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Passed AWS CSA Professional - After failed attempt 2 months ago

Thanks @anthony for creating gem of a course. I cleared my SA pro exam today and waiting official certificate to be received. But was too excited to thank Linux Academy course builders and @anthony especially.   To give my background, I have pretty decent experience with AWS both in deployment and as Application developer. Hence at my first attempt, I was always under a bubble of confidence while preparing, that makes me human I suppose. I failed with 63% overall and came to know few areas to improve, few is understatement. I knew, my weekness lies in Hybrid Migration, Big Data and anything with the name VPN/Direct Connect puts me off.  Thankfully, your approach of deep dive into concept was my style of learning and hands on labs helped me a lot to improve from 63% to 77% hardly 2 months. I had to do it because my associate was expiring in 2 days. I didn’t slog and it was always a few hours of targeted hands on and listening to audio while commuting. I hope, following might help someone who is in same spot as me:

1. Failure is natural. I failed AWS official sa pro practice test twice, repeatedly failed LA sa pro practice test and obviously failed the grand one AWS sa pro first time. Only thing I learned after each failed attempt was to understand my weekness. Trying to gauge my performance, am I improving even if I am failing. Reviewed all answers. I believe real AWS SA pro questions are longer but normally try to touch concepts. So don’t worry if you fail, just understand concept, do hands on and understand any new term you hear.

2. Since I mainly worked at cloud native organisations, it became hard for me to understand hybrid topology and Direct connect. LA course bridged the gap for me. Hands on lab with VPN and understanding Direct Connect in-depth helped me a lot.

3. LA is a subscription based service so use it to max, So for point 2, I didn’t stick to one course. I started with AWS Networking speciality course, because I knew that was my weekness. I tried to learn BGP, Dynamic routing and other networking concepts. It helped me a lot. Honestly, in my second attempt I was too good at these topics :)

4. Based on my interest, when I need to understand bit detail I wandered around courses to quickly grasp core concept. For example, Used some part of Big Data speciality course to understand Redshift, EMR cluster, then some part of Hybrid AWS technology for deep dive into VPN, AD and AWS course to understand how AD login works. Basically , I used AWS SA pro course as a thread to keep me focussed and used other course as branches to expand when I needed to.

5. Understand subtle difference is key to eliminate choices:

a. I had vague way of remembering, memcache(easy across region/az)—>redis(not easy across region)—>redshift(cluster not easy across az). Everyone has different pattern keeping things in their head.

b. DNS resolution details in SA pro and the lab is amazing. Cleared lot of doubts. Like AWS Route53 only resolves AWS originated traffic. Knowing subtle difference helped me a lot in exam

c. Another one may be EMR cluster and encryption. Some shared file option doesn’t support native encryption.

d. Memcache is not persistent and Redis is

e. In short, knowing subtle difference help you shortlist options quickly.

6. Overall, if you are confident about some topic because of your experience try to find subtle difference which affect design choice in real world. If you are not confident about topic then try to deep dive with hands on first and then with other courses or FAQs

7. On demand Lab environment in LA is excellent, I can’t thank LA for that. But to be productive, start the Lab at least one section before you intend to go through the video. Because it takes 5 min to provision, that won’t brake your flow.

8. Fun tip: Never underestimate your brain. I watched all video with 2x speed and I am not native English speaker. After a point, you brain is in rhythm and start to understand. You can always pause and replay if you want whenever you need time to grasp. Not sure if it is what helped me, but I finished my SA pro exam with 15-20 minutes to spare.

For next two year, I will be in LA for amazing courses you have. For others, Keep up the good work and all the best for your exam. Never doubt yourself.


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    Amy M
    04-26-2018

    Way to go!

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    Terrence C
    04-26-2018

    Congratulations!


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    Tony C
    04-26-2018

    Awesomeness! 

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    Travis T
    04-26-2018

    Well done!

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    Keith T
    04-26-2018

    Congrats and thanks for the advice.

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    Kim H
    04-26-2018

    Congratulations on passing and thank you for sharing your experience!!

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    Patrick S
    04-26-2018

    Congrats!!

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    Angie B
    04-26-2018

    Awesome news! Thanks for sharing, we enjoy celebrating your success!! 

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    Joseph L
    04-26-2018

    Thanks for your terrific post, fabulous attitude, and awesome score! Congratulations!

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    Matthew S
    04-26-2018

    Great work! Way to stick with it!!!

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    Steven G
    04-26-2018

    Congrats! 

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    Tony C
    04-26-2018

    Thanks for making us part of your journey! 

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    Wayde G
    04-26-2018

    That's a great accomplishment.

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    Elle K
    04-27-2018

    Congratulations! That was a phenomenal write-up about the studying and exam process.

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    gs.sumesh-8979c134
    04-27-2018

    Thanks Again all ! partly, its because LA team did wonderful job for me, lengthy post is my way of giving back :)

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    Craig A
    04-27-2018

    Congrats! Thanks for the great feedback!

  • post-author-pic
    Matthew P
    04-27-2018

    Way to keep at it! Congratulations!

  • post-author-pic
    Karen L
    04-27-2018

    Great job!

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    Trent H
    04-27-2018

    Nice work! That is a terrific write up that will help others with this certification...thank yoiu

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    Sean G
    04-27-2018

    Wowzers! Great, thorough feedback and awesome attitude to keep going through failure. Good luck on your next one, I look forward to seeing your future successes!

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    Scott T
    04-27-2018

    This is some fantastic feedback! I think the part of it I want to highlight the most, is that you stuck with it and never gave up, even after failing. You assessed yourself, developed strategies, and kept going, and this is a skill which is priceless to any tech professional (well, any professional at all, but all the more so in the ever-changing tech world). Awesome work, awesome attitude!

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    Fernando M
    04-27-2018

    Awesome work! Thanks a bunch for all the feedback! Super great to hear that your persistence paid off - the important part (and the hard part sometimes!) is to keep it up and not get discouraged!

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    Kenneth A
    04-27-2018

    Well done, glad you got it this time around!

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    Will B
    04-27-2018

    Congrats!

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    Trey H
    04-27-2018

    Great work! Thank you for the detailed feedback on your experience.

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    Treva W
    04-27-2018

    Yeah! Way to go!

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    Gonzalo S
    04-27-2018

    Contrats!!!... And thanks for spending your time sharing this info with us, i really appreciate it.

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    Thomas H
    04-28-2018

    Woot!  Congrats!  And thanks for the great retrospective. 

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    Shyam Sundar R
    04-30-2018

    Congrats!!

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    Anthony J
    05-02-2018

    Congratulations! Thank you for sharing!

    I’d love to endorse/recommend you on LinkedIn if you want. All you have to do is add me as a connection and add Linux Academy as your school. Once you do that, post a picture of your cert about passing in your feed and reference me within the original post. Once I see this, I’ll be able to recommend you for your hard work on your LinkedIn profile.

    Thanks,

    Anthony

    Founder/CEO LinuxAcademy.com | CloudAssessments.com

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    Davis E
    05-03-2018

    Congrats on the pass! Way to stick with it. 

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    Ingrid V
    05-03-2018

    Congratulations! You are why we show up everyday!! Thank you for taking the time to share, it is truly valuable to us.

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    gs.sumesh-8979c134
    05-04-2018

    Thanks All. Keep up the good work.  @anthony  , Thanks for details.

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    Shawna R
    05-05-2018

    First of all...CONGRATULATIONS on your achievement.  Your drive and dedication to achieving this is to be commended.  It's inspirational to say the least.

    Second...thank you for being so transparent with the rest of this community about your "entire" learning and exam experience...your successes and past failures!  Your hard work and dedication had to make achieving this goal so much sweeter.  Others can learn a lot from your post.  I'm sure that it will serve to encourage many others who are on this same journey. 

    Finally, I really respect that "you were always seeking to identify and improve upon your own skill and knowledge gaps".  That is what we all should be doing to improve on every aspect of our personal and professional lives.   Way to go!

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    gs.sumesh-8979c134
    05-05-2018

    Thanks Shawna for being kind.  I extracted the content of my feedback as a medium post  obviously with some tweak, thought it might be useful for others apart from our community.  You can find post at:  https://medium.com/@gssumesh/10-tips-i-wish-i-knew-before-my-failed-first-attempt-at-aws-sa-professional-certification-91ef84b04621

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