Before going into details, it is important to explain my background a little bit. People with different background might need different levels of study time.
I hold a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering. I’ve been making PC applications for many years (mostly mathematical simulations and games). I had zero experience on networking, web application or cloud computing before studying for this certification. I had a 9-to-5 job as a VR game developer and a demanding toddler (she does not want to sleep).
I decided to study for this certification because no matter what type of software I decided to develop, cloud computing would probably have a role in it these days (from Desktop Applications to IoT, Web applications, Scientific Computing, Video Games and etc.). Another motivation was that knowing cloud computing would keep me in-demand in the job market.
It took me about 5 months to study for this exam. I used these resources:
- The popular acloudGuru course (on Udemy).
- Amazon Web Services (For doing the hands-on labs).
- FAQ and landing page of every single AWS service that was included in the exam.
- Googling things that I was not sure (e.g. AWS WorkSpaces vs. AWS AppStream or AWS Beanstalk vs. AWS CloudFormation)
- Wikipedia (mostly to understand broad concepts and ideas like cloud bursting, subnetting, various networking protocols like iSCSI and …).
- AWS White Papers (I skim them).
- The ACloudGuru Practice Test course (on Udemy).
My Study Routine
My study routine was like this:
- Watched one or more related video clips of acloudguru course without doing the lab.
- Watched the video clips again but this time logged into AWS and replicated the video step by step.
- If there was any concept that I still could not understand, I googled it.
- Created flashcards and entered them into an online spaced-repetition system. I used Repetico because I could access it from my smartphone or PC.
- Took the practice tests.
How I Made Time to Study
When I decided to study for the exam, my schedule seems to be already filled up with various responsibilities and chores. First I cut the social media out. Second, I started to wake up sooner than the rest of my family so that I have undistracted quality hours in the morning. That means I woke up at 5 am instead of 8 am every day including weekends (and went to bed earlier to compensate). I dedicated those hours to study new materials and creating flashcards.
For reviewing the materials, I studied my flashcards on my smartphone whenever I found an opportunity (while waiting in lines, laying on the sofa or bed before falling asleep, etc.) The great thing about the spaced-repetition system is that it guarantees the information goes from your short-term memory to long-term memory. So, I was not worried about forgetting things.
I passed the certification exam on the first try with the score of % 81. The exam was heavily scenario-based and did not ask about stupid questions like how many days AWS keeps your automatic DB snapshots.