How I Passed the AWS Solutions Architect Exam in 11 Weeks

How I Passed the AWS Solutions Architect Exam in 11 Weeks

I did it.

I passed the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Exam in 11 months while working full-time.

You have to know where I started. I was a teacher with an Educational Studies background. I taught subjects that had absolutely nothing to do with AWS: math, biology, Chinese, etc.

I started out not knowing a lot of things: EC2 instances, security groups, VPC, S3…

None of them meant anything to me prior to May 2017.

One could say I was slightly better than completely ignorant at that point. I’d taken computer fundamentals and programming classes in college and I’d been following some tech reviewing channels on YouTube (MKBHD all the way!!!).

Then I started to learn about Amazon Web Services at work. I became so interested that I continued to study when I wasn’t working.

A large chunk of my success story can be credited to my mentor, John. I would never have been where I am today without his mentorship. I am also grateful that my supervisor and colleagues were more than supportive.

John has had 30+ years of experience in IT, and he was also interested in getting certified in AWS. We worked with AWS to create the company architecture. Nothing beats hands-on experience when you are learning something new. My first experiences with AWS was not some online training video or the official study guide, but an actual AWS console on the office computer.

Outside of our regular work, John also shared lots of books, online courses and helpful YouTube videos to help me understand what we were doing at work.

If you ask me to name just one thing that made the difference when I was learning about AWS, it would be to “get your hands dirty”.

Another thing would be to find a great mentor.

Nothing beats experience.

Knowledge from reading stays on the surface; one can only thoroughly learn something by doing.

Here is a list of the things I did during these three months that had to do with AWS:

  1. Maintained and upgraded the company website with my mentor.
  2. Subscribed to Qwiklabs and did at least one lab a day for the first month; later. I used other resources for hands-on lab experience.
  3. Used CloudAcademy quiz bank to check what I didn’t know.
  4. Taught an introductory AWS class with my mentor; I was in charge of the hands-on labs, and created 15 of them.
  5. Went over Whizlab AWS Course, A Cloud Guru, Cloud Academy and Linux Academy Solutions Architect course (for review purposes only).
  6. The Official AWS study guide (went over all of the questions and summaries at least once)
  7. Whizlab question bank (I’m not going to lie)

Some of these resources were more effective than others. In future posts, I’ll share more study tips and the resources we used to study and learn AWS. Thank you for reading!