My Journey to the AWS Cloud Practitioner
Recently, I was asked by my employer to pursue the AWS Cloud Practitioner. This exam is a healthy introduction to the various services that AWS offers, and there’s an awful lot! In this article, I’m going to share with you the resources I used to prepare for this exam.
So, beyond my employer asking me to do this certification, I’ve had an interest in Cloud. Having cloud skills these days is becoming more and more essential. Cloud has been around long enough it’s become more trusted, and enterprises are realizing the value that cloud brings. At my previous job, I had had some exposure to the cloud, but not a ton. At my new employer, there may be a possibility that I’ll be leading workshops with customers on migrating services to the cloud, so there is an expectation for me to continue my cloud journey – which I find very exciting!
For this exam, I used a couple of different resources. First was the free tier of AWS. I was able to setup up my account and deploy services throughout the course of my training. Additionally, I used both Pluralsight and CBT Nuggets. I have subscriptions to both – Pluralsight I get free as part of being a vExpert, and CBT Nuggets I pay for myself annually.
David Tucker was the instructor for the Pluralsight content. David provided some fantastic worksheets I could use to follow allowing while I was going through the content. He also produced a complete list of Amazon Services, their names, and what they were used for. I later used this to produce some flashcards with the Anki app. This proved to be very, very beneficial in preparing for the exam.
The CBT Nuggets training was great – but for different reasons. Watching two different versions of the content helped to reinforce what I was learning. Additionally, Bart is a great trainer and spent time actually configuring services. The walk-throughs were great! Additionally, CBT Nuggets had great practice exams that I could use to evaluate my learning.
Then of course there was just labbing. I was curious about these services and how to set stuff up. I spent spinning up EC2 instances, looking at storage options, configuring my VPC, and even a point-to-point VPN between AWS and my home network – using my Meraki MX.
Now, from the time I decided to take this exam till taking and passing the exam it was just one week. But before you get too bent out of shape – this was not my first time looking at AWS. At my last job we were a large AWS Partner. I was required to complete some Sales Engineer training for AWS, which looking back on it was very much aligned to the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification path. I had already see a lot of this stuff before. Additionally, starting a new job recently I had some downtime. I was doing my onboarding and not really assigned to projects yet so I spent any and all free time during my work day preparing for this exam – which was A LOT of time.
Now, I obviously can’t go into details about the exam. But, what I will tell you is that if you spend time really learning all the services, what they do, and why you would choose one service over another, as well as the AWS Well-Architected Framework, you will be very successful!
In short I found this exam very fair, but challenging. The most challenging part is the amount of services that AWS offers in their portfolio, and the minor difference between them that can make or break your solution and overall success in migrating to the cloud.
To sign-up to take the exam you can go to aws.training and then click on the Certification link at the top. They also offer some free training there as well. From the AWS Certification dashboard you’ll click through to Pearson Vue to schedule your exam. I, once again, took advantage of the at home testing Pearson Vue offers through their OnVue service. If that wasn’t an option the closest test center was over an hour and half away from me.
So to sum it all up, at some point in your career you should consider Cloud training. The big three are Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. If where you work is leaning towards, or even already utilizing, a cloud vendor then pursue their training. While I can’t say with absolutely certainty, I would image that having training in one could be easily adapted to another if you had to pivot. The training I did, described herein, prepared me to be successful on the exam, hopefully, if you follow my advice you’ll be successful too!
From here, I do plan to continue my AWS Cloud Journey with the AWS Solutions Architect – Associate Certifition.