AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional 2020

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My recent experience preparing for and taking the AWS Certified Solution Architect Professional 2019 exam

Whilst it’s still fresh in my mind, here’s some thoughts on my recent experience preparing for and taking the AWS Certified Solution Architect Professional exam. Took the exam on Apr 26th 2019 with a score of 913. In summary, it’s proper tough. Definitely the hardest single exam I’ve taken in 25 years of IT.

I would say the combination of breadth and depth of knowledge required is the most challenging aspect. With a focus on the exam, spotting wrong answers and eliminating them meant it was good to know a good level of detail about a lot of core services e.g. ELB, EC2, databases, storage, etc. But you also need to know the basics across a whole other long list of services. Between these two points on the spectrum of knowledge you actually need to then have a good understanding of services for migration e.g. Snowball, DMS, VM import/export as well AWS’ approach to cloud adoption/migration and the easy facilitation of compute/serverless services too e.g. ElasticBeanstalk, CloudFront. Having a really solid grounding on the detail of Organizations, IAM, S3, networking and Cloudtrail/Cloudwatch was a real asset for me. Otherwise add them to the list of core services.

In terms of resources, I mostly used (in chronological order):

o AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate (2017)

o Advanced Architecting on AWS [1] taken in Oct 2017

o AWS CSA-Pro on (ACG) [2] – Q1 2019

o TutorialDojo’s practice exams for CSA-Pro on udemy [3]

o Exam simulator on ACG [4]

o AWS Architect cheat sheets from TutorialDojo [5]

I also printed a lot of PDFs and sent a lot of PDFs to my kindle. I read some of them but they also sent me to sleep. Being well rested for the exam is important 😉

I definitely recommend the ACG course, IMHO they are better than the content in Pluralsight and worth spending my own money on. Note: there’s no AWS CSA-Pro specific content on Pluralsight but some of the other AWS courses have content that overlaps with the syllabus. I skipped most of the labs in the ACG course. They weren’t as good as their CSA-Assoc labs and so I found them less useful. I also did a lot of remote leanring whilst travelling so I couldn’t login to my AWS account and try things out in the same way.

I also had some credits for but simply ran out of time to take the recommended labs as part of the CSA-Pro quest [4]. I did look at the content on the last night before the exam and wished that I had, their content aligned nicely with the areas I felt were weakest for me! You live and learn!

For my style of learning the most effective method was practice questions. I took loads of practice exams and then reviewed where I got the answers wrong. There’s a few sample questions (but not answers) posted by AWS. By far the best single resource was the four practice exams from TutorialDojo [3], more of my own money but highly recommended. Next would be the ACG exam simulator.

If you’re going to do it, schedule an exam at a testing centre and get ready. You can reschedule without penalty upto 24 hours before the exam, so if you’re not ready it can always be deferred. Good luck!







Other links with notes on other people’s experience which I found useful:

Doug Mackay

Thanks Roman! This is super helpful!

1 Answers

Congratulations and thanks for the tips

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Psst…this one if you’ve been moved to ACG!

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