How I passed three AWS certifications back to back!

AWS Cloud Practitioner

I passed the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification with nearly flying colors!  My score was only a few points away from 900 out of 1000. This exam was not challenging for me and I doubt it will be challenging for you either. Now I do have to say that I did work with AWS and related services for two years prior to taking this exam. Always read the exam topics and find sites that organize their study guides with the exam topics. I studied about an hour a day for about 3-5 days the week before taking the exam. You don’t need to be an IT guru to study and pass this exam so don’t push too hard, just take it! 

AWS SysOps Administrator & Solutions Architect

Few months after that I started to study for the AWS SysOps administrator certification. The reason I started to study for that exam before the AWS Solutions architect because I planned to knock out both of the exams back to back. The exam topics for both of them was very similar to me and I had a feeling that passing the SysOps would help me pass the AWS Solutions Architect exam. I bought the official AWS SysOps Administrator book from amazon.com. Since I’m so busy with work during the day, working out during the evenings, I read a few pages before going to sleep. During my commute to and from work, I would also listen to AWS official podcasts (Note: What you hear on the podcasts may not be on the exam)

I mainly used Linuxacademy.com (links below to each course) because they have the latest content, hands-on lab, quizzes and practice exams that were on par with the topics in the exam. I also purchased a study guide package from udemy.com for around $12 to get more practice exams. Those exams were formatted like the actual exam but the content for the package I got had more information than I needed for the associates level. I passed one exam on one Sunday and then the other exam on the following Sunday.  I was relieved that my plan worked! What I didn’t know was that passing each exam AWS gives you a 50% off discount on your next exam. Now I have discounts available for my next AWS certifications. These exams are good for 3 years before a renewal is required.

Last words; these exams definitely require professional experience. It’s not just a memorization type exams, it’s all scenario-based. Let me know if you have any specific questions!

AWS Cloud Practitioner

The AWS Cloud Practitioner exam enables individuals with an overall understanding of the AWS Cloud to validate their knowledge with an industry-recognized credential. It provides individuals in a larger variety of cloud and technology roles with a way to validate their AWS Cloud knowledge and enhance their professional credibility.
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AWS Certified SysOps Administrator

The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate exam validates technical expertise in deployment, management, and operations on the AWS platform.
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AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam is intended for individuals with experience designing distributed applications and systems on the AWS platform.

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Wait, don’t create your AWS account yet!

As much as I like for you to get building, I have also learned there are prerequisites (not enforced by AWS) that are required in order to be in control of your cloud. Here’s a shortlist of action items to complete before building. These action items may apply to Azure and any other clouds.

Cloud Culture

Everyone in your team is got to be on board with moving and staying in the cloud. If anyone’s attitude is off from the rest of the team then there will be some drawbacks from time to time. No one needs to be cloud experts but at least understand what is the cloud, how and why it’s secure, and lastly how to build and maintain your applications in it. This may include training. See The Cloud Journey Begins and Stay up to date with AWS news

Tagging

TAGGING IS SO DAMN IMPORTANT! (Sorry for the caps) Tagging is the ONLY way to survive in the cloud. A quick rundown on what’s important to tag right away. Do enforce it with Lambda or AWS Config. I’ll write about each of them in another blog on how to enforce tags.

  • All Compute related resource must have at least a ‘Name’ tag! ‘Owner’ tag is definitely helpful for some resources.
    • EC2’s, EBS’s, Auto Scaling Groups, AMI’s, snapshots, network interfaces, etc.
  • Use AWS cost allocation tags if you care about more granular cost reports; especially if you’re using a single account for multiple projects or environments or clients.

Environments

How many environments? How are you going to divide the resources, by network within a single account or multiple account strategy? My opinion is to go to multiple accounts if you have enough team members or the knowledge or the budget to handle it. If it’s a sandbox or personal account, then one is generally fine.

Environments: Dev | Prod

Naming Standards

It’s simple as what the name says. Create your simple guide on how to name all the various resources and services in the cloud.

Example
Resource: EC2 instance: DevWordPress01

Account Naming

Your technical staff might not care about this as much as project managers and higher might. Name all the accounts according to their purpose, is it a security account or a project X account? More on account creation and management later!

Provide your feedback via comments. Thanks!

What’s next?

Best AWS Multi-Account Architecture

then?

How to create the AWS master account

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