Today, as you all must be aware of that tech giants are shifting most of their business over the cloud. Cloud is a pay as you go model which helps companies to expand their business as per their requirements which in turns helps them to cut their costs and increase their profits. Cloud provides other benefits too such as companies no longer have to worry about their hardware infrastructure which is now being taken care of by third-party companies such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure Services - the three tech giants in cloud services.
Though I had heard of the various advantages of the cloud, my practical experience with cloud began in January 2021 wherein I had a semester course in my 3rd year of Btech(CSE) as Cloud Computing in Amazon Web Services.
From there my journey of AWS Cloud started wherein our professors had from the very beginning of the course had made it clear that it would be really very beneficial for us to have a professional cloud certificate. I made my mind and prepared a plan from the beginning of February that by April end I should be able to crack the AWS Cloud Certified Professional Exam.
Through this blog, I would like to share my preparation journey so that the readers could help from it and easily crack the exam. The exam is the easiest of all the AWS professional certificates and requires more theoretical knowledge of all the AWS cloud services.
But I would highly recommend having practical hands-on experience on the AWS console too so that those theoretical concepts would stick better in your memory.
For the practical experience, I referred mainly to two sources -
I understand that everyone won't have an added advantage that I had in terms of practical experience since I had a semester course going on the same time but AWS Academy Labs along with the resources I am going to mention below would definitely help you gain a really good understanding of AWS Console and the cloud services offered by AWS.
During February my main focus was to complete the AWS ACADEMY course as it is the official course recommended by the AWS in order to crack the AWS CCP exam. So I thoroughly went through it, made notes, attempted each lab and quizzes of the course wholeheartedly, and also explored the AWS console on my own. Though AWS services are paid you get a Free Tier for 1 year to have a hands-on and also AWS Academy provides you with a free playground to explore the AWS Console, though with limited services but enough for cracking the CCP exam. After the AWS exam, I referred to a free course on YouTube by freeCodeCamp.org (link I would be mentioning below), and at last, I referred to some practice questions. A word of caution, though CCP is a theoretical exam, I would highly recommend having an in-depth knowledge of all the AWS services because in the exam I noticed that the options were very closely related and didn’t resemble all with the quizzes in the AWS ACADEMY course wherein you could easily eliminate the choices.
So overall I referred to these resources -
AWS ACADEMY COURSE
YouTube Course (freeCodeCamp.org - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hLmDS179YE)
I scheduled my exam for the last week of March as my midterms were about to start and I wanted to get away with the certification. Also by then, I was pretty confident that I would be able to crack the exam as one needed to score at least 700 out of 1000. I skimmed through the YouTube course again just before the exam to just get a refresher.
For the exam, I scheduled it through Pearson and the proctor was a bit strict as he made me scan my entire room through my laptop’s webcam and also you weren't even allowed to utter or murmur during the exam.
My result which stated that I had passed the exam came just after I submitted my exam and the official certificate came 2 days later.
It feels really great to possess a professional certificate and with a continuous preparation of 2 months, I feel everyone could crack it and have a professional badge in their resume.
This exam measures your ability to describe foundational knowledge of core data concepts: relational and non-relational data, and different types of data workloads such as transactional or analytical. Various Skills Measured are
Describe core data concepts
Describe how to work with relational data on Azure
Describe how to work with non-relational data on Azure
Describe an analytics workload on Azure
No of Days
The first days were very hard and I did not understand much, but as time went I kept doing the 1st test till the 6th checking where I was wrong. The explanations made good sense and helped me understand better.
There were new questions which is why I scored 810. It is much easier when you start with 1 test then the next and then start the exam mode when you understand the explanations.
I studied on RNP for 2 weeks I think, then started testing myself with the prepway pdf which worked out well.
Gontse Petu Mathibe
On the night of 14th January I completed my first goal of the year after I passed CKS. This was a little tougher than the previous 2 certs CKA and CKAD along with the fact that it was also fun to learn new tools while preparing for the exam. The exam will test your skills about how you secure your container orchestration architecture which is why it becomes so important that you should know this. For me I learn lot many new tools and concepts which will certainly help me in my cloud native journey.
You should have attempted & cleared the Certified Kubernetes Administrator(CKA) exam prior to attempting the CKS exam.
The best source of this information is the cncf official link. Please go through this before you start your preparation such that it gives you the basic understanding of the exam as well as the topics which will come in the exam.
As there is a famous saying “Practice what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know” the same applies to Kubernetes and this exam. The more you practice the better you become. CKS is not just like any other certificate but a platform where you can learn lot new things. I was not confident that I will clear the exam but honestly I had enough practice which made me clear the exam in the very first attempt.I did enjoy preparing for the exam as it really helped me to learn new concepts and then practice accordingly. I can refer to these resources which can help you practice and learn in a quick time to appear for the exam:
Killer Shell — CKS CKA CKAD Simulator: This is a very good simulator which will give you exam feeling and enough of time also to practice. You can get two simulators for free when you take the course on Udemy. Even though I referred lot many articles and my self study but I genuinely think that the course on Udemy from #Kim is enough to clear the exam.
Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist 2021 | Udemy: This is also a new course launched by #Zeal on Udemy.
Kubernetes Security Essentials (LFS260) — Linux Foundation — Training this course from linux foundation is there which you can buy as a this has good exercises which will also help you while you prepare for the exam.
As like any other exam of Kubernetes , you have to be fast enough. The exam duration is of 2 hours. I got 15 questions in the exam. There will be weightage on each question starting from 4% to 11%. Please read the questions completely before you attempt them. For me some questions were straightforward while for some I had to spend some time to understand them. Do not spend too much of time on one question, remember, you just need 67% to pass the exam :). Also, Ensure that you are on the right contexts before you start solving the questions.
There are a few questions on which we will have to modify the files as per the ask. I would strongly advise to take a back up of the file before you start changing so that in case of a mistake you have the back up to refer to.
I am not of the opinion to make too many aliases, but I would advise to make at least one alias which is k=kubectl. If you are comfortable creating aliases then go ahead and create as per your likings like kd=kubectl describe or kg=kubectl get , etc.
I hope this will help you while you prepare for the exam. Feel free to reach out to me one on one in case you need any help. https://www.linkedin.com/in/shubhasis-mathur-14997064/
Let me start off by saying that AZ-104 certification exam is not an easy one. You need to have subject matter expertise implementing, managing, and monitoring an organization's Microsoft Azure environment.
It goes without saying the responsibilities for an Azure Administrator include implementing, managing, and monitoring identity, governance, storage, compute, and virtual networks in a cloud environment, plus provision, size, monitor, and adjust resources, when needed.
As per Microsoft, a candidate for this exam should have at least six months of hands-on experience administering Azure, along with a strong understanding of core Azure services, Azure workloads, security, and governance. In addition, this role should have experience using PowerShell, Azure CLI, Azure portal, and Azure Resource Manager templates.
Good Luck on your exam.
Your Why is more important.
Why choose PMI-ACP?
Before I answer that, let me quickly take you through my Journey towards preparation of exam and exam experience.
Preparation: I chose both online training classes and self study.
I took the online training classes through knowledge hut.
I felt I can take up exam in 45 days and paid for the PMI-ACP exam in February 2020.
Started to prepare,
Book used for reference: PMI-ACP Mike Griffiths.
Due to so many reasons, the preparation was more or less like on and off and I could not take up exam as planned.
**I am not going into details, but I had meantime every now and then tried my best to understand agile in general and agile mindset. I was asking so many questions to my friends who had prior experience in agile work environment and colleagues at my work place about why they do whatever do. All of it also helped to develop the agile mindset subconsciously. **
Finally in November I decided to take up the exam. This time my approach was like, Week1: reading the reference book for 3 days continuously. Week2: Tried similar second iteration of 3 days of Continous study. Week 3: Gained the confidence about the flow, I scheduled the exam in a week and continued my preparation based on time left.
Note: In the reference book, we have chapters and in the end of each chapter you had sample questions
I would have roughly studied the book 3 times. Honestly the 2nd and 3rd time, I skipped topics which I was comfortable about.
tried the sample questions all the three times which helped me to decided which topics I can skip.
Important Note: Sample questions are totally different from the actual exam questions.
Final stage of preparation was trying out the Mock exams provided by Knowledge hut.
I took two Mock exams and they were taken 2 and 3 days before the actual exam, it helps in two ways.
(May be helpful tip for some, try taking these exams around similar time of a day compared to actual exam.
Say you have exam on Wednesday at 9am, try taking the exams on previous week any day but around same time 9am.
Why? I think, it helps to tune your mind)
1. To assess your time management for the exam.
2.To gain confidence about your understanding of Agile and Understand your mindset.
As I already highlighted, please do not solely depend on these exams and also do not try to memorize the questions and answers because the actual exam questions are totally situational and it will test your understanding of Agile in general and Agile mindset.
One tip before I move on to the exam section, please avoid preparing a day before the exam and on the day of exam.
Keep yourself fresh and energetic, because believe me the exam will drain you out otherwise and you wont be able to read the questions with clarity. Especially the language used in the exam is not only tricky but also critical to know key words to be able to answer them. The day before the exam I slept nicely as I knew the importance of sleep.
Online Proctored Exam:
I took an online exam as it was convenient for me.
(I would suggest others to go for it as well, provided you fulfill the needed requirements).
I would advise as per the guidelines log in 30 minutes before the exam.
The exam started and clock started ticking.
Key take away here was. Although, I knew about it, I did what I should not have done. Got stuck to a question and soon realized the time was ticking.
I almost ran out of time for last few questions.
Some of the questions were short and some were long, so we may need to read 2 to 3 times both the questions and answers.
Considerations for the exam:
Be aware that in most work environment have tailored work process to suit their need, in exam focus will be on the plain-vanilla version of agile processes.
self organization is highly valued in Agile.
For some questions, It may help you to know the responsibilities of the people in different roles working in agile environment.
while reading the questions considering time constraints its easily possible to miss out the key words in exam ex: which of these is "NOT" related to kind of questions.
You must look out for the words that are against the Agile principles in the list of answers that help to eliminate options.
Some questions, I was able to answer straight away, some needed to eliminate the options in the answers.
Even then some places you will left with two probable answer options. Read the question again and see for the key word.
You will then be able to find the best option.
Now to important question, Why PMI-ACP?
My dear PMI-ACP Aspirants, If you genuinely put in the effort to prepare for the exam, I am sure the journey for each one of you will be transformational not only career wise but also in personal life because of the minor mindset shift you will embrace subconsciously.
Good luck for your exams, believe in yourself, you can do amazingly.
Jagadeesh #Purity in thoughts and deeds.
AZ-900 - Azure Fundamentals is the first step towards the cloud. This exam makes sure that you gain enough knowledge of different concepts, services, and ways of working with Azure Cloud.
Who should target for this exam?
The exam is intended for candidates who are just beginning to work with cloud-based solutions and services or are new to Azure. Candidates need not be in a technical role, as this exam is prepared for all roles, including Business Analyst, Quality Analyst, Program managers, frontend developers, core developers, DevOps, and architects.
Exam TopicsAzure Fundamentals exam is an opportunity to prove knowledge of cloud concepts, Azure services, Azure workloads, security and privacy in Azure, as well as Azure pricing and support. Candidates should be familiar with the general technology concepts, including concepts of networking, storage, compute, application support, and application development. Download the complete exam guide from here.
Time limit: 60 minutes (you will get extra 30 minutes for feedback)Number of Questions: 25 - 40 (there is no fixed number of questions)Passing score: 70%Negative marking: NoScoring Rules: You will get points for each correct answer, so in the case of a multiple-choice question, If you select one correct answer out of two, you will get points for one correct answer.Questions Format:
Scheduling ExamYou can schedule Az-900 exam with PearsonVUELanguages: English, Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), Korean, Spanish, German, FrenchExam Mode: Online or Exam centerPrice: US$99/-** Microsoft is offering this exam for US$15/- as a special limited time offer. Microsoft is providing this discounted certification exam to select qualifying individuals who have had their livelihoods disrupted due to the COVID-19 crisis.?Preparing for AZ-900
I started with learning paths documented by Microsoft
Note: This exam does not require hands-on experience, though Microsoft provides Sandbox environments in the above learning path, which I enjoyed practicing. You can also register to get US$200/- free credit on Azure services for 1st month.
My Exam & Result
I booked this exam in an exam center in Sydney. I got 28 questions in total. It took me 20 minutes to complete the exam then I spent another 10 minutes to review questions. On submission to the exam, I immediately received a score, which is perfect 100%. The exam center provided me a copy of my result.
Sharing is Caring
Based on my experience, I have created flashcards, which you can follow to learn all concepts & services needed for this exam. Also, you can use practice tests to gain confidence, so far more than 5K people have been benefited from practice tests on different platforms. You can buy flashcards & practice tests as a bundle also.
Michael Jordan once
said, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept
not trying”. I have failed my first attempt of PMP certification way back in
April 2018. I was upset, disappointed and I thought of not going for another
One day; I was going
through my LinkedIn post; and saw a mutual friend of mine in LinkedIn who had
posted he passed PMP certification in his third attempt. This caught my
attention and I sent him a DM; “How to Study for PMP certification”. Believe me
I am going to give you all the same advise what he had told me which helped me
to pass the PMP certification with flying colors on my 2nd attempt ????
35 Hours PDU – This will help you to refresh the concept of Project Management.
Go for Weekend Classes; and make use of your Weekdays revising the concepts.
exam 1 month post the training. Students who give exam within 1 months has more
success rate to clear the exam. The more you delay; more chances you may tend
to forget the concepts you learned. You may be busy with other works and exam
would be in queue forever.
Outline: 200 multiple choice questions to be completed within 4 hours. Out of
200 questions, 25 Questions contains no marks (In your exam you needs to answer
all questions; you won’t be able to know those 25 questions). Grades are given out as “Below Target”, “ Target”
and “Above Target” on the 5 Process groups as depicted below:
13% of questions are asked from this domain; followed by
and Controlling: 25%
exam; you need to have a study plan. That’s my funda ????
è Take a printout of the 49 Processes across 5
Process Groups and 10 Knowledge Areas. You will be tested on the exam based on
the 49 Processes. My advice to you all is Never memorize the Processes; just go
through the same every day and understand
the concepts. Example: Why Scope management is required; if you know WHY; then the ITTO’s is easy.
è Read once, PMBOK® Guide, Sixth Edition
è Read the Rita Mulcahy’s
Prep (Ninth Edition) - It is very well articulated and guide to successfully
complete the PMP exam, and be a better Project Management Professional.
(Ninth Edition) – Flashcards; It is a portable reference to be used to improve
test-taking speed and information retention. It is the best way to manage your
è Practice Test; you can refer
Take the full length exam of Scott Payne,
Andy Crowe and Jospeh Philips.
You can connect with me for any help linkedin.com/in/akhil-john90.
Always remember, “Difficult roads always lead to beautiful destinations” . I
Wish you all the best in your exam.
I started my cloud journey in 2019 when I heard so much about different cloud providers and I decided to start with Amazon Cloud.
There were a lot of comparisons between AWS and other Cloud Providers I read on google and It made me go through different tracks of AWS. I completed my third and final AWS Associate level certification on 27th Sept 2020. The Preparation journey was a mix of patience and restlessness as I had scheduled my exam and somewhere I was feeling if I will be able to meet the deadline but I motivated myself and finally when I saw my exam result I found hard work always pay you back.
Below are the steps I followed to prepare for this exam.
Other Exam Strategies
List of Services I found at most of the places in Real Exam
1. RDS, DynamoDB, Aurora, Redshift: When to use as per availability, latency
2. S3 bucket policies: The Examples were simple majorly on EC2 and DynamoDB
3. VPC-Peering, Transit Gateway, Site-to-Site, Gateway Endpoint, interface endpoint: When to use and how to use. Which one is effective on the public internet and How to connect multiple VPCs and VPNs together
4. AWS organization and SCP: How to restrict the access present with AWS Admin role
6. IAM roles and IAM policies
7. S3 storage classes: Its usage, time to fetch the objects in each storage class, Use cases for each storage class.
8. S3 transfer acceleration and CloudFront
9. Route 53 as a DNS
10. Cloudwatch agent, cloud watch logs, cloud trail: When to use CloudWatch Agent, How to set up CloudTrails
11. AWS Shield and AWS WAF: Use cases and scenarios
12. NACL and Security Groups: When to use NACL and when to use Security groups
11. EC2 user data and metadata
12. Application load balancer, Classic load balancer, and Network load balancer: Which one to use for UDP
13. EFS, FSx, EBS, instance store
14. Different types of EBS Storage: gp2, ioc1, sc1, st1
15. Different types of encryption and various Scenarios to use them
KMS, CloudHSM, SSS-S3, SSS-C, server-side encryption, and client-side encryption
All the best for the Exam. You can connect with me on my LinkedIn profile if need more assistance linkedin.com
Before you go ahead reading the tips to score high, I would like to mention that I recently appeared for the AWS associate developer exam and scored 989 out of 1000. I would be sharing what all I did in terms of the resources, study materials and my experience that can stand helpful in your preparation journey.
First & foremost I would like to tell you that if you are directly jumping to the AWS Developer exam without having any prior knowledge of AWS & its different domain and services then you would have a lot of confusions, unclarity & difficulty to understand the concept better that might affect your preparation and can go ununderstood or misunderstood along the journey which definitely you should restrain yourself from.
As it is said, the AWS services are entangled with each other, so I would suggest going through the AWS Solution architect associate course once. That would provide you a holistic view of AWS, its domains, services and help you get much more clarity, understanding and a good overview to get started with the next step of the developer`s journey on AWS.
As far as the resources and study materials are concerned, so I took the "AWS Developer Course" of Stephane Maarek on Udemy & practice test of Jon Bonso(Tutorials DOJO) on Udemy for the same. For revision purposes, Stepahe provides the link in the course's resource section to download the PPT that he uses while teaching and its a good to have one shot view of the important points in the context. I emphasize to attempt the test series of Jon Bonso because it helps you identify the calculated pace of understanding the question correctly and answering accordingly. The difficulty level of questions in the test series is kind of similar to what you would encounter in the main exam. It also provides a descriptive explanation of each question that helps a lot in understanding the different scenarios & services. Apart from this, I do recommend going through the white papers of AWS and documentations of services if time permits.
Important to note that the developer exam has more weightage for AWS serverless stack & dev tools comprising of Lambda, DynamoDB, API gateway, SAM, S3, CI/CD, ECS, X-Ray, etc other than the rest of the services, so pay a bit more attention to these.
I would like to reiterate what Stephane says and that is "not to take this learning or exam as a race" rather take your time, explore, learn and understand it thoroughly. If you don't understand the concept in one go, don't worry sit back relaxed and revisit it again and it would make sense eventually. Last but not least, don't study just for the exam but to get equipped with the cloud knowledge with in-depth insight of AWS & its offerings.
I hope this would be helpful and I wish you all the best!
The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) 2019 Architect Professional exam (1Z0-997) is designed for individuals who possess strong enterprise knowledge in architecting using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure services. This certification validates advanced concepts of OCI services to control infrastructure, such as but not limited to: High Availability and Disaster Recovery, Data Migration, Network Connectivity, Monitoring, Data Retention, Storage and Databases. This certification is available to all professionals that were previously passed the OCI Architect Associate Exam.
Job of a professional Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Cloud Architect
• Design a cloud solution using architectural principles based on customer requirements.
• Has a strong understanding of cloud computing concepts
• Design and deploy, highly available, fault-tolerant, and reliable applications on OCI
• Translates on-premises operations to a typical cloud-based infrastructure.
• Works with enterprise level architecture day to day
· Certification Name: 1Z0-997 - Oracle Cloud Infrastructure 2019 Architect Professional
· Target Audience: Professionals responsible for architecting Oracle Cloud Infrastructure services
· Platform: Available on Oracle University and delivered via Pearson VUE
· Exam Duration: 120 minutes
· Exam Cost: $245 (25% discount on this list price if you are OPN (Oracle Partner Network) and have the OPN number with you while registering for the exam)
· Passing Score: 70%
· Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Documentations
· Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Product Documentation
· Oracle Cloud Infrastructure 2019 Architect Professional Certification learning path
· Oracle Cloud Infrastructure White Papers
· Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Blog
Course Learning Resources
Instructor Led Course
· Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Administration Essentials Ed 2
· Architecting Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Solutions Ed 2
OCI Learning Subscription
· Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Learning Subscription
· Unlimited Cloud Learning Subscription
Exam Topics – This has been compiled using exam-prep guide and exam study guide for Oracle cloud infrastructure professional exam.
High Level Objective
Concepts That are tested
Plan and design solutions in OracleCloud Infrastructure (OCI)
• Plan and design solutions to meet business and technical requirements.• Create architecture patterns including N-tier applications, microservices, and serverless architectures.• Design scalable and elastic solutions for high availability and disaster recovery.
This section tests your ability to create basic and complex architectures using multiple services like IAM, Compute, Storage, Load Balancer, Kubernetes and Functions. Also concepts of DR and HA will be applied on this section
Implement and operate solutionsin OCI
• Implement solutions to meet business and technical requirements.• Operate and troubleshoot solutions on OCI.
This section will evaluate your skills on how to choose the best set of services to deploy new applications on OCI using the core infrastructure services. Also, you need to understand how to troubleshoot the services on event of a problem.
Design, implement, and operate databases in OCI
• Evaluate and implement databases.• Operate and troubleshoot databases.
This section will evaluate how to design architectures that include databases options like ADW, ATP and DB system on OCI
Design for hybrid cloudarchitecture
• Design and implement hybrid network architectures to meet high availability, bandwidth, and latency requirements.• Evaluate multi-cloud solution architectures.
You need to understand how to deploy applications using multi cloud environments using services like VCN and FastConnect and other networking services.
Migrate on-premises workloads toOCI
Design strategy for migrating on-premisesworkloads to OCI.• Implement and troubleshoot databasemigrations.
This section will cover migration strategies from on-premises to OCI. You need to be familiar with services like Storage Gateway, Data Transfer Appliance, Object Storage, file storage and Database migration using RMAN and data pump.
Design for Security andCompliance
• Design, implement, and operate solutions for security and governance.• Design, implement, and operate solutions to meet compliance requirements.
This topic will apply concepts used under the Governance and Administration section covering IAM, KMS, Policies and Quotas etc.
As we delve deeper into technical aspect of the exam, I want to be clear that if you have already gone through the free courses offered by Oracle then most of the information may appear to be repeated. However, I have tried to put document most of the information from the professional exam perspective. Also, as you understand the different OCI services please make an effort to determine –
1. The scope of the service as it is provisioned/launched – region/zone/global.
2. The operating ability of the service as if it is moved to a different compartment and the effect of the IAM policy attached to the service or IAM policies attached to users operating the service.
3. Review information contained in links attached to the documentation below.
Please review following blogs that you may find helpful if you have not completed the associate architect exam –
· How to prepare for OCI 2019 Architect Associate exam
· Tips on how to pass OCI Architect Associate Exam
Plan, design, implement, operate & Migrate On-premises workloads solutions in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI)
Networking and Compute
· Configuring Compute Quotas
Compute Quota allow administrators -
a) To allocate resources to compartments using the OCI console. The allocation is controlled by set, unset, zero commands. The IAM policy references help manage the quotas.
b) To control how resources are managed using policies in OCI.
c) Effective cost management by controlling allocation of resources
Check resource quota & policies for more information.
· Instance Pools - Instance pools allow users to provision and create multiple Compute instances based off the same configuration, within the same region.
· Instance Configurations – are used when we want to create one or more instances in an instance pool.
· Compute Instance Metrics - monitor the health, capacity, and performance of your Compute instances by using metrics, alarms, and notifications.
· Compute Instance autoscaling configurations - With autoscaling you can adjust the number of Compute VM instances in an instance pool based on performance metrics such as CPU utilization. This helps you provide consistent performance for your end users during periods of high demand, and helps you reduce your costs during periods of low demand.
· Instance console connections – enables you to remotely troubleshoot malfunctioning instances.
· Custom VM Images in OCI
o Managing Custom Images
o Bring your own Image
o Image Import/Export
o Image Import Modes
Most newer OS versions support para-virtualization launch mode as they provide maximum performance. All older OS versions can be launched using emulation mode that provides fully emulated NIC, block boot and legacy BIOS boot.
· VCN Route Tables & Route Rules - OCI VCN uses virtual route tables to send traffic out of the VCN (for example, to the internet, to your on-premises network, or to a peered VCN). A route rule specifies a destination CIDR block and the target (the next hop) for any traffic that matches that CIDR. Here are the allowed types of targets for a route rule:
Dynamic routing gateway (DRG)
For subnets that need private access to networks connected to your VCN
· Connect your on-premises network connected with an IPSec VPN or FastConnect,
· Connect to another VCN via a peered VCN in another region.
For public subnets that need direct access to the internet.
For subnets with instances that do not have public IP addresses but need outbound access to the internet.
For subnets that need private access to Oracle services such as Object Storage.
Local peering gateway (LPG)
For subnets that need private access to a peered VCN in the same region.
For subnets that need to route traffic to an instance in the VCN. For more information, see Using a Private IP as a Route Target. Also see Advanced Scenarios: Transit Routing.
· OCI Load Balancing – It is imperative to understand load balancing concepts, public & private load balancers and policy types (Round Robin , Least Connections, IP Hash) supported by the load balancing service.
· OCI DNS & Traffic Management
· Advance Networking Scenarios.
· FastConnect with multiple DRG’s and VCNs.
· FastConnect Connectivity Options
· High Availability & Disaster Recovery in OCI
Please see IAM policies for networking.
· Local NVMe SSD devices – These devices act like instance store volumes attached to compute instances in your VCN.
· Block Volume Storage - The OCI Block Volume service allows to dynamically provision and manage block storage volumes. We can create, attach, connect, and move volumes, as well as change volume performance, as needed, to meet our storage, performance, and application requirements.
o Volume Groups
o Attaching a volume
o Attaching Volume to multiple VM instances
o Volume Resizing
o Block Volume Backups
o Block Volume Performance
o Moving Block Volume across compartments
· File Storage - OCI File Storage service provides a durable, scalable, secure, enterprise-grade network file system.
o Create a file system
o Managing a File System
o Mounting File System
o Managing Mount Targets
o Troubleshooting File Systems
· Object Storage - OCI offers two distinct storage class tiers to address the need for both performant, frequently accessed "hot" - Object - storage, and less frequently accessed "cold" -Archive - storage. Storage tiers help you maximize performance where appropriate and minimize costs where possible.
o Object Storage Namespaces
o Managing Objects
o Managing Buckets
o Object Storage Life Cycle Management
o Using Pre-Authenticated Requests
o Using Multi-Part Uploads
OCI Account Management
· Billing & Cost Management
· Cost Analysis Overview
· Billing & Payments
· Autonomous database concepts – Autonomous databases are fully managed, preconfigured database environment with two workload types available, Autonomous Transaction Processing and Autonomous Data Warehouse.
o Autonomous database deployment options
o Using Autonomous data warehouse
o Using Autonomous transaction processing database
o Security & Authentication in Autonomous transaction processing database
o Autonomous database complete overview & best practices
o Using Oracle DB CLI
o Incorporating high availability with Oracle Data Guard for bare metal & VM DB Systems
o Incorporating high availability with Oracle Exadata DB Systems
o Recovering Oracle Exadata DB Systems from object storage
o Database Migration Options to Oracle Cloud
Migrate on-premises workloads to OCI
· Data Transfer and Storage Gateway
Design for Security and Compliance
· Using Oracle Data Safe - Oracle Data Safe is a fully-integrated Cloud service focused on the security of your data. It provides a complete and integrated set of features for protecting sensitive and regulated data in Oracle Cloud databases.
· Using OCI Identify & Access Management
· Using OCI Key Management
· OCI Security Overview
· OCI Traffic Management Policies
· OCI Web Application Firewall
Additional Useful Services
· OCI Events
· OCI Kubernetes Service
· OCI Functions
· OCI Monitoring Service
· OCI Resource Manager
· OCI Vault
· OCI Notifications Service
· OCI Streaming Service
· OCI Tagging – Ensure that you understand the differences between using cost tracking tags, tag variables, tag defaults and predefined tags.
· Using Oracle Golden Gate - to replicate, filter, and transform data from one database to another database.
I added the last section above because the Oracle training for professional architect did not review the usage and applicability of these services, however, there were questions around them in the exam. I have added my notes below from the exam perspective –
· Most of the questions in the professional exam are around the basis concepts so it is imperative you have reviewed these links and understood them.
· As usual while answering any questions, you always need to look for special catch phrases or words that contain latency, performance, cost, high availability, redundancy, maximum availability modes for no data-loss etc.
· While connecting from Oracle VCN to managed service like object storage and ensuring that the traffic does not traverse the public internet – the only service that can be used is service gateway. Please review the service gateway service gateway supported Oracle cloud services in OCI network.
· While establishing console connection, please remember that three tasks are required before you can connect –
o Reboot the instance from the OCI console.
o Add or reset the SSH key for the opc user
o Edit the system configuration file at the linux boot menu to enable access to the console.
· Deep dive into NVMe performance differences while using a particular RAID configuration. A protected RAID array is the most recommended way to protect against an NVMe device failure. RAID 10 Stripes data across multiple mirrored pairs. As long as one disk in each mirrored pair is functional, data can be retrieved.
· WAF Access control rules can be used to block specific IP addresses from making unauthorized application requests.
· Review available connection options from OCI to other cloud providers like Microsoft Azure.
· Managing Compartments and moving resources between compartments is one of the most important features that had few questions related to them. During movement of compartments, some of IAM policies attached to the resources are not automatically updated. This is the reason to validate the IAM policies after compartments movement from one parent to another.
· OCI File storage service (FSS/NFS) provides export option feature to control access to your file system.
· VCN peering is a widely used feature considering that the VCNs are regional and you use local VCN peering for within region pairing or remote VCN peering for across region VCN connections.
· You may encounter compartment quotas limitations defined by quota policies during auto scaling actions. This may lead to system failures.
· Review that there are three ways to connect to ADW -
o Connecting to (ADW) from Public Internet
o Connecting to ADW (via NAT or Service Gateway) from a server running on a private subnet in OCI (in the same tenancy)
o Connecting to ADW (via internet Gateway) from a server running on a public subnet in OCI (in the same tenancy)
· You may encounter some questions to be not as detailed about compartment moves. So, you may see a question about moving compute instance across compartment. However, it may not be clear if the instance is moved to a compartment defined in the same region in the same VCN or across a compartment in another region. So, please do not overthink the scenario (Which I did). An instance with public and private IP that is moved to a different compartment will continue to have its original public and private IP addresses. The instance VNIC also continues to be associated with the original VCN.
· Autonomous Database is an Oracle Managed and Secure environment. A physical database can’t simply be migrated to autonomous because:
o Database must be converted to PDB, upgraded to 19c, and encrypted
o Any changes to Oracle shipped privileges, stored procedures or views must be removed
o All legacy structures and unsupported features must be removed (e.g. legacy LOBs)
· GoldenGate replication can be used to keep database online during migration.
· Oracle also recently introduced instance principals that now eliminates the need to configure user credentials on the services running on their compute instances, or rotate those credentials. Instances themselves are a new principal type in IAM.
· A Dynamic group is a special type of group that contains resources (such as compute instances) that match rules that you define (thus the membership can change dynamically as matching resources are created or deleted). These instances act as "principal" actors and can make API calls to services according to policies that you write for the dynamic group.
· STEERING POLICIES is A framework to define the traffic management behavior for your zones. Steering policies contain rules that help to intelligently serve DNS answers.
o FAILOVER - Failover policies allow you to prioritize the order in which you want answers served in a policy (for example, Primary and Secondary). Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Health Checks are used to determine the health of answers in the policy. If the Primary Answer is determined to be unhealthy, DNS traffic will automatically be steered to the Secondary Answer.
o LOAD_BALANCE - Load Balancer policies allow distribution of traffic across multiple endpoints. Endpoints can be assigned equal weights to distribute traffic evenly across the endpoints or custom weights may be assigned for ratio load balancing. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Health Checks are leveraged to determine the health of the endpoint. DNS traffic will be automatically distributed to the other endpoints, if an endpoint is determined to be unhealthy.
o ROUTE_BY_GEO - Geolocation-based steering policies distribute DNS traffic to different endpoints based on the location of the end user. Customers can define geographic regions composed of originating continent, countries or states/provinces (North America) and define a separate endpoint or set of endpoints for each region.
o ROUTE_BY_ASN - ASN-based steering policies enable you to steer DNS traffic based on Autonomous System Numbers (ASN). DNS queries originating from a specific ASN or set of ASNs can be steered to a specified endpoint.
o ROUTE_BY_IP - IP Prefix-based steering policies enable customers to steer DNS traffic based on the IP Prefix of the originating query.
· OCI also provides an option to resize an instance using change shape feature in the OCI console.
· Autonomous transaction processing – serverless database option is not available for Oracle enterprise business suite.
I want to add a few tips from my experience during the exam –
§ I noticed most of the answers are in the question, so if you are not completely confident, select what you think is right, mark the question to come back for review and then revisit it as soon as you are reviewing your exam.
§ You will notice as you traverse through rest of the tests, some of the questions that follow latter may also have answer to what you could not answer earlier
The AWS Database exam blueprint recommends
that examinee’s have at least 5 years’ experience with database technologies
and two years’ experience working with AWS. You should be familiar with open
source SQL and NoSQL databases.
In addition, I advise you have at least AWS
Associate Developer or DevOps Professional certificate before taking the exam.
This would make it easier to answer questions on deployments and monitoring.
I went through all the material prescribed in
the ramp up guide. These included courses on AWS training website, user guides
for all AWS purpose built databases, whitepapers and AWS Databases blog posts.
I also watched re: Invent videos on DynamoDB, Elasticache, QLDB, Redshift and
As part of preparations, I also used practice
tests and video courses on DynamoDB and Migration from Whizlabs. I wrapped it up
with the practice exam from AWS (20 questions).
RDS and Aurora are the most tested products on
the exam. These products account for 50-60% of questions on the exam. You
should know the architectures of both RDS and Aurora. Features that both share
and those that supported by only Aurora. DynamoDB and DocumentDB may account
for about 20% of the questions. All other purpose built database products
account for the remaining questions.
Before you take the exam, you should know how
the following services work on AWS: VPCs, Security groups, IAM, CloudWatch,
Cloudformation, CloudTrail and S3.
Even though the exam is
theoretical, experience with the purpose built database services on AWS should
1 Workload Specific Database design
This section requires you to understand all
AWS database offerings and their use cases.
You should consider the following for the
One size does not fit all. There is a database solution for
every type of workload. The exam tests you on choosing the right database for
the given scenario.
RDS (5 engines), (PostgreSQL and MySQL), Aurora, Redshift,
Elasticache (Redis and Memcached), DynamoDB, DocumentDB, Keyspaces, Neptune,
Timestream, QLDB are the Database offerings tested on the exam.
The architectures of all the database offerings.
Understand how to implement disaster recovery and high availability when
using these services.
Understand how these services are charged, their performance
(latencies) and best practices in securing data.
RDS and Neptune use the multi-AZ architecture.
Aurora and DocumentDB use the shared volume architecture. Aurora
supports global databases, DocumentDB does not. Compute is separated from
storage and hence both are scaled differently.
DynamoDB supports global multi-write (hence gives low latency
reads and writes). Aurora Global databases support only one writer endpoint.
Aurora Multi-Master databases are regional not global.
Aurora Serverless databases are best suited for development and
can shut down when there are no reads or writes.
DynamoDB, Keyspaces and QLDB are serverless.
2 Deployment and Migration
Consider the following for the exam:
How to use Cloud Formation for deployments. Understand drifts,
stacks, stack sets and change sets.
You should be familiar with the roles DMS,SCT and WQF play in
You should know when to use native migration tools, their
limitations and which tool to use for which migration task
How to migrate LOBs
You should know which databases support cloning and when to use
Aurora read replica to migrate a database
You should be know how to validate migrated data.
When to use snowball or Direct connect
Oracle handles null and time zones differently from PostgreSQL.
DMS is used for online migration (slow but minimizes downtime),
native migration tools are used for offline migration (quick but causes
downtime). You can combine both native tools and DMS (CDC) for the best of both
3 Management and Operations
This section tests your ability to perform
everyday database management activities.
You should know the following for the exam:
Automatic/continuous backups and manual backups
Backup and maintenance windows
Considerations for minor and major engine upgrades
How backups, copying/sharing snapshots and read replicas meet
RTO and RPO objectives
Parameter Groups and Option groups (permanent and persistent
How to Secrets Manager works with Databases
When changes are applied – rebooting instances or maintenance
windows. How to applying changes immediately.
When to use DAX and Elasticache
4 Monitoring and Troubleshooting
This section tests your ability use AWS
services to monitor workloads and troubleshooting common database issues.
CloudWatch, CloudWatch Logs, RDS Events, Performance Insights,
CloudTrail , Enhanced Monitoring , CloudWatch Application Insights for .Net and
SQL Server and Trusted Advisor
Basic troubleshooting for the database offerings
Best practices for each database engine.
Read about IOPS, Tuning queries, Secondary indexes, TTL, sharding,
Read Replicas etc.
You will find questions on securing database
workloads on AWS.
KMS – which services use AWS managed keys and CMKs.
Disabled/Deleted keys and their impact on workloads. Key rotation
How IAM integrates with the various database products and how
IAM DB Authentication works. Understand which services support fine-grained
access control and those that do not
Data in Transit – How to enforce data encryption on each RDS
engine. Data in transit for all other database offerings
VPC endpoints, VPN and Direct connect
Private subnets, NACLs and Security Groups
How to auditing works for different database products
Security controls supported by the different database engines
Links to Resources used
AWS Ramp-Up Guide: Databases
Exam Readiness: AWS Certified Database –
AWS DynamoDB Deepdive –Beginner to
Database Migration to AWS Masterclass ($5)
Practice Tests - 145 questions ($20)
I did it in two weeks, you can do it too. All
the best !!!
I have taken almost 3 weeks to prepare for my first AWS Cloud Practitioner exam.
First started with acloudguru cloud practitioner course and as the exam date gets closer, I have used Andrew Brown's Ad Free youtube video which helped me to get clarity on differences & use case between similar services, for eg., Cloudtrial vs CloudWatch, Inspector vs Trusted Advisor and etc). Followed by 6 practise test in Udemy and note, you may feel the practise tests are so difficult but actually not compared to actual AWS exam, if you score around 80% consistently in practise tests. I would say anyone is good to take the exam.
Personal Experience :
I actually started taking acloudguru course during Feb 2020 end and I dropped after few sessions. I have always been a person who needs something to make things serious, So one fine day in May, I said myself, its not working out, So I decided to schedule my exam first and then prepare seriously for it. It hardly took me 1 Week, scheduled exam for May 30th and started learning during memorial weekend Saturday May 23rd.
Currently preparing for AWS Solution Architect and in fact, have scheduled my exam :)
Wish you all good luck. Please get in touch (email@example.com) if you need any assistance with preparation for cloud practitioner
Adobe Experience Manager(AEM) is a Sling/OSGI based enterprise grade content management system which is one of the most sought after CMS in Fortune 500 companies.
AEM was earlier know as Day CQ or Day Communique and was acquired by Adobe. Since then the product has evolved by leaps and bounds and is now one of preferred choice for top brands to implement their digital properties and integrate it with personalisation and marketing automation engines.
You can get the details around AEM architect certification here: https://spark.adobe.com/page/t8ASQanIS7sFg/
AEM Architect exam test your on following areas of the product:
Someone who has been working on AEM for sometime should know most of the above mentioned areas. These are basic principles of implementing any enterprise level web project and AEM is no different.
The difference however is how to achieve the above said principles using AEM architecture which is slight different then other traditional CMS as it has a 3 Tier infrastructure to actually serve content to the end user.
I read through the topics listed here: helpx.adobe.com , it took me approx 40-45 days to cover most of the topics as the documentation is quite detailed.
Main topics that one must know to attempt this exam are:
Spend some time implementing the things you read on your own by setting up servers locally. You can also look through your current project implementations to get deeper understanding of AEM concepts.
I will not recommend you to take this exam if you dont have enough AEM architecture experience(It's quite expensive at $180) as most of the questions are quite specific to AEM architecture and how you will handle certain client requirements.
For more details, please write to me directly, I will be more then happy to help you guys.
I passed my CKA exam recently and had a great time preparing for it. I cleared the CKAD a week before. In September, the CKA is getting an update. It totally depends on you which one you want to take. You are going to be awarded the same certificate.
Tips for Exam:
1. Use alias and autocomplete for alias
complete -F __start_kubectl k
You can also make custom aliases for your ease. I made aliases for common commands that I knew I will be using a lot definitely.
alias kg='kubectl get pod'
alias kga='kubectl get pod --all-namespaces'
alias kc='kubectl create -f'
alias kd='kubectl delete -f'
NOTE: if you ssh into another node, these aliases won't work
2. Use documentation effectively. This is where solving problems from the mock tests will help you. The answer to your questions are given in the documentation, you just need to know where.
3. Use the --dry-run command. This command is used to check whether your command is correct and if it is you can use -o yaml flag to get the yaml code for the component and store it in a YAML file.
4. The exam uses the latest version so better if you read the latest documentation as the courses I have mentioned use bit old versions of Kubernetes.
5. In the exam, there will be multiple clusters like k8s,n8s,d8s. There will be commands to change clusters. First, read the question and see which cluster it is working on and if it is different then copy and paste the command from the question to set the cluster. A precautionary method will be to copy-paste the command for every question if you don't know which cluster you are on.
6. Try to use imperative commands to create resources. Practice will help you in knowing what can be done through commands and what cannot be done.
7. I suggest attempting the troubleshoot and managing clusters in the end after you are done with other questions as they take a lot of time.
8. When you ssh into a worker node, Kubectl may not work. So use docker commands to see if the containers are up.
9. Practice troubleshooting well and remember that in the exam the changes made during troubleshooting and installation are permanent and you cannot revert back to the state it was before you attempted the question.
10. In case you need to delete and recreate any Kubernetes resources, store a backup in case you mess up you can revert the changes.
I started off my cloud certification journey with the AWS Solution Architect Associate exam in Dec 2019.
After a while, I shifted my focus to Azure, considering its market presence in UAE, especially in Dubai. I may be wrong here.
I started reading Azure fundamentals in Microsoft Learn for about 2 to 3 weeks to familiar myself with services offered by Microsoft Azure. While doing so, i always used to compare with AWS services, because almost all the services are similar in both providers which means, bringing value to the customers.
After I got myself comfortable with Azure fundamentals, instead of writing the AZ900 exam, I made a bold decision to appear for the AZ300 exam. Then, I started following the course contents for AZ300 in Microsoft Learn at a high level to gain more insights into the various services offered by Microsoft. I have used Scott Duffy's course on Udemy website for AZ300 and watched all his videos. The key to success is, to practice the concepts at the end of each topic/video to get myself comfortable with the services.
Next comes, the practice exam with time-bound preparation. So, I purchased a practice exam from Whizlabs website. After each exam, I spend more time going through the explanation for both answers and wrong answers to gain more understanding on the questions and scenarios.
Finally, after 2 months of preparation, I booked the exam on 18th April 2020, and cleared on the first attempt.
Then comes, the AZ301 preparation. I must admit that AZ301 is pretty easy compared to AZ300. This is my view.
I spent 2 weeks preparing for AZ301. Firstly, I purchased Nick Coyler's course on Udemy website. Gone through all the videos and followed my practice on free subscription. Secondly, purchased the practice exam on Whizlabs. Did the same exact thing as I did for AZ300.
I booked the exam on 8th May 2020, and cleared on the first attempt.
Wish you all the readers a happy learning and good luck for your preparation.
Certifications on Cloud
Computing Fundamentals – Triumvirate: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, Microsoft
Azure Fundamentals, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Foundations 2020 Associate.
I completed the
Fundamentals on the 3 major Cloud platforms in order to understand the basics
of what the platforms offer. Given many of the fundamentals are alike, it is
also helpful to clear the exams close to each other , as you can slice off some
of the preliminary concepts quite easily. I hope this will be a useful source
Exam # 1: AWS
Certified Cloud Practitioner
this was the first Cloud certification I was going for, I deemed it important
to go through a full round of fundamental materials
(Amazon Partner Network) courses were helpful for this. I went through
Introduction to the AWS Cloud, AWS Architecture, AWS Core Services, AWS
Integrated Services, AWS Security, Pricing and Support
went through a formal course on Udemy. There are of course many AWS CCP courses
on Udemy and you can pick up any one. I completed the one imparted by Qasim
Shah. Irrespective of your access to APN materials, it will be a good idea to
go through a Udemy course as these courses are structured and most of them
would provide you with a preliminary idea of the basics
point, I also got set up on AWS so that I could start playing around a little
2. AWS White Papers
though the Certified Cloud Practitioner exam is more on the Fundamentals, it
will be very beneficial to go through the AWS White Papers. These are very
informative and if you have experiences of Legacy Migration/Modernization
initiatives, you will be able to greatly relate to these. And even if you do
not, still very helpful. I went through all these White Papers multiple times
the White Papers that I went through (all of these are available on AWS site) :
AWS-Cloud-Best_Practices, AWS-Migration-Whitepaper, AWS-Overview,
3. Other Reference Materials
through the AWS CCP Training Notes offered by Neal Davis from Digital Cloud
Mind Maps hosted by peers in the Cloud Computing space. These are useful tools
for last-minute look-ups
4. Practice Tests
CCP Practice Test program offered by Neil Davis on Udemy is an exhaustive one
that I took quite a few times
approach worth considering is to take the tests once very early into your
studying phase – it will tell you where you stand. Then, as you take the tests
multiple times, see which areas most of your knowledge gaps lie in. You can
focus more on those in the days leading up to the actual exam
went through the AWS CCP questions on examtopics.com a few times
5. My Own Notes
a reference document for my own use (uploaded in Github) while I was going
through the many sources as above. This helped me do a last-minute look-up.
Exam # 2: Microsoft
completed the entire Foundational Course for Azure Fundamentals on Microsoft
This has 12 modules : Cloud
Concepts – Principles of cloud computing, Create an Azure account, Core Cloud
Services – Introduction to Azure, Core Cloud Services – Azure architecture and
service guarantees, Core Cloud Services – Manage services with the Azure
portal, Core Cloud Services – Azure compute options, Core Cloud Services –
Azure networking options, Security responsibility and trust in Azure, Apply and
monitor infrastructure standards with Azure Policy, Control and organize Azure resources
with Azure Resource Manager, Predict costs and optimize spending for Azure
This is a
structured course and really helps to develop a broad understanding.
took the Udemy course on Azure Fundamentals offered by Alan Rodrigues. This
course in fact covers more on Azure than what you would need for the Azure
point, I also got myself set up on Azure so I could explore some of the
2. Microsoft White Papers
a huge amount of Azure documentation that you can go through on Microsoft site.
on the ones on Architecture, Security and Pricing. I did also go through the
high-level write-up on the Azure products and services
went for Azure Fundamentals right after AWS CCP, I found the AWS to Azure
services comparison pretty useful. You can just do a search for that on the
Microsoft Azure documentation site.
Azure Fundamentals course by Alan Rodrigues that I took, had 2 sets of practice
exams that were quite useful
took the Azure Fundamentals practice tests offered by Scott Duffy on Udemy.
took the Azure Fundamentals practice tests on Whizlab
also take the Azure Fundamentals practice tests on examtopics.com. Some of the
discussions on the threads were quite useful
5. My own notes
a reference document for my own use (uploaded on Github) while I was going
through the many sources as above. This helped me do a last-minute look-up
also create my own spreadsheet mapping of the AWS and Azure services (uploaded
Exam # 3: Oracle
Cloud Infrastructure Foundations 2020 Associate
this is a new course that Oracle has come up with, there are not too many
materials that are available on this yet
said, the online training material conducted by Rohit Rathi from Oracle is
comprehensive for the purpose of clearing this exam. I went through this
material a few times
2. OCI White Papers
offers many comprehensive White Papers on their website. Obviously the
materials around the database services are very strong. I did also find the
following ones quite informative : OCI_User_Guide, OCI_Getting_Started,
Cloud_MAA_Overview, best-practices-deploying-ha-architecture-oci, paas-iaas-pub-cld-srvs-pillar-4021422
available yet , unlike AWS and Azure
medium.com, you can find one by Balaji Ashok Kumar who has done a very helpful
job of curating notes from the OCI Online training program
4. Practice tests
one I could find when I was studying for this exam was the one comprising of 20
questions offered as part of the OCI Online training program
curate module-specific notes from the OCI material. Would not be very different
from the one I referred to, as published on medium.com by Balaji Ashok Kumar.
Mine is a set of notes for the separate modules, his is a consolidated version.
You might want to go through his version.
I recently passed the Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) exam. I started my journey approximately a month and a half back in April. I started by watching Mumshad's course on CKAD on Udemy. It gave me quite a starting point. I liked his explanations of different complex topics.