Review By: Raghavendra Joshi
Time taken to Prepare
Detailed Review Of Preparation
Unlike most people who take cloud certifications because they need it on job, I took this certification to break into a cloud career. I hold a MS in Software Engineering form an American University. I have worked as a JAVA developer for few years and then more in a PM role for the last 3 years. However, I wanted to come back to a technical role about which I am more passionate. I did review quite a few technologies to enter into and found that Cloud was probably the best. Cloud engineering is the latest, most in demand and is slated to grow for the next few years. Cloud engineering is also the most transformative of all the technologies out there. You can pretty much do any IT job on cloud. This in itself is marvellous enough.
So, basically, I began my journey as a cloud novice. I do not have any practical experience in cloud engineering. So my first thought on getting in to this field was to get certified. I did some quick analysis on what certifications to start off with. AWS Cloud Architect Associate was the obvious choice as that would show potential employers about deep skill set baseline. Also, I chose AWS because as it is the leader in the cloud space and far ahead of its peers - Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
So to begin with, I read up on the net about various preparation material. Few popped up such as Acloud guru, Udemy, Linux Academy etc. I began with Acloud.guru. I studied for about a month and completed the entire lecture series. Then I looked for few practice question papers and found few on Udemy. I purchased Jon Bonso's practice papers and Whizlabs practice question papers. I took one Whiz labs practice test and failed miserably. Upon further analysis, I realized that Acloud.guru's materials was outdated. They did not have the latest material , but the practice exam had a lot of things that were not covered in Acloud.guru. So I decided to move away from Acloud.guru and decided to check other sites. Acloud.Guru did give some important info, but unfortunately as of April 2020, their material was outdated. They may have updated later on, but I am unable to verify that. After some analysis(based on many reviews and articles), it became clear that Stephane Maarek's Udemy course for Solution Architect- Associate was the best. Stephane has a very good and easy way of teaching. All his materials are absolutely updated and good for both the 2 versions(One retiring and one new version) of the architect exams. It took me a good 60 days or two months to complete the material studying about 2- 3 hours a day. Once I was done with the lectures, I just used the course slides to review. There are 660 review slides. I would revise about 220 slides each day and finish the entire material in 3 days. Once I had reviewed the slides about 3 times, I decided to take the practice exams. I first completed the Whiz labs question sets on Udemy and on all the 6 tests , I consistently scored between 81% - 83%. After the exams, I reviewed all the wrong answers in those practice exams in thorough detail. In between when I had completed the 3rd practice test, I booked for the actual exam. I had planned to complete Jon Bonso's pactice tests, but unfortunately, I ran out of time.
Instead of cramming for the exam and taking Jon's practice tests , I decided that it is probably better to not stress out and be more relaxed during the last two days to exam. I had read some great reviews about Jon Bonso's exams, but just ran out of time.
The day before the exam, I made sure to skim the slides once more. I paid particular emphasis on VPC, Security/Encryption, EBS, Database. These topics are really important for the exam.
On the previous day of the actual exam which was an online proctored exam, I had to prepare my room according to AWS guidelines.
About the actual test though, I don't have some great opinion. If possible, I recommend you take the exam in person at a test center. The online proctored exam has some stringent guidelines. You cannot make any lip movements(even if your lips are dry) , all the time your face has to be visible in the camera( if you move out of camera view, the exam can be terminated). It is very difficult to sit in front of the web cam for 1 hour(I took 1 hr to complete the exam. The actual duration is 2 hr 20 min) stiffly and also working on the exam.
Inspite of all this, I passed my exam with 81% marks. The actual test was very similar to the Whizlabs practice exam papers on Udemy. So I did not find the actual test any different. My score on the Whizlab exams and the actual exams was similar. I highly recommend Whizlabs practice exams on Udemy. My score would have been better, if I had attempted Jon Bonso's papers. I will be glad to share any more details on the exam. Please connect with me on Linkedin.
My Linkedin profile : https://www.linkedin.com/in/raghavendrajoshius/
Benefits From Certification