AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate

This blog post is to kick off my journey in completing the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Certification. I currently plan on taking 3 months during my full-time job to prepare for the exam. I will use this post to outline what resources I plan on using and will try to come back and up this as this changes.

A little background on my experience, I am a senior software engineer and technical lead on several projects. I have spent the past year working with a couple different apps that have been deployed to AWS. I first started with setting up a Postgres database in RDS, then got authentication working with Cognito. We set up our Jenkins server on an EC2 instance and first deployed our apps there. We run our apps in Docker containers so we were able to take advantage of ECR to store our images and ECS to deploy them in different clusters. I got pretty familiar with security groups and load balancers for handling access issues and traffic. CloudWatch has been awesome for monitoring all our applications and aggregating logs. In all, I have been exposed to a good chunk of AWS services and have deployed to dev, staging, and production environments.

I plan to follow a very similar plan I found on Reddit:

  1. Go through the entire ACG video course
    1. In order to help me digest the content, I plan on writing up some additional blog posts on topics I review
  2. Read through AWS Well-Architected whitepapers
  3. Go through and take Jon Bonso exams
  4. Go back through the correct/incorrect answers from Bonso tests and take notes
  5. Take AWS practice exam
  6. Take the exam!

I plan on watching ~2 hours of videos a week which would allow me to finish the ACG video course in ~8 weeks. I am not sure if I need to take all the labs, but I will find out! That may affect my timeline. Then I plan on spending ~4 weeks going through the whitepapers and taking practice exams.

UPDATE

When I first started this course it was 14.5 hours and now it is more than 22 hours! Between the added hours and aggressive timelines at work, it has taken me longer than expected to finish this course. I also did try to get this done a little sooner by averaging 30-60 mins a night ~5 days a week. Ultimately, it took me about 9 weeks.

Lo and behold I have finished this weekend! I was able to take advantage of the High Availability (HA) topics and S3 to make sure major improvements to the current architecture in my ongoing projects. Therefore, It has been very worth it!

I plan on using the next couple of weeks to take practice exams and read threw some AWS Whitepapers. All in, it will be about 3 months to study, prepare, and take the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam. I will keep you updated!

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