Amazon Web Services (or AWS for short) is today’s most popular cloud platform provider, capturing approximately one-third of the market share. And according to ZipRecruiter, cloud solutions architect is one of the top ten cloud computing professions of 2023. So, if you want a secure, popular career, you should shoot for an AWS solutions architect. However, you must get certified before becoming an AWS solutions architect. That’s where this article comes in.
This article shows how to pass the AWS Solutions Architect exam, offering exam preparation strategies, quick AWS exam study tips and hints, and why getting AWS certified is essential. So, let’s dive into preparing for the AWS-certified solution architect exam. But before we get into exam prep, let’s examine the actual exam basics.
What is the AWS Solutions Architect Exam, Anyway?
There are two AWS architect exams: the AWS Solutions Architect Certification Associate exam and the AWS Solutions Architect Certification Professional exam. We’ll focus on the Associate exam since we want you to get in on the ground floor of this fantastic career. We could cover the Professional exam at some point in the future; give us some feedback and let us know if you’d like to see us cover it!
The AWS Solutions Architect Certification Associate exam lasts 130 minutes, ranging from 60-70 multiple-choice and multiple-response questions. There are no prerequisites, just a $150 registration fee. The exam is available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean. You must get a score of at least 72 percent to pass, which comes out to a score of 720 out of 1,000.
Incidentally, the AWS Solutions Architect Certification Professional exam takes three hours, consists of 75 multiple-choice and multiple-response questions, and requires you to answer 75 percent of the test questions to pass correctly.
Why are AWS Certifications Crucial for AWS Jobs?
Regardless of occupation or discipline, certifications, in general, are valuable resources because they show a potential employer solid verification that the candidate has the knowledge and skills needed to handle the position. This kind of tangible proof can be a difference-maker in a job interview.
Here are three other reasons why certification is smart:
- You will grow as a professional. If you seek AWS certification, you will enhance your skills and deepen your understanding and knowledge of AWS.
- You have a greater likelihood of getting better job opportunities and salaries. AWS-certified cloud practitioners are in high demand and, consequently, well-paid.
- You will add an extra element of professionalism to your team. If you become your organization’s go-to AWS expert, you can upskill your team and inspire them to get certified. This results in a highly trained, very effective AWS professional team. Everyone benefits.
Now let’s explore how to pass the AWS Solutions Architect certification exam.
Getting Into the Right Mindset for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associates Exam
Don’t get caught unawares; the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam is challenging. The questions are structured so that only someone with a proper understanding of AWS and hands-on experience can answer them correctly. The exam focuses on scenarios.
So, this is not an exam where you can just read a couple of prep articles, take a practice test, and go into the real thing expecting to pass. You need to adopt a multiple-pronged plan of attack and do some hardcore preparation, including practice exams and plenty of reading. If you have experience and a solid understanding of AWS, expect to spend two to four weeks in preparation. If you’re new to AWS, expect to spend two to three months preparing to pass.
Let’s get into specifics.
The Major Steps to Passing the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Exam
Here are the ten steps to ace the AWS Solutions Architect exam.
Get familiar with the certification page
This step must be taken first. After this, feel free to mix up the rest of the steps however you want. Visit the official certification page on the AWS website, get acquainted with what it offers, and check for any possible updates. You must go through this process with the most up-to-date information possible.
Understand the exam’s composition
The blueprint shows the exam’s structure and objectives, showing what’s covered. The exam is broken down into four domains:
- Domain One- Design Secure Architectures. This domain counts for 30% of the exam.
- Domain Two- Design Resilient Architectures. This domain counts for 26% of the exam.
- Domain Three- Design High-Performing Architectures. This domain counts for 24% of the exam.
- Domain Four- Design Cost-Optimized Architectures. This domain counts for 20% of the exam.
Read AWS-related books and manuals
As the old tagline goes, “Reading is fundamental.” But you need more than just reading AWS books; you should read the right ones. Here’s a sample of books you should read to prepare for the AWS Solutions Architect exam. The first one is a must.
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect Official Study Guide: Associate Exam First Edition, written by Joe Baron, Hisham Baz, Tim Bixler, Biff Gaut, Kevin E. Kelly, Sean Senior, and John Stamper
- AWS Administration Cookbook by Lucas Chan and Rowan Udell
- AWS For Admins for Dummies, First Edition by John Paul Mueller
- Amazon Web Services in Action, written by Andreas Wittig and Michael Wittig
Read AWS-related white papers
Your prep reading involves more than books. White papers are shorter reading resources that impart valuable information and insights. Here is a sample of the best white papers to check out.
- An Overview of Amazon Web Services
- Architecting for the Cloud: AWS Best Practices
- AWS Storage Services Overview
- AWS Well-Architected Framework
- AWS Security Best Practices
Watch some videos
Preparation isn’t all reading; you can watch stuff too! Check out relevant video lectures available online.
Check out online forum discussions and articles
Many technical blogs have AWS certification articles. Check out a sampling of articles, then visit online forums and participate in discussions. Forums are a great place to post questions and get clarifications on subject matter that you’ve discovered during your preparation.
Read the Frequently Asked Questions
Each AWS service has its own FAQ section. Go through them and gain a better understanding of each AWS service.
Check out the AWS sample questions
The official AWS website has a small sampling of questions that give you a good idea of what to expect when you take the AWS Solutions Architect exam.
Get some hands-on experience
There are labs available online, such as QwikLABS, that allow you to “learn by doing.” Many of these labs are available with online courses, so if you’re signing up for an AWS-related course, take full advantage of this perk. Also, if you’re shopping for AWS certification courses, double-check and make sure they offer these labs.
Practice makes perfect
Finally, yes, it’s time for some AWS practice exams. These practice questions and mock simulators replicate the certification exam’s actual pattern, dispelling uncertainty and giving you more confidence.
Now that we’ve covered the top ten major steps, let’s conclude with a sampling of quick hints and tips to stack the deck in your favor.
Quick Tips and Hints for Passing the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associates Exam
Do you want to pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associates Exam on the first try? Of course, you do! Here’s a list of quick, punchy tips to help you achieve that goal.
- Although the actual pass threshold can vary, plan on getting at least a 75 percent score
- Allocate 2-3 weeks of prep if you have experience with AWS and 4-6 weeks if you’re a newbie
- Ensure that all your prep materials contain the latest current, up-to-date information
- Practice answering questions quickly by tackling as many practice exam questions as possible
- If you haven’t already, sign up for the AWS free tier and get some experience working with it
- Download the AWS official study guide and get familiar with each concept
- Take lots of notes, and keep them organized and easily accessible.
- The AWS exam often asks questions regarding three-tier architectures such as EC2, VPC, and databases. So, take some time to study how to use multi-AZ, subnets, security groups, NACL, ELB, auto-scaling, etc., to design highly available, secure, and fault-tolerant systems.
How to Boost Your Cloud Skills
This article boils down to a salient point: the more you know, the better your chances of acing the exam on the first try. Whether you’re an experienced AWS user or are just getting started, this cloud computing course has what you need to boost your AWS cloud computing skill set. This course will help you master cloud architecture principles such as AWS and Azure, and you will learn to design, plan, and scale advanced cloud implementations.
The course takes 24 weeks, and features live virtual classes, integrated labs, and hands-on projects that will help you pass the AWS Solutions Architect exam.
According to the Glassdoor.com job site, an AWS Solutions Architect working in the United States can earn an annual average of $177,778, possibly as high as $286K.
So if you’re ready to meet the challenge of AWS architecture head-on, sign up for this course and take your cloud computing skills to the next level while increasing your value in today’s fast-paced and competitive IT job market.