If you’re an aspiring solutions architect looking for a prestigious certificate, do not look further than the AWS Solutions Architect. Not only is this certification proof of your competence and capabilities, but it creates a unanimous sense of acceptance and respect amongst your peers.
Obtaining the AWS certificate opens numerous opportunities in front of you, and they’re not limited to specific fields. For instance, you would find more work opportunities as a system admin, developer, and even DevOps Engineer.
But first, you must be aware of studying for the AWS solutions architect exam. As this certification is one of the most popular ones of Amazon’s, it’s safe to say that passing it is not a piece of cake.
What is an AWS Solutions Architect?
As you might already know, AWS stands for Amazon Web Services and is, so far, the leading platform in cloud computing. Since the company is only growing exponentially, the demand for AWS technicians is increasing.
That’s where AWS Solutions Architect comes into the equation. As an AWS Architect, you should have the skills and background knowledge to design, deploy, build, and maintain applications. Moreover, AWS Solutions Architects are responsible for keeping the infrastructure of the AWS Cloud intact.
As an AWS Solutions Architect, you’re not expected to be the genius who handles everything. However, once you obtain the AWS certification, you’re more eligible for entry-level jobs in the tech industry. Moreover, the certificate allows you to accelerate your growth within the company.
How Difficult is the AWS Solution Architect Exam?
Well, the difficulty of the AWS Solution Architect Exam will vary depending on your background knowledge. However, even if you’re incredibly familiar with all AWS services, that does not necessarily mean you’ll pass the examination with flying colors.
That also applies to the other side of the coin; for people who have zero experience, you can easily pass the exam with a great score if you prepare well enough.
However, keep in mind that this certification is for a specific group of people. This applies to:
- People who are pursuing a solutions architect role
- You also have more than one year of hands-on experience with AWS systems
- Ability, or basic knowledge, of deployment, design, cost-efficiency, and scalability of the AWS systems
Keep in mind that there are two Certified Solutions Architect certifications; the associate and the professional. While we’re primarily addressing the AWS Associate Solutions Architect certification in this article, below is a brief comparison of the two of them:
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
The Associate’s examination helps you validate your ability in the field. It will mainly ask you to demonstrate your skills and knowledge about AWS technologies, including deploying applications and building them.
- AWS certification cost (Associate): $150
- Format: multiple-choice questions and answers
- Duration: 130 minutes
- Prerequisites: a minimum of one year of hands-on experience
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional
The Professional AWS Solutions Architect certification is usually sought by people who have scaled up in their field. This certification is for people required to evaluate an organization’s needs, make suggestions, and give recommendations on implementation and deployment.
- AWS certification cost (Professional): $300
- Format: multiple-choice questions and answers
- Duration: 170 minutes
- Prerequisites: you must first complete the Associate Solutions Architect Exam, have a minimum of two years of experience, and it’s recommended to be proficient in multi-application architectural design
How Long to Study for AWS Solutions Architect Exam?
Well, the good news is that you do not have to schedule your examination date until you’re 100% sure of your preparation. The amount of time you should spend studying for the AWS Solutions Architect Exam will range according to a few things:
- Do you have any previous experience in AWS?
- How many hours a day can you spare?
- Is this the first time you’re taking the AWS exam?
- Do you currently have other commitments?
We recommend you spend at least 40 hours preparing for the AWS examination with all that in mind. For instance, several people pass on their first try, with only 2-3 weeks of preparation. However, keep in mind that most of those candidates have pre-existing experience with AWS solutions, so they do not require as much time to study.
However, let’s start with those 40 hours as a baseline. If you have a full-time job on top of that, then you probably won’t be able to spend more than 2 hours a day preparing for it. Hence, it will take you approximately 20 days to fully prepare through revision, practice exams, and courses. However, it’s more realistic to believe it will take you anywhere from 3 weeks to 8.
Well, how much time should you spend studying for AWS Solutions Architect if you’re a complete beginner? Honestly, we believe that spending more time preparing for the examination is worth more than repeating the test. We recommend you invest around 60 hours in total, as a minimum requirement.
Hence, 60 hours of preparation for a beginner can take months to complete fully. However, don’t let that deter you from your path.
How to Study for AWS Solutions Architect Exam: 5 Tips
So, do you want to pass the AWS solution architect associate exam? The first thing we recommend is that you focus on these six major topics. You aim to master them and know them back-to-back to feel confident about your examination. These topics are:
- Application Services
- Designing Resilient Architectures
- High Availability & Scalability
- Logging and Security
- Networking & Compute
- Storage, Databases & Migration
But preparing for the AWS solution architect exam, no matter how long it would take you, requires having a consistent plan. We recommend you set a flexible schedule over eight weeks and break the study material. Moreover, you should factor in enough time to go through past exams and questions.
Here are our tips for preparing for the AWS examination:
Official AWS Page
Visit the AWS official page to follow through with what is required, what you need to learn, and the skills you need. Moreover, you can access all the information about the examination, white papers, and FAQs. White papers and FAQs are excellent ways to revise and go through the material you’re not entirely sure of.
Amazon has its very own examination guide. Everything you need to know about your test is in there, including the domains and all their subcategories. The handbook is a great way to see the scope of the examination.
Moreover, using the examination guide, you’ll get a more extensive idea of how the examination is graded and how the format of the questions looks.
The content of the examination is as follows:
- Designing Resilient Architectures – 30%
- Design High-Performing Archeticetures – 28%
- Design Secure Applications & Architectures – 24%
- Design Cost-Optimized Architectures – 18%
We kid you not; this is the most crucial step. Never go to your AWS examination without having prepared using sample questions. That’s because studying a concept and fully understanding it does not equate to solving questions on it.
There are free AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate sample exam questions. However, since this only includes ten questions, it is not sufficient preparation.
The mock tests train you to solve questions in a limited time frame. Since the AWS Solutions Architect (Associate) consists of 65 multiple-choice questions, the time limit of 130 minutes is a time crunch. Some people end up reneging simply because of the pressure of time.
For mock examinations, check out the following:
- UdemyPractice Exams (325 questions)
- Certified Questions’Practice Tests (987 questions)
- WhizlabsPractice Exam (765 questions)
The problem with purchasing an AWS study guide is that the AWS certification itself is changing rapidly. That’s because Amazon is constantly updating it and adding to it. However, that should not stop you from purchasing a study guide. Most books will be pretty outdated as time goes by.
Amazon’s study guide is a beautiful place to start, despite being a little old. However, it still provides excellent value and all the fundamentals of AWS.
However, we recommend you look into the 2nd Edition of the AWS Study guide by Ben Piper and David Clinton. It comes with two mock examinations and 100 flashcards designed for your revision purposes.
Join an Online Course
Honestly, if you do not have enough experience with AWS, we recommend you purchase a course that teaches you all the nooks and crannies of the examination. Some of the best are offered by Udemy and A Cloud Guru.
The very last piece of advice we would leave you with is to try getting more hands-on experience. Open a free AWS tier account and go through the console to better understand the scenarios and concepts that will pop up.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Study for AWS Solutions Architect Exam
All in all, preparing for the AWS examination is not a simple feat. You need to go through a study guide, sample questions, and if required, an online course. Moreover, we recommend you get as comfortable as possible with the AWS console and use the white papers on the official website to clarify any points you might have.
No matter how much time it takes you to feel confident about the examination, it’s always a better idea to take all the time you need. Do not rush yourself into taking the test, as that often backfires and forces you to repeat the examination.