My take on the exam AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA)

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My take on the exam AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA)

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I have been always fascinated by the Amazon Web Services ecosystem. My first attempts with EC2 instances are back in 2011, I still remember one night when I kicked off my first instance to try it, it felt so wow! In only few minutes I could have a WebServer available on Internet without bothering about network configurations, firewall rules, patching cables, racking the servers, ordering servers, dealing with invoices and more. I mean 5mins or less to have it done, this was absolutely amazing!!!

Over the years I kept following the evolution of the platform and at some point of my career I have decided to actually specialize on it, that’s why the decision to start the Certification path.

After reading about the different certifications I decided to start with the SSA Certification released on February 2018. Additional information on all different AWS Certifications.

After googling a bit around I bought the udemy course, and finally I started an intense hands-on study with real case scenario excercises and quizzes. The course is well done and offers many different examples that can be downloaded, tried out, modified and extended. In my case were really much a source of inspiration for other ideas. It starts easy and progresses increasing gradually its complexity, it is 80% hands-on the platform, so you will definitively need an AWS console account (and a computer obviously). I can assure you that you will stay entertained throughout the whole studying. I would recommend to review the material provided by the video course 3 times to consolidate the vast amount of different topics that can differ a lot from one another.

This course covers all of the topics that you will need to master to pass the exam. The virtual teacher is Ryan Kroonenburg (founder of A Cloud Guru), my compliments to him for the great course!

Introducing the main services: IAM, AWS Object Storage and CDN (S3, Glacier and CloudFront), EC2, Lambda and Serverless, Route53, Databases on AWS, VPC, Application Services. There is a really interesting Section in which you will build a fault tolerant Word Press Site. After that on the Well Architected Framework for best practices and compliance. It is highly recommended at least one read of Architecting for the Cloud whitepaper before the exam,  and additionally all of the PDFs for the 5 pillars whitepapers of the Well Architected Framework.

The exam questions are changing all the time as the platform evolves, the good thing is that you can find at the end of course some additional exam tips to help you review some more recent topics updated with students feedbacks. Finally you can find few Mega quiz to test your knowledge at the end of course.

My personal experience has been very positive, I have learnt a lot and mostly I am now looking at the platform having a better view of its potential. My recommendation to everyone wants to take the AWS Certfication path, and more specifically for the SSA exam, practice a lot on the platform do all the labs and if you have time experiment on your own different scenarios, practice practice practice!!! One of the most complex topic is VPC, in this regard I would highly recommend to review some networking concepts (subnetting, private addressing, public addressing etc.), always remember that the exam questions are asking to examine described scenarios, so it is crucial that you can troubleshoot and debug infrastructures/applications/databases.

Once again you learn this with practice and reading. My learning path goes this way read, practice, learn, improve than repeat until you own that knowledge and when the own it, schedule the exam and good luck!!!


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