Last Friday, I finally sat in, and passed, the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam after 2 weeks of studying with a score of 908/1000. I finally feel one official step closer to my next career goal of becoming a Cloud Engineer/Administrator.
AWS: Amazon Web Services
AWS is the On-Demand Cloud Computing Platform that Amazon founded in 2006. It’s the biggest force in Cloud Computing field right now, with Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud trying to catch up. Those two will likely not catch up any time soon, as AWS has such a huge marketshare.
It can be used by normal people, companies, and governments, and utilizes a paid subscription model. It’s like having loads of data centers and softwares and services available to you at a touch of a button instead of you having to go buy all the hardware and hook it up. There is very limited maintenance required as opposed to the normal on-premise computing, so it saves you a lot of money. The more I learn about AWS, the more I’m fascinated with how much potential the platform has.
You can learn more about AWS in a previous post I wrote about Amazon Web Services.
Certified Cloud Practitioner
AWS has numerous certifications to prove that you have competencies in certain capacities. Being a Cloud Practitioner shows that you have “knowledge and skills necessary to effectively demonstrate an overall understanding of the AWS Cloud.” They recommend you have basic IT knowledge and at least 6 months experience in the AWS Cloud in some sort of capacity.
I began poking around in AWS in mid-June, after committing to the exam with my then-manager. I started taking online courses, and while the one I was taking was very good, with dozens and dozens of different services (with at least half a dozen starting with “Cloud_____”), almost everything was going way over my head.
It took until I actually registered for the exam at the end of August for me to really buckle down and figure out how to study for it, because taking a course and taking notes just wasn’t cutting it. I had a whole notebook full of notes. But I didn’t have any of the concepts or services or billing information in retained.
And I had just 2 weeks until the exam. (Because I play life on danger level, obviously.)
How I Studied: By Teaching
The way I decided to study was a very “Me” way. By becoming a teacher.
I was looking for resources where concepts were broken down for people with absolutely no background in Cloud Computing or AWS could easily understand. I was looking for websites or books or flashcards that can provide me mnemonics or list of short descriptions of the few dozen core services that I needed to know for the certification exam.
I couldn’t find any. So there was clearly a need.
To study, I created what I wanted. In 1.5 weeks before my exam, I created AWS Newbies to serve as study guide and reference aide for “AWS Newbies” like myself, who have never touched Cloud Computing before. I wrote 35+ articles in a week and a half, and used my own notes to study for the exam. I don’t think I’ve ever written as many articles as I had last week!
Of course, it’s hosted on AWS! And I wrote a tutorial on how one can create a WordPress site on AWS EC2 in 30 minutes.
I also took a bunch of practice exams, same few over and over again, to get used to the question formats and the time limit.
Now, I’ve begun studying for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Exam. This is the “big ticket” exam that I initially wanted to pass, but my manager had convinced me to start out with the Cloud Practitioner exam. So the next few months will be spent studying for this exam, and learning more about AWS. And this time, I know from the beginning what works for me in terms of studying efficiently, so hopefully I won’t have to learn the whole entire length of the exam in 2 weeks!
Update: Intro to AWS for Newbies
It’s end of November, and I’m back to update with some cool news! I’ve received AMAZING feedback about AWS Newbies, and through it, a lot of companies and people have reached out with many opportunities I’d never even considered possible. I’ve gotten countless Technical Writing recruitment offers, and have begun the process of creating one of (a few) courses for LinkedIn Learning/Lynda.com after a content manager from LinkedIn reached out! Talk about just WOW!
Before I started on my first video course though, I created a project I’m very proud of: Intro to AWS for Newbies.
As you might guess from the title, it’s a beginner-friendly introduction to Cloud Computing and Amazon Web Services. Basically everything I wish I’d known when I was first trying to figure out what the heck AWS even was.
The Newsletter Course is a 1 week course, where you receive an e-mail a day walking you through everything from history of Cloud Computing and AWS to services in AWS to creating an account and securing it. It’s FREE, and chuck full of information to get you started.
The eBook is a 78 page comprehensive introduction, where we go over the same topics, but the information and resources are expanded. There are also printable resources to begin studying for the Certified Cloud Practitioner exam. I just implemented tiered pricing so it’s accessible to anyone, from professionals looking to learn AWS or students looking to transition into tech.