A few weeks ago I passed the exam for AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. This is the entry level AWS cert and the most straightforward to achieve, but that is not to say that you can pass it without prep. I’ve written this blogpost in the hope of providing some guidance to those of you wanting to prepare for this exam in a time-effective way.
When trying to study for this certification, my first port of call was the official video training on the AWS site. However, I quickly found that this style of the official training is somewhere between training and sales, which is a little frustrating. Also, the way that the presenter (and presentation style) frequently shifts around suggests that the course has been knitted together from a few separate training courses. After watching a few modules, I was finding it difficult to absorb the information and, as someone with prior exposure to just a handful of AWS services, was struggling to form a cohesive picture of how the myriad services in the AWS universe work together. Therefore I would suggest skipping the official training videos altogether.
After a bit of Googling, I came across FreeCodeCamp’s AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Training course on YouTube. I’m very glad I found this video as it is a fantastic resource. The trainer (Andrew Brown of ExamPro) is clear and concise. I’d recommend doing the follow-along practice tasks as they will help to consolidate the knowledge.
AWS recommend reading the following whitepapers you should read in order to cover the material in the CCP exam. If you’re *really* short on time, I would prioritise Architecting for the Cloud, but you’d be better prepared if you take the time to read through all of them.
- Overview of Amazon Web Services — Prioritise knowing all the services under Compute, Developer Tools, Management and Governance, Migration and Storage.
- Architecting for the Cloud
- How AWS Pricing works
- Compare Support Plans (technically not really a whitepaper)
I didn’t really want to pay for practice exams, so I did the free practice exam on Go Certify. The style of this exam is a bit different to the actual exam, and there are some questions where the answers are actually wrong (check the comments if you’re like… huh?) but did help to highlight some of my weaker area. I did read some positive things about the exams on A Cloud Guru, but I didn’t try those in the end.
- Acronyms. There are a number of questions which give you a business scenario and ask which AWS service would be appropriate to use in this scenario. However, sometimes giving the full name of the AWS Service would give away the answer, so the options instead give you the acronym. Do you know your EC2 from your ECR?
- Pricing and billing. There were more questions on this than I was expecting. The ‘How AWS Pricing Works’ whitepaper linked above will help here. Make sure you know the difference between AWS Cost Explorer and AWS Total Cost of Ownership Calculator — they are not the same.
- AWS Shared Responsibility Model. Again, there were more questions on this than I was expecting, and during the exam I regretted not devoting more time to brushing up on this. Make sure you understand how the distribution of responsibility varies between Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) AWS products.
- AWS Well-Architected Framework. Have a read through Well-Architected Framework whitepaper, if you’re running out of time, at least make sure you know the five pillars.