Blog by Alexis Dalforno, mthree Alumni and DevOps Engineer
Whether you work with a company that uses Amazon Web Services or not, the AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification is an attractive addition to anyone's portfolio. AWS has millions of customers, many of which are large enterprises looking to fill their teams with developers versed in AWS technology. Given that they offer over two hundred services to their consumers, it can be daunting to know where to start in getting AWS certified. Thankfully they offer an introductory certification that covers the basics of the AWS cloud and some of their most essential services.
The AWS Cloud Practitioner Exam is a 90 minute test covering everything from AWS Cloud architecture and infrastructure to billing plans and account management. The topics covered within the study materials build an essential foundation to understanding what all the fuss around AWS is about. Amazon suggests that exam takers have at least a few months of experience using their cloud services, but two weeks (1-2 months if you are working full-time) of well-structured studying will hide inexperience easily. With the study tools below, you will learn the basics of deploying and operating the AWS Cloud, the security and compliance model of the services offered, and the ways a company may begin implementing the services into their current infrastructure.
There are far more options for studying this exam than what are presented below, some free and some paid. However, I compiled those that my coworkers and I found the most useful. As a bonus, they should all be free too!
This is the best place to start. They offer a free six hour course where they cover all of the topics present in the exam. It is hosted by three AWS employees who take you through the material with the metaphor of a coffee shop for easier understanding. There are also practice quizzes throughout. Additionally, you can use their handy dandy glossary which is great for the last few days before the exam.
When you join Wiley and mthree, you'll have access to courses on LinkedIn Learning. They have a whole learning path dedicated to the AWS Cloud Practitioner Exam. There are tons of specialized courses as well if you struggle with specific concepts like AWS CloudFormation or AWS Enterprise Security.
Every high schoolers favorite tool for exam practice, Quizlet offers flashcards and memorization games created by people with actual experience taking the test. There are tons to choose from, but here are a couple of highly rated ones that I personally used. This one is formatted as multiple choice while this one takes the free answer approach.
(Bonus) Your Work’s Training Platform
If a company you work for offers you a complimentary training platform, I would recommend studying through that service to show them your initiative. Nomura provides Pluralsight which offers a fantastic learning path with labs and free practice exams.
Make sure to take sufficient notes! Whether you use a physical notebook, google documents, Microsoft OneNote, etc., make sure to organize it so it’s easy to find the answers to practice questions if you cannot answer them on your own quite yet. Make a table of contents with headers for each section in the AWS course from Amazon linked above. Amazon also has an example exam guide you can structure your own study guide from.
After sufficient studying, it is time to book your exam and prepare for the 65 questions ahead of you. The exam consists of all multiple choice questions, some of which require two or more of the responses to be selected as an answer. The questions are broken down as follows: 26% cloud concepts, 25% security and compliance, 33% technology, and 16% billing and pricing. To pass the exam, a score of 700 or above is required with the highest possible score being 1,000. The night before the exam, make sure you set up a testing area with nothing present on your desk except your computer which should have a working webcam and microphone. They will require you to film the space around your testing area and a proctor will be watching and listening the whole time. With that you are ready to go. I wish you good luck!