Pass The AWS Certified Solution Architect - Associate (SAA-CO3) |

IT-блоги Pass The AWS Certified Solution Architect - Associate (SAA-CO3) 28 августа 2022 г. Jordan Tingling

I passed the AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate exam (SAA-C02) on Nov 12, 2021. SA-associate

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By Aug 30, 2022, the (SAA-C02) version of the exam will be retired and the (SAA-CO3) will be the new version of the exam, however, all information and resource that I will be providing will prepare you for the new version of the exam (SAA-CO3).

This post was written to help my dad (you got this pops!) pass the certification, however, it's not exclusive to my dad and can be taken advantage of by anyone interested in the AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate exam (SAA-C03) including his co-workers that are also interested in passing this cert.

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First Steps

Well, the starting point for me was the exam guide which is located on the main page of the exam where you could also download the sample questions that AWS provides.

The next thing I did was begin collecting relevant resources I plan to use for studying. Try to have all the necessary resources stored in one place.

Establish Your Learning Path/Resources

From all the resources you collected, try to establish your learning path, based on your experience and the time you plan to invest. There are plenty of courses on learning platforms such as Udemy, Cloud Academy, A Cloud Guru, etc. Try to pick one of the courses. After I tried several ones, I made the decision of taking A Cloud Guru's AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate (SAA-C02) course, and don't worry, they have updated the course to match the new version of the exam (SAA-C03). It's a great choice for someone that doesn't have the most time and needs an interactive way of learning by doing hands-on labs, quizzes, etc. A Cloud Guru is a paid subscription company that offers multiple plans, I recommend the personal Plan-Basic. For this certification that is more than enough, however, if you need more then they have it for you!

For the persons that have more time on their hands >45.9 hours of content and desire a deeper understanding of the technologies and services within the certification to not only the certification but truly understand them on a deeper level then I definitely recommend Adrian Cantrill's course AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate (SAA-C03. Adrain's course is a one-time fee of $40, however, his learning material is impeccable, I recommend his course material to anyone at any stage of their journey to cloud & AWS!

What I find also useful is the Tutorials Dojo SAA-C03 study path, with the list of all the useful resources. On that page. Also, try to read the AWS Well architectures framework and other major whitepapers related to the SAA-C03.

You can also take the official AWS training for this exam if possible, but it is a matter of preference. Someone is more comfortable with official training and dedicated time, and someone is more comfortable going with an online course, at your own pace.

Let The Learning Begin

Whatever you picked, dedicate some time to go through all the topics, even if it's 2-3 hours a day, by the end of the week that's 14-21 hours dedicated to studying for the most popular IT certification in 2022. It is not required, however, I do recommend writing specific notes from the lectures, because it is a lot of stuff. You will come back later to the notes, trust me. Try not just to go through materials, but also try to get your hands dirty with AWS stuff, and gather some hands-on experience. There are plenty of possibilities in the AWS Free Tier.

Scheduling The Exam

I personally didn't schedule my exam until I had completed all my learning, hands-on, practice exams, etc. However, everyone is different, therefore you could schedule your exam after a few days (7–14) when you see how are you progressing, this is not required, only an option for those that want to hold themselves accountable. Doing so can help determine a learning pace for you.

Vouchers and Providers

You have basically 2 providers for scheduling the exam:

  • Pearson VUE
  • PSI

I immediately recommend Pearson VUE, trust me. Pearson VUE provides taking the exam online and I wanted to take it from home. I have tried PSI in the past and even to this date, they are a headache for me.

Additional Time - Extra 30 Mins

If you are not a native English speaker, you can get yourself an extra 30 minutes for taking an exam. I found this really useful, however, I do speak English as my native language and didn't feel I needed the extra time. You can request this via Exam accommodations, and pick ESL + 30 MINUTES one.

Push Through

When going through the resources, be sure you understand all the topics. If you don’t, check it again or try to search for an answer. Try to keep notes of all relevant pieces of information. The SAA-C03 covers a vast area of topics. Be sure that you master these topics to the best of your ability, Here is a short list of major topics in the SAA-C03:

  • EC2 – As the most fundamental compute service offered by AWS, you should know about EC2 inside out.

  • Lambda – Lambda is the common service used for serverless applications. Study how it is integrated with other AWS services to build a full-stack serverless app.

  • Elastic Load Balancer – Load balancing is very important for a highly available system. Study the different types of ELBs, and the features each of them supports.

  • Auto Scaling – Study what services in AWS can be auto-scaled, what triggers scaling, and how auto-scaling increases/decreases the number of instances.

  • Elastic Block Store – As the primary storage solution of EC2, study the types of EBS volumes available. Also study how to secure, backup, and restore EBS volumes.

  • S3 / Glacier – AWS offers many types of S3 storage depending on your needs. Study what these types are and what differs between them. Also review the capabilities of S3 such as hosting a static website, securing access to objects using policies, lifecycle policies, etc. Learn as much about S3 as you can.

  • Storage Gateway – There are occasional questions about Storage Gateway in the exam. You should understand when and which type of Storage Gateway should be used compared to using services like S3 or EBS. You should also know the use cases and differences between DataSync and Storage Gateway.

  • EFS – EFS is a service highly associated with EC2, much like EBS. Understand when to use EFS, compared to using S3, EBS, or instance store. Exam questions involving EFS usually ask about the trade-off between cost and efficiency of the service compared to other storage services.

  • RDS / Aurora – Know how each RDS database differs from one another, and how they are different from Aurora. Determine what makes Aurora unique, and when it should be preferred over other databases (in terms of function, speed, cost, etc). Learn about parameter groups, option groups, and subnet groups.

  • DynamoDB – The exam includes lots of DynamoDB questions, so read as much about this service as you can. Consider how DynamoDB compares to RDS, Elasticache and Redshift. This service is also commonly used for serverless applications along with Lambda.

  • Elasticache – Familiarize yourself with Elasticache Redis and its functions. Determine the areas/services where you can place a caching mechanism to improve data throughput, such as managing the session state of an ELB, optimizing RDS instances, etc.

  • VPC/NACL/Security Groups – Study every service that is used to create a VPC (subnets, route tables, internet gateways, nat gateways, VPN gateways, etc). Also, review the differences between network access control lists and security groups, and during which situations they are applied.

  • Route 53 – Study the different types of records in Route 53. Study also the different routing policies. Know what hosted zones and domains are.

  • IAM – Services such as IAM Users, Groups, Policies, and Roles are the most important to learn. Study how IAM integrates with other services and how it secures your application through different policies. Also, read on the best practices when using IAM.

  • CloudWatch – Study how monitoring is done in AWS and what types of metrics are sent to CloudWatch. Also read up on Cloudwatch Logs, CloudWatch Alarms, and the custom metrics made available with CloudWatch Agent.

  • CloudTrail – Familiarize yourself with how CloudTrail works, and what kinds of logs it stores as compared to CloudWatch Logs.

  • Kinesis – Read about Kinesis sharding and Kinesis Data Streams. Have a high-level understanding of how each type of Kinesis Stream works.

  • CloudFront – Study how CloudFront helps speed up websites. Know what content sources CloudFront can serve from. Also, check the kinds of certificates CloudFront accepts.

  • SQS – Gather info on why SQS is helpful in decoupling systems. Study how messages in the queues are being managed (standard queues, FIFO queues, dead letter queues). Know the differences between SQS, SNS, SES, and Amazon MQ.

  • SNS – Study the function of SNS and what services can be integrated with it. Also, be familiar with the supported recipients of SNS notifications.

  • SWF / CloudFormation / OpsWorks – Study how these services function. Differentiate the capabilities and use cases of each of them. Have a high-level understanding of the kinds of scenarios they are usually used in.

Practice Exams

No matter how many times you listen for the video course, it is really hard to pass the exam without trying to solve practice exams. Do the practice exams! If you chose to complete A Cloud Guru's AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate (SAA-C02) course, they provide 1 practice exam. However, the best practice exams for the SAA-C03 are provided by John Bonso's Tutorial Dojo AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Practice Exams SAA-C02/SAA-C03 2022. They provide 6 practice exams that are made to be more difficult than the actual AWS SAA-C03 exam and in my opinion, they definitely are. I have used Tutorial Dojo's practice exam to prepare for all my certifications so far, they are highly recommended by me!

For all the certificates I passed so far, I had worse results on the practice exams than on the real exam. That was also the case with this one.

Once you are done with a practice exam, try to revisit all the questions and explanations. When I say all, I mean the ones with correct and incorrect answers. Try to memorize some important facts you notice from the explanations. That will probably be useful for the exam. Do all of the practice exams.

  • Be aware of the words cost-efficient, cost-optimized, high availability, fault tolerance! Your answers are depending on these words.

Leading Up To The Exam

When going to the exam, try to follow all the instructions you received in the confirmation mail. When you start, try to organize your time when going through the exam.

The Pass/Fail status you should get immediately, and score report in a day.

Special Note: You got this dad, you already know the concepts, just learn the AWS way of doing things and pay special attention to certain keywords, phrases and use cases of services.

Thank you for reading and I hope this has helped whomever reading to achieve their AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate exam (SAA-C03) certification.


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