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AWS Solutions Architect Associate Certification

The SAA-C02 Journey to certification spells well for AWS's technical future

After completing the SAA-C02 Solutions Architect Associate exam, I can say AWS's technical future is bright once they keep on building upon quality and relevance in their certification programmes. This certification is been replaced by the SAA-C03 Solutions Architect Associate exam in September of this year, which will expand on the massive expansion of AWS services since the SAA-C02 certification was launched. 

If I have the future of Maolte Technical Solutions Limited correctly forecasted in the month of its incorporation, it's my feeling that cloud architecture and associated certifications will strongly feature in my new company's 5-year road map. I have a number of certifications completed at this stage and on this one, I can say that tricky questions are featured in a comprehensive set of areas covered for this exam. My own SAA-C02 journey has yielded the below comments and tips designed to assist the engineer or technologist preparing to certify in this exam. After completing all 65 questions with 12 mins to spare in the 140-minute exam, I completed 2/2 of one incomplete question and reviewed 9/20 flagged questions making one adjustment. I passed with 804/1000 showing me that time management and not topic knowledge was my biggest issue here despite my fragmented focus on preparation this time around. This experience has produced the following list of tips I hope any exam preparer will benefit from.

  • Cover the course content in detail and take notes you can revise pre-doing the practice exams on your preferred vendor's mock exam subscription. Use exam prep tools like AWS Benchmark, which will definitely help.

  • Redo the course labs a few times, which admittedly I did not have time for. I was stuck in between setting up my own company and doing the course

  • Try to have a continuous learning cycle moving through the course in 2-3 day gaps at a max revising the last day's content before covering new content. I had gaps of weeks between leaving my perm job to set up my own company and starting a new course for a contract pitch. This led me to suspend work mid-way on this one which did NOT help at all. Fresh memory linking all the content together is a better idea.

  • When you complete the course content and have your mock exams lined up, try to give yourself about 2 weeks of practice exams having 3-5 days between takes and follow up on what you get wrong to make sure you understand ALL your answers. I normally do that but gave myself 4 days for this part of the exam prep due to time pressures, which was unhelpful in the exam.

  • If people start distracting you on other work tasks, etc within 48 hours of your exam date; just go dark and focus on the exam. I did not and ended up working 12-hour days to cover all the tasks coming out of the woodwork thus going into the exam tired.

  • In the exam, I was nervous and flagged questions I knew but noted nerves prevented me from focusing properly on them. I flagged 6 questions like this and then clicked into gear until around question 34 when I became mentally tired. I tried stretching but should have taken a 30-second meditation to try and refresh myself and then flag as few questions as I needed to throughout the remaining exam. Instead, I hard-charged onwards and flagged 20 questions overall. The questions and answers got wordy so mistakes may have been made and I only had time to review 9/20 flagged questions. Time management is critical to success and the overall exam experience. 

The SAA-C03 from this September on will be similarly structured but on a wider range of AWS services, making the above tips valid in your pursuit of this certification. There is no doubt in my mind, that these exams make us better AWS engineers, admins and architects so why not move on your certification path today! Stay tuned for more on infrastructure in this blog along with articles on other areas of interest in the writing and DevOps arenas. To not miss out on any updates on my availability, tips on related areas or anything of interest to all, sign up for one of my newsletters in the footer of any page on Maolte. I look forward to us becoming pen pals!

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