 hours of on-demand lectures. I highly recommend this course to anyone preparing for AWS Solution architect certification or want to learn AWS services and concepts in depth.


#2: AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate 2019 by A Cloud Guru
I am a massive fan of A Cloud Guru and Ryan Kroonenburg, and as the name suggests, they are really the gurus when it comes to cloud, serverless and AWS certifications. All the people who I spoke to suggested me this certification course which speaks volumes about its usefulness. Even in Udemy, the course is trusted by almost half-a-million students, which is fantastic.


#3: Ultimate AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate 2019
This is the third course I recommend to anyone preparing for the AWS Solution architect associate level exam on Udemy. It's created by Stephane Maarek, one of my favorite instructor and another AWS Certified Solutions Architect & Developer. He passed with a score of 984/1000, which tells a lot. I am also a big fan of his Apache Kafka courses, which is a very in-depth and hands-on resource to learn Kafka. Talking about this course, it's also most up-to-date and comprehensive, and over 20,997 students already benefited from it.



2. Books

I really like books to prepare for any certification, but with the AWS, the problem is that Amazon has been kept changing AWS certification as well as AWS itself with high speed. That means any book will quickly become out-dated with respect to console, functions, and services. This was my biggest issue for using any book for AWS certification.

Though, if you are looking for a book which still provides some value, then I suggest you go through the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Official Study Guide by Joe Baron, Hisham Baz, Tim Bixler, Biff Gaut, Kevin E. Kelly, Sean Senior, and John Stamper.

This book was written for older AWS solution architect certification, but it also covers some of the fundamentals of AWS, which many online courses don't cover. You can use this book in conjunction with A Cloud guru's AWS course and still learn a lot of stuff.

Btw, if you are looking for a more up-to-date book to prepare for AWS Certified Solution Arhicted Associate, then you can also check AWS Certified Solutions Architect Study Guide: Associate SAA-C01 Exam 2nd Edition by Ben Piper and David Clinton. The book also includes 2 Practice exams nd 100 electronic flashcards for easy revision.



3. Mock Tests

Also known as practice tests or exam simulator, this is the single biggest thing which can be the difference in jus passing the exam or scoring well. Mock tests have several benefits like:
1. They train you to solve problems in a limited amount of time, which is really important. I know many people who have just got 5 to 10 questions wrong because of time pressure.

2. Practice tests also help you to consolidate and solidify your learning because when you answer the question, your mind works. It recalls and analyzes concepts to answer the question, which helps you to remember the idea longer and also understand it better.

3. Mock tests also help you to find out your preparation level. If you went for Whizlabs test and found that you can only score 50% then you not ready for the exam and you need more study and practice. Similarly, they also help you to pinpoint your weak areas, I mean, where you need more focus.

Now that you know Mock tests are essential, here are some of my recommended practice tests for AWS Solution Architect Associate exams

3.1 WhizLabs (620 questions)
Includes 6 full-length mock exams and 620 unique questions for AWS Solution architect associate exam practice. It has both full tests as well topic wise test to improve your weak areas. On top of that explanation for every question is provided, which further helps in your learning.

3.2 Udemy AWS Practice Tests
Along with online courses, Udemy also has some practice tests sold as online courses which you can use for preparing the AWS solution architect exam. Out of many AWS SAA-C01 Practice test on Udemy, I recommend these two, both are the most up-to-date tests:

3.2.1 Jon Bonson's AWS Solution Architect Practice tests (390 questions)
This course contains 6 practice tests of 65 questions each, goo for your final preparation.

3.2.2 A Cloud Guru's AWS architect Mock tests (195 questions)
This is another excellent mock test on Udemy for AWS solution architect associate exam. It's from Cloud guru's and contains 3 practice test, each with 65 questions. It's slightly tricky than previous ones but worth doing.

3.3 David Mayer's AWS Dumps (987 questions)
This is another big list of AWS practice question if you like to really go for that 900+ scores. This mock test has got 987 questions and 20 exam tests, which make it the mother of all AWS practice papers. You don't need anything else after doing it.


4. Hands-on Labs

Practice inside AWS console is very important if you aspire to work as a Solution Architect for AWS Cloud. In general, I advise students to join a course which also has practice labs and also opens an AWS free tier account. Since, you only remember if you do the stuff, these AWS practical sessions will help you to understand and memorize the services which you are reading like EC2, S3, DynamoDB, IAM and others. You can sign up for a free AWS account here.


5. AWS White Papers

If you are someone who is not happy with 800+ core and want to go for 900+ score, then I also suggest you read White Papers and Case studies provided by AWS. These are some of the most in-depth and practical content you will get anywhere on the internet.

If you want to go one step more, you can also read AWS documentation as it provides the most up-to-date information, which is undoubtedly an essential factor given AWS is still evolving, and there are hundreds of updates to catch up.

Alternatively, you can also signup for AWS weekly on ACloudGuru, which is a great way to keep up-to-date with new AWS changes.  Here is the link to read AWS whitepapers



5 Tips for doing well on AWS Certifications

1. Passing marks for AWS Certified Solution architect exam varies daily. It could be 60% or 72% or even more but you should always prepare for 75% to pass the exam in very first attempt.

2. How much time you need to prepare for the AWS Solution Architect Associate exam? Well, preparation time mostly depends on experience level. If you have some AWS experience under your belt than 2-3 weeks of preparation is enough, but if you are a complete beginner to AWS than 4 to 6 weeks is a reasonable time.

3. Hands-on lab exercises are must if you don't want to become a paper certified AWS developer or solution architect. All the things you will learn and earn via certification also need a backup of hands-on experience. It's even more important for people who are not actively working in AWS like as part of their day job. In short, get a free AWS account open and try to break things and learned how to fix them.

4. Join the courses which are most up-to-date and also include lab exercises for the reason I have mentioned above. Since AWS is still evolving and there is a new feature coming up daily, it's important to choose the course which is not most up-to-date, not just in terms of the certification syllabus and curriculum but also with AWS feature and how to do things in the best and latest way in AWS.

5. Solve as many practice questions as possible. This is, by far the most important tip from me. Since you are going to appear for an exam, where you need to solve questions in a limited time, you got to do practice to be able to read, understand, and solve those problems quickly.

I know many people how have got 1o to 15 questions wrong just because of time pressure. Mock tests and practice questions also help to solidify your knowledge and highlights gaps in your learning. For example, you can use them to find your strong and weak areas and then cover them better before the real exam.


That's all about how to pass the AWS solution architect associate level exam. AWS Certifications, particularly the solution architect, one is very important. This not only gives you approval from the AWS but also prepare for your interviews and further work. AWS Solution architect is also most high paying professionals with annual salary ranging from $120,000 to $130,000, and as more and more company are moving towards the cloud, there is a lot of opportunity for cloud developers and architects.

Other Certification Resources for IT Professionals and Java Programmers

Thanks for reading this article so far. If you like certification roadmap and guide, then please share with your friends and colleagues.

P. S. - If you are new into the world of Cloud and AWS and looking for some free courses to learn Amazon Web Service then you can also, check this list of Free AWS Courses for Beginners on HackerNoon.


1 comment :

Day said...

You estimated 4-6 weeks of study before taking certification. Does it apply for working professionals with a day job? How many hours of effort would you estimate for a working professional?

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