An increasing number of skills are now being offered by professional certifications. One that stands out is the ability to obtain an AWS Certified Solutions Architect (AWS) certification. Simply put, it prepares you for the AWS future and gives you a leg-up on your competition.
Here are seven methods from my personal experience that helped me pass the exam:
1. Read FAQs and Forums
2. Keep Up to Date on AWS Docs and Services
3. Do Your Homework
4. Study for the Exam Day
5. Answer Exams on the First Try (W/Cs)
6. Practice Hands-on Labs as Much as Possible
7. Take Notes
Passing the AWS Certified Solutions Architect involves knowledge, skills, and experience that you personally have gained from hands-on experience in real world environments. If you have not done so already, then do some research on what it takes to become an AWS Certified Solutions Architect.
Many people I interviewed for this article said they learned most of what they needed from studying the AWS Certified Solutions Architect exam blueprint, which focuses more on experience than theory. Although some of the AWS certifications require experience, a degree may be better than you think. The best part is that you can study on your schedule and at your own pace. Not all studying has to happen in a single day, either. You can find quiet time here and there to really focus on learning the material.
Taking Practice Exams
Many people like to study by reading, but taking practice exams can help you gain valuable insight as well as experience with multiple choice questions (MCQs).
Many people also like to practice in real life. I know one student who was passing AWS exams before I knew anything about the subject and continued his quest to become an AWS Certified Solutions Architect after he passed me in AWS on my first try. He was preparing for an upcoming architecture of a large data center, while I was studying his blueprint. He kept at it through multiple exams and even a retake.
Doing Your Homework
This is the most important thing you can do, as it will help provide you with time to study. This includes reading and reviewing AWS documentation as well as taking advantage of the AWS practice exams. You can also use the Read Online feature on exam day to find a specific topic, section, or question that is giving you trouble. Study for the Exam Day
A good way to start preparing is to take as many multiple choice AWS practice tests as possible. They will not only help you pass the exam, but they will provide an abundance of knowledge that may be used in real-world-practice situations. You can work at your own pace and even add notes for clarification or reference. You can also find simple or complicated answers. If needed, you can retake any exams to further cement your understanding of the material. Hands-on Labs
Labs also a great way to practice. They provide the opportunity to design, deploy, and manage AWS cloud resources, and they come in two different flavors: public and on-premises. Public labs are free online labs that AWS provides to help you learn about the various services they offer while on premise labs can be set up by your employer or self-hosted using other Amazon services.
Always start with on-premise labs. Public labs are good for practicing specific skills, but they are not ideal for getting to know the services. Also, only AWS solutions architects and experienced developers will appreciate lab time. Hopefully, the rest of you will enjoy it too.
There are many ways to learn AWS, but the best way to learn is hands-on. You will really put your knowledge and experience to work with labs and practice exams. You can find quiet time from time to time to really focus on learning and taking notes.
It’s also important that you take good notes as you encounter new concepts, as it will help solidify your understanding of the material in a very dynamic area like AWS. I frequently find the AWS Certified Solutions Architect exam and the associated blueprint to be very dynamic. The solution architect needs to be not only a technical expert, but also someone who can analyze problems and deliver solutions in a timely manner.
Where Should You Keep Your Notes?
My personal answer is to keep it all digitally, as often times technology is changing quickly, meaning your notes might be outdated before you get a chance to use them again.
You can find practice exams for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect exam here. It is helpful to take as many exams as you can, especially if you want to pass with flying colors.
Practice Hands-on Labs As Much As Possible
I also strongly encourage you to do as many hands-on labs as possible. The AWS Certified Solutions Architect exam will test your knowledge of the skills associated with implementing and managing solutions on the AWS platform. Hands-on experience is the best way of ensuring that your real world experience aligns with the exam blueprint and focuses more on experience than theory.