Passed the AWS Solutions Architect - Associate

LA prepared me very well for this exam but there were still some questions I had to make educated guesses on. Before I hit submit I was SURE I would be greeted with a "FAILED" message. I was thrilled to see a pass @ 83%! 
You may not get questions on these subjects but I think if you're getting ready to take the exam it's worth adding these items to your pre-exam review, being very general here because of the NDA (and foggy brain from 4 days ago):

  • SQS! - If you don't have a firm grasp on the default settings and behaviors you're not ready to take the exam. I had a large number of questions on SQS default settings like the polling behaviors. I knew this going in because of the LA practice exams. be sure to really understand SQS before taking the exam.
  • Kinesis! - I had trouble with this even on the practice quizzes on LA so I knew going in I would have trouble. Specifically you should know a few use cases for Kinesis, understand the components, and understand the differences between Stream, Firehose and Analytics.
  • API Gateway - Know the benefits of using it. Know common use cases. Know what CORS is.
  • RedShift - Know what it is and the use cases for it. Understand how it differs from DynamoDB. They will have questions where if you don't know RedShift is a DataWarehouse you'll be unsure whether to pick RedShift or DynamoDB. I couldn't remember what RedShift was so I had questions I really struggled over.
  • DynamoDB - Be sure you know how it differs from RedShift and RDS and the benefits it offers (low latency, automatic scaling, etc)
  • OpsWorks - This  was not covered in the LA SAA Coursework but you'll want to know what it's for and that it can use Chef code.
As I'm starting to go through the AWS Developer - Associate coursework I'm seeing a lot of the info on the questions that stumped me. I recommend plowing through the Developer coursework prior to taking the Solutions Architect Exam, it's only 13 hours which is less time than I spent reviewing the SAA coursework before the exam. I think if I had, I would have breezed through my exam without as much head scratching.

I do have a lot of background knowledge with EC2 and VPC Networking so a lot of those questions were no issue for me. If you don't have a lot of experience troubleshooting VPC networking, spend some time there. The VPC Troubleshooting labs are stellar, use them! As with the LA quiz, they like to ask lots of "Why can't this connect?" questions that have obvious answers if you remember the troubleshooting steps provided in the LA coursework.

The stuff I really struggled with were AWS Services and nuances around their configuration for specific implementations. Here, knowing the usecases for each service and delving into the nuances of the configuration is key to getting some of the questions right.

Thanks again LA,

Couldn't have done it without you!


  • post-author-pic
    David C
    07-16-2017

    Thank you for sharing your advice Andrew and congrats on earning your certification! Are you going for the AWS Certified Developer Associate certification next?

  • post-author-pic
    Andrew T
    07-17-2017

    Yes, the plan is to get the developer cert followed by the sysops cert. 


    The SAA took me about 3 months to prepare for, the Dev Associate looks like the material overlaps a bit and there are fewer hours of lecture so I'm hoping to knock it out quicker, maybe 2 months. 

    I expect the SysOps to take at least 3 months unless I'm way off base. Hopefully the stars align and I can get to RE:Invent and take my SysOps for free.

    Either way I'm hoping to get the trifecta done before the end of the year.

  • post-author-pic
    Rachel C
    07-17-2017

    Congrats!

  • post-author-pic
    Craig A
    07-17-2017

    Great job!

  • post-author-pic
    Jon M
    07-17-2017

    Awesome Job and thanks for the notes!

  • post-author-pic
    Elle K
    07-17-2017

    Congratulations, Andrew, and thank you for the feedback!

  • post-author-pic
    Doug V
    07-17-2017

    Way to go, Andrew! 

  • post-author-pic
    Trent H
    07-17-2017

    Congrat, Andrew! Thanks for the feedback.

  • post-author-pic
    Thomas H
    07-17-2017

    Woohoo!  Congrats on passing the exam.  

  • post-author-pic
    Terrence C
    07-17-2017

    Thanks for sharing your experience and success tips! Congratulations!

  • post-author-pic
    Shahan K
    07-17-2017

    Great Job!

  • post-author-pic
    Brandon M
    07-17-2017

    Nice work, Andrew!

  • post-author-pic
    Treva W
    07-17-2017

    Very nice! Way to go, Andrew!

  • post-author-pic
    Chaz W
    07-17-2017

    Awesome work, Andrew! 

  • post-author-pic
    Sean G
    07-17-2017

    Thanks for the detailed review and feedback! Congrats on the pass!

  • post-author-pic
    Peter T
    07-17-2017

    Nice work!

  • post-author-pic
    Kevin J
    07-17-2017

    Well done.

  • post-author-pic
    Amy M
    07-17-2017

    Congrats!

  • post-author-pic
    Colette W
    07-17-2017

    Congratulations!

  • post-author-pic
    Travis T
    07-18-2017

    Awesome job Andrew!

  • post-author-pic
    Shirley M
    07-21-2017

    Wow!  Thank you for this detailed feedback and taking the time to write it up for us.  Greatly appreciated --we love for students to give us this type of information so we can make our courses better and better.  Congrats to you on passing your exam!!

  • post-author-pic
    Johnny L
    07-23-2017

    Thank you for the feedback!

  • post-author-pic
    Arshad G
    07-24-2017

    Much appreciate your detailed feedback

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