AWS Certification Prep Tips

AWS Certification Prep Tips

Hello everyone, Barbora here!

In 2022, I enrolled in the She Builds program here in Auckland, New Zealand. At that time, I was a stay-at-home mom with two little kids, no tech background, and searching for a new challenge on my career path. The She Builds program changed my life. In four weeks, I became an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. A year later, I became an AWS Solutions Architect Certified, and in 2024, I graduated as a Software Developer! Since then, AWS has become my favourite brand. Here is how I tackled my certification exams.

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

(CLF-CO2) Exam

Who should take this exam, and why?

This exam is an excellent starting point for anyone looking to use AWS services, especially those with minimal or no prior experience. In today’s environment, there are high expectations for Junior Developers and cloud knowledge is often seen as an advantage. Obtaining certifications can help you stand out from other candidates.

How long does the preparation take?

I prepared for this exam with four weeks of intensive learning. I didn’t have any AWS or tech experience before. This time frame might be a bit tight for newbies, so take your time. However, schedule a due date if you want to take this commitment seriously. Mark in your calendar when you want to finish your learning, or even better, the day you want to take your exam. I decided I wanted to take the exam in four weeks, so I set up my learning plan and booked the exam (yes, I like to be a little bit under pressure 😅).
Time management

From which resources did I learn?

There are many approaches to preparing for the exam. One of the most important things is to choose your learning path and stick to it. There are so many resources and people who can give you plenty of advice that you might start to feel nervous in the middle of your learning journey, wondering if you are following the best approach. So, stick to your chosen approach and do not jump from one resource to another. Also, consider finding a study buddy, this can make a big positive difference in your learning journey.

I started with official AWS study materials – some of them are free, and some of them are open with a subscription.
I used these two free resources:

The other part of my learning involved using the Tutorial Dojo Tests, which I purchased on Udemy. There are six tests in the package. Once you finish a test, you can go through each question with detailed explanations about why the correct answer is right and why the others are not. I learned the most from this process. After going through the explanations for every question from the first test, I applied the same approach to the rest of them. My pace was two tests per week.

Tutorial Dojo

Whenever an AWS service was mentioned in a test, I went to the console to explore it further. This hands-on practice helped me understand the services better. I believe this part is crucial for future success—while the certificate looks great on LinkedIn, what really matters are the actual skills and knowledge.

I started with a 42% success rate on the first test 😬. By the time I finished the last one, I had reached 82%, showing significant improvement.

It’s important not to try to memorize the questions and answers, as the official exam questions are similar but not identical. AWS tests are designed to ensure a genuine understanding of the concepts.

AWS Console

👩‍💻 Exam Day

You have the option to choose between taking the exam from home or at a testing centre. If you decide to take it from home, you need to ensure your internet connection is stable, there are no interruptions, and you’ll have to show your surroundings to the supervisor by moving your computer around the room. Personally, I opted to take the exam at a testing centre for convenience and peace of mind. I received my result in 42 hours.

How much does the exam cost?

As of June 30, 2024, the exam costs $100 USD. Sometimes AWS offers discounts for Cloud Practitioner exams, especially when you participate in programs like SheBuilds or similar. Last year, there was an opportunity to retake the exam for free, but I’m uncertain if this option is still available. If you need to retake your exam, before purchasing another voucher, consider researching this option through Google or asking in the AWS community or on LinkedIn.

There is a chance that you may not pass the exam. It can be disappointing, I know. Once you receive the results, you’ll see the areas where you weren’t successful. This will guide you on what to focus on when reviewing. If this happens, don’t give up. I know many fantastic people who didn’t pass on their first try but succeeded on their second attempt.

Recap

  • Build a learning plan and set a deadline
  • Stick to your learning path
  • Find your exam buddy – this can really help!
  • Do not memorize questions and answers
  • Hands-on practice in AWS Console
  • Share your Certificate Badge!!

Conclusion

Remember, certification exams can be challenging, but they are also opportunities for growth. Whether you pass on your first attempt or not, each step in your learning journey matters. Stay focused, utilize the resources available to you, and don’t hesitate to reach out to the vibrant AWS community for support and guidance.

Best of luck on your certification journey! Embrace the challenge, celebrate your progress, and keep striving for your goals in cloud computing and beyond!!

Cloud Practitioner Badge

Resources List

Other good quality resources for consideration which I didn’t use but my friends did!

People and Pages to Follow

AWS Meetups in Auckland


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