AWS SAA Exam Experience

Recently I wanted to learn more about AWS, mainly for career progression but also because of the noise made this year with VMware and AWS joining forces and the shift towards Hybrid Cloud.

As usual, for motivation, I decided to set the exam date as a focal point to aim for. But uncharacteristically I pushed and pushed this exam and lacked the motivation to study. It was something that was also on my work development plan and had to be achieved and I soon found myself in the start of December without achieving this. Thankfully I was able to successfully pass the exam and am now AWS-SAA.

In order to begin study for this, I started where it seems everyone does and purchased the “acloudguru” course. I bought this of udemy for around $10 around march 2017 – that shows you the levels of my procrastination (albeit I had a failed VCDX attempt this year as well to navigate) The course is a really good baseline for those who have never worked with AWS. The chapters are nice and short, around max 20mins and this is intentional to keep the attention of the listener. Beware you need to give a lot of time to get through this course. There are a lot of labs that you an follow but I found I had to repeat things a few times. Its also worth noting that although the official “acloudguru” site is now subscription based, you can still get good deals from udemy for the individual associate courses.

Another “must” study guide is the FAQS. these are a brilliant resource and break down into easily digestible chunks. They give really good descriptions of the components in the exam and without these I wouldn’t have made the grade.

As usual the community also has brilliant resources and the 2 I found really helpful where:

Alex Galbraith has done a great job compiling study resources on his blog:

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Exam Study Guide & Resources

I also stumbled across this valuable site. The author, Jayendra, has a load of AWS certs and his blog is really useful

AWS Certification Catalog

Onto the exam then!  Bizarly my exam day experience was something i have never experienced before. I could only sit in Edinburgh and found myself in Regus Conference House on Morrison Street. I wasn’t sure if I had turned up at the correct place as this is a managed office block.  I was shown to a small office room by the recptionist and left to my own devices!. It seems PSI/AWS hired out a single room with webcams galore! I had to scan my ID into an under monitor scanner and speak into a webcam. Once “they” where satisfied with who i was not confident I was not surrounded by a pile of notes, they release the exam. The exam itself is 80 mins long and has 55 questions, so close to any VCP you have sat. My recent exams have been VCAPs so anything less than 3 hours was most welcome! The questions are a mix of single or multiple answers. I didn’t find the time to much of a constraint but I was rushing near the end to complete my final review. I was delighted when it showed I had passed. I was told it was a pass only and didn’t get my actual mark until later that day when it was emailed to me.

I have since tried to schedule the Developer Associate exam and it seems that there are no longer any test centeres in scotland for AWS exams! I have reached out to AWS but yet to hear back. The closest seems to be Newcastle but alot of expence to travel to a different country for an exam. I don’t think that will put me off but has shifted my focus on what i want to lean next.

Feel free to reach out to me for any quesitons you have and good lucjk if you pruse this !

Brian Gerrard