AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional 2020

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I Passed! – May 2021

Hey Cloud Gurus,

I just passed the exam!!!!! I haven’t seen many others posting about passing lately, so I was super nervous. It was definitely the most difficult IT-centric exam I have ever taken, and I will repeat what the instructors advise…there are NO shortcuts!

I have approximately ten years of experience as a software engineer (minus a very brief adventure as an EMT), including one year doing Azure DevOps and 3 years of (very poorly) writing basic applications using EC2, Lambda and Lightsail. My circumstances were a little unique and I would not recommend them to others: my identity was stolen, and while waiting for my passport to be reissued, I found myself with 2 months where I was blessed that my parents let me live with them and study 60-80 hours a week. Without my background, there is no way I would have passed. I do not hold any prior AWS certifications.

I strongly encourage you to take ALL the certification courses for AWS on this site…I don’t think I would have passed the exam if I didn’t go through the Networking Specialty course. I read through all of the whitepapers recommended in Scott’s course and also browsed through recent whitepapers for things which looked applicable. I at least browsed every single FAQ on the AWS website (some are much better than others), and spent a good amount of time deep-diving into the API Gateway, EC2, VPC, IAM and ELB documentation. I did not do the official AWS practice exam, and when I first took the ACG practice exam, I got a 68% (and committed myself to reviewing my notes a lot more frequently!) I took handwritten notes for EVERYTHING and have half a notebook full of AWS and several dead pens now, but that’s the way I most effectively learn things.

Firewall Manager, S3 access points, and VPC endpoints are three things I am glad I studied independently. I can’t say any of the questions absolutely stumped me after going through all of the relevant ACG courses and recommended materials, but I also understand that I probably have a lot more networking knowledge than most developers get a chance to learn and that is probably the best foundational skill you can build.

I know it can be frustrating that not all of the lectures are up-to-date, but you can’t expect the lectures to prepare you for everything. I was initially skeptical of ACG because I have ADHD and video material has previously been very difficult for me to process, but Scott, Ryan, Faye and everyone else does such a wonderful job that I learned more in the past two months than I ever have in my career. Good luck to everyone else studying and let me know if there is anything I can help you with!

Felipe Chavarro Polanía

Congrats, and tx for the notes. Will take them into account.

1 Answers


I’m so excited to hear you passed your exam and appreciate all the kind words. It sounds like you really put in a ton of effort and seeing that pay off is such a wonderful feeling. Congrats again and I can’t wait to read your post when you pass the next one.

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