I started with the Developer certification as it was reported to be the easiest of the three Associate-level exams. (The icon above says 2018, but I took all three associate-level exams in the second half of 2017).
From here I went on to acloud.guru’s DynamoDB course – Amazon’s NoSQL service.
DynamoDB is a major topic in the AWS Developer – Associate certification. My background has mostly been in Sequel databases like Oracle and MySQL, as well as specialty DB’s like Facebook Parse and iOS Core Data. NoSQL was new to me, so I took the first part of this course to shore that up prior to taking the exam. I hope to go back through this course when time permits. It is quite thorough, and has a heavy emphasis on NoSQL design theory. It also goes deeper into AWS API’s rather than using the GUI console. Good stuff. The second half of the course appears to be spent mostly getting the app (a college registration system) debugged and cleaned up – things that will have to wait until after the exams.
With the Developer and DynamoDB courses I felt pretty good about taking the exam. I then took the practice test from AWS and acloud.guru and went through the AWS Blueprint and the Exam Prep Guide from acloud.guru.
“The initial pass rate for the AWS exams is staggeringly low, due in part to people approaching the AWS exams similarly to other exams in the IT industry.” — Mattias Andersson
This course is led by Mattias Andersson who has passed all five Associate and Professional exams on the first try – with all scores > 90%. He teaches how to learn more efficiently, and how to take AWS exams specifically. Here are the goals of his course:
Understand how AWS certifications are set up
Find out how to effectively use many different learning tools to master AWS
Get a solid handle on how AWS certification exams and questions work
Take AWS certification exams with confidence
Become quicker at learning *any* technology
Ok, at this point I am sick of taking online courses! Time to put it all to the “test” and take the Developer exam. Click here to see the results.
Right after passing the Developer Associate exam, I dove into the Solutions Architect Associate course at acloud.guru. Click on the image above to view the course there. Due to the overlap in material I was able to go through this course more quickly – even though it has 22 hours of video which equates to roughly 22 days of work to get through. I also wanted to take the exam while the Developer content was still fresh on my mind.
Two down, one to go. This is reportedly the big one – significantly harder than the Developer and Solutions Architect exams. So I took my time with this one. I also took the AWS practice exam as well as practice tests from Whizlabs.com. For more hands-on experience to reinforce what was covered in the course, I subscribed to a month of Qwiklabs.com where I earned over a dozen badges (a badge for each of a series of completed labs).
Qwiklabs provides an environment to obtain hands-on cloud experience using native console access. There are many dozens of labs that walk one through various common AWS and Google Cloud tasks. A “quest” is a series of labs that comprise a unit of study, such as deploying a Docker or Big Data application.
I subscribed for one month of unlimited access to supplement my courses taken at acloud.guru and build a little muscle-memory for common tasks, as well as gain exposure to AWS services only briefly discussed in a course. I also had time to take an intro to Google Cloud, which they happened to just add while I was there.