I have joined the company for more than a year. Every time when someone shows up in the company’s name, others will always praise the power and utility of AWS products. At that time, I have to explain awkwardly: sorry, I am not from the AWS department, and I don’t know much about AWS products.
Although I said so, I still don’t want to admit it in my heart. I have been engaged in IT infrastructure for many years. When virtualization and cloud computing are booming in China, I have also spent a lot of energy and time to study and research them, and I have also obtained some related certificates. Now that the company has such good resources, am I really willing to continue this embarrassment?
During this year, I reformed the good habit of reading and self-study every day after meals in order to obtain PMP and CISSP certification. It is also a good thing to think of taking this opportunity to update my knowledge reserve. Therefore, I set a new goal for myself: before the end of the year, I want to obtain the third certification of this year-AWS Solution Architect Associate certification, in order to fill in a happy ending for my 2018.
2. Teaching materials
As we all know, the documents and white papers on the AWS official website are recognized as the best materials for learning and researching AWS technology. However, there are still many differences between purely learning technology and passing certification exams. On the one hand, it is necessary to read and memorize a large amount of documents, on the other hand, it is a compact review time with only about one month of preparation time. Therefore, I must find the most effective way to complete the study and pass the exam.
After browsing on the Internet and referring to the experience summary of senior students who passed the exam, I chose the AWS Certified Solution Architect Official Study Guide-Joint Exam published by Sybex. On Amazon’s official website, the genuine physical book is about 400 yuan, and the price of a high-definition photocopy version is about half that. The effect of the two is not different.
Why choose this book? There are two reasons: 1. I want an AWS Assistant Solutions Architect to understand the system introduction of the product; 2. Before Sybex certification textbook published 10 years ago, I once obtained Cisco certification, and I always feel good.
The results of the final exam prove that this book not only helps me understand the knowledge that AWS Assistant solution architects need to master, but also sorts out the collaboration relationships between these products and familiarize themselves with common application scenarios. However, the experimental exercises in this book contain some steps that are not clearly described, and lack some key information, which needs to be obtained through other methods. I will mention related issues later.
In order to understand AWS products intuitively, it is necessary to do experiment. AWS is quite open, allowing users to register for an account via email, and after binding a credit card, they can try out AWS products for one year for free.
Although it is only a trial account, after logging in to the management console, I found that there are many amazon products in it, which is enough for us who are preparing to assist solution architects.
But there is a personal lesson to inform everyone. After the experiment is completed, you must remember to terminate the unused instance, otherwise it will stay there for a long time, and AWS will still deduct the fee from the credit card bound to the account. I lost dozens of dollars because of this.
It can be known from the foregoing that the experimental part of the textbook may start from the VPC, some steps are not clearly described, and lack of key information, which makes the experiment impossible.
Fortunately, there are many third-party learning platforms on the Internet, which provide AWS experimental scenarios to help us understand the characteristics of AWS products. In the process of preparing for testing, I often use QWIKLABS, which can provide free experimental programs, covering IAM, EC2, VPC, ELB, EBS, CloudFront and other AWS most basic commonly used products.
I mainly used two exam preparation exercises: one is the questions at the end of each chapter of the textbook; the other is the related practice questions. Furthermore, there is a test question bank that can pass the certification exam.
Usually, the exercises at the back of the textbook are not very difficult, mainly for the study of basic concepts, and include some simple scene problems.
Due to various reasons such as source channels and time, the difficulty of the test question bank is different. Take the question bank used in my exercise as an example, it has 500 questions. There is only one sentence to directly ask this concept, and the English scene question only has 6 or 7 lines. In order to understand the reasons behind these on-site problems, I spent a lot of time checking documents, browsing forums and consulting companies. Although I did not encounter such a problem in the final exam, these preparations allowed me to finally gain a lot of things, which can be used in future work.
AWS exams can be taken in all major cities across the country. Registering users on the AWS training and certification website can easily make appointments and pay for exams.
During the preparation process, I did not take the mock exam, but went directly to the exam site on the day of the exam.
The rules of the test center are similar to those of other certification exams. Bring your ID card, passport, driver’s license, credit card and other documents as requested in the email for inspection by the test center staff. Later, the staff will explain the precautions of the exam in the examination room, let the candidates put their mobile phones and other personal belongings in the locker room, and then lead the candidates into the examination room.
There are 65 multiple-choice questions in the exam, divided into single-choice or multiple-choice questions, and the answer time is 130 minutes. For multiple choice questions, the number of choices will be shown in brackets after the stem. All problems are scene problems, but they are relatively simple. The question stem will not exceed 3 lines at most. It is mainly to study the characteristics of common AWS products or its flexible applications. The difficulty is higher than the scene problem in the textbook exercise, but it is never possible to reach the complexity of the scene problem in the question bank.
Since many questions in the exam are situational questions and I have never seen them before, it took some time to read and analyze the questions carefully. It took about 90 minutes to complete all the exam questions. Among them, 14 questions are marked because I am not sure whether their answers are correct. Since there was still time left, I re-completed the 14 questions that were marked and reduced the range of uncertain questions to 6. Finally, I quickly checked the other questions and submitted the test paper within about 6 minutes. After the exam, I left the exam center relaxed and happy.
Six, the end
I don’t know if it’s because I booked the latest revision of the exam in 2018—according to the explanation of the AWS training and certification colleague—after submitting the test results, I did not directly see my test results displayed on the Internet. Instead, I saw a message saying “I have successfully completed the exam, and it will take 5 working days to get the final score.”
This is a situation I didn’t expect, and then I thought that many exercises that I hadn’t done during the preparation process appeared in the exam questions. For a while, I even wondered whether I could pass the exam.
Fortunately, this tormented day did not last long. At noon two days later, I received an email informing me that I had passed the exam and asked me to go to the AWS website to get the detailed results and e-certificate. A big rock in my heart finally fell, and my previous hard study and earnest accumulation finally paid off.