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.