2 years ago

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!

Image of davidcoy
2 years ago
Thank you for sharing your advice Andrew and congrats on earning your certification! Are you going for the AWS Certified Developer Associate certification next?
Image of drewtittle
2 years ago
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.
Image of RachelCraft
2 years ago
Image of craiga
2 years ago
Great job!
Image of JonMyer
2 years ago
Awesome Job and thanks for the notes!
Image of ellejaclyn
2 years ago
Congratulations, Andrew, and thank you for the feedback!
Image of dougvdotcom
2 years ago
Way to go, Andrew! 
Image of trent
2 years ago
Congrat, Andrew! Thanks for the feedback.
Image of braun0
2 years ago
Woohoo!  Congrats on passing the exam.  
Image of tcox
2 years ago
Thanks for sharing your experience and success tips! Congratulations!
Image of skarim
2 years ago
Great Job!
Image of brandon423
2 years ago
Nice work, Andrew!
Image of trilliams
2 years ago
Very nice! Way to go, Andrew!
Image of chazzledazzle
2 years ago
Awesome work, Andrew! 
Image of seang
2 years ago
Thanks for the detailed review and feedback! Congrats on the pass!
Image of thor
2 years ago
Nice work!
Image of kevinjames
2 years ago
Well done.
Image of amy
2 years ago
Image of Colette
2 years ago
Image of tthomsen
2 years ago
Awesome job Andrew!
Image of shirleymartin
2 years ago
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!!
Image of lucent128
2 years ago
Thank you for the feedback!
Image of arshadg
2 years ago
Much appreciate your detailed feedback