The AWS Solutions Architect exam is one of the most popular and sought after exams offered by the AWS. The reason behind this is that AWS Certified Solutions Architects are one of the highest paid individuals in the IT industry.
Now, for an exam that is so popular and tough, selecting the correct roadmap is very essential. There are so many articles available on the internet regarding the exam and its preparation. To get through all the content will take a lot of time and effort. So, to help you, we have created this guide that will help you get through all the important content required for passing the AWS Solutions Architect exam. We will be discussing exam information, guide for preparation, topics related to exam, mock tests and practice questions. Let’s start with discussing the role of the AWS Certified Solutions Architect.
What is the Role of a Solutions Architect?
A Solutions Architect is an IT professional with a deep understanding and technical expertise of principles of cloud architecture. These principles are used to design and deploy reliable, scalable and robust business solutions on the AWS platform. The AWS Solutions Architect certifications allow learning, recognizing, validating and demonstrating your skills and expertise to architect and deploy secure and robust applications on the AWS platform. There are two certifications available for Solutions Architect by the AWS:
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional
AWS Solutions Architect Exam
In February 2018, a new version of the AWS Solutions Architect exam was launched where a few changes were made to the exam structure as well as exam blueprint. This exam is for candidates who are currently working as a Solutions Architect. All the candidates appearing for the exam must have the ability to:
- Define a solution using the architectural design principles on the basis of the requirements of the customer.
- Provide guidance to the enterprise regarding the implementation of the best practices during the complete lifecycle of the project.
If you wish to take this exam, it is essential to read the AWS SAA-C01 Exam guide. This will help you understand the objectives of the exam and get all the required information on the same. There are no prerequisites for the exam. It will be in the format of multiple choice and multiple answer questions. The exam is 130 minutes long. The registration fee for this exam is $150. Currently, the exam is available in English, Japanese, Korean and Simplified Chinese. You will have to renew the certification by taking the exam every 3 years.
What are the Domains covered by the Exam:
Here are the different domains of the exam and their weightage in the examination:
- Defining operationally excellent architecture - 6%
- Designing architectures that are cost-optimized - 10%
- Designing performant architectures - 24%
- Specifying secure applications and architectures - 26%
- Designing resilient architectures - 34%
How to Prepare for the AWS Solutions Architect Exam:
Now, depending on whether you are a beginner with no knowledge of the AWS platform or a professional who is currently using AWS services, you need to have different preparation plans. To ace the AWS Solutions Architect exam, you need to find the correct exam path for you and follow that with focus and dedication. With the right preparation guide, you will be able to pass the exam in your first attempt.
Recommended books for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Exam
The best resource for preparing for any certification exam is through books. It is definitely your best companion as it isn’t dependent on an internet connection or anything else. There are several books that can help you prepare for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect exam. The most recommended official book for preparing for the exam is the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Official Study Guide. Here are the books that can aid your preparation:
1. AWS Certified Solutions Architect Official Study Guide
AWS has been leading the cloud computing industry for quite some time. This book will help you expand and validate your skills by preparing you to ace the Solutions Architect exam. It contains expert content, key exam essentials, real-world knowledge, chapter review questions, etc. Also, you will have access to Sybex’s interactive online learning environment.
2. Amazon Web Services in Action
Written by Andreas Wittig and Michael Wittig, this book will provide an introduction to storing, computing and networking in the AWS cloud. You will be learning about the best services and practices regarding high availability, scalability, and security. You will begin with an overview of AWS and cloud computing and gradually move on to spinning up servers from and command line and manually. It also teaches you to programmatically call the AWS API for automating the infrastructure and controlling every part of AWS.
3. Learning AWS - Design, Build, and Deploy Responsive Applications using AWS Cloud Components
Authored by Amit Shah and Aurobindo Sarkar, it is written for programmers and architects who want to learn AWS. You must have previous experience in cloud and programming concepts. This book will help you in building scalable and highly-available, real-time applications on the AWS platform. After reading it, you will be able to build cost-effective applications by making architectural decisions. It will allow you to learn implementation of functional and non-functional requirements. There are exercises that will provide you with hands-on experience working with service-based applications.
4. Amazon Web Services for Dummies
This is a user-friendly guide written by Bernard Golden for people who want to use the cloud platform to create dynamic applications. It helps you to start learning AWS from basic and gives the perfect introduction to the AWS platform. These books will provide you with knowledge of the AWS toolset, implementation of AWS, and the different Amazon services and glacier. A thorough reading of the book will help you learn how to use AWS for storage, deploying push notifications, sending emails, taking payments, managing big data and much more.
5. AWS Basics: Beginners Guide
This book by Gordon Wong explores the concepts of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. It is the best guide for people wanting to learn EC2. You will learn how to create an AWS account for learning and working on EC2. Since all the AWS accounts belong to some security group, you will learn how to create a security group. There is a separate chapter on MongoDB and how it is used as DaaS. In this, you will learn how to install and implement it in the EC2 instance.
For exam preparation, books might not be enough. To tackle this, AWS has recommended a list of white papers. You can find this list in the AWS CSAA exam guide. They are helpful resources that can help you prepare better for the exam. They will expand your technical understanding. All these whitepapers are written by the AWS team, AWS partners, and Independent analysts. For this exam, you need to focus on the Well-Architected Framework. It helps in building secure, resilient, high-performing and efficient infrastructure. Here are the whitepapers you need to study for this exam.
- Framework - This provides you with an introduction to the Well-Architected Framework of AWS. Covering the basic concepts and the architectural design principles of the cloud, this whitepaper will help you prepare for the AWS Solutions Architect exam.
- Operational Excellence - It focuses on running and monitoring systems for delivering business value and improving the procedures and processes involved. It covers topics like responding to events, automating and managing changes, and defining standards for successfully managing daily operations. Check out the operational Excellence whitepaper here.
- Security - The prime focus of this Security whitepaper is protecting systems and information. With this whitepaper, you will have an understanding of identification and management of privilege, establishing controls for detecting security events, protecting systems, and maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of data.
- Reliability - This reliability whitepaper will help you learn to prevent and quickly recovering from failures for meeting the demand of the business and customers. The key topics included in the whitepaper are cross project requirements, handling changes, foundational elements around setup, and recovery planning.
- Performance Efficiency - This whitepaper will help you in using your computing and IT resources efficiently. The main topics covered in this paper are choosing the right type and size of the resources based on the requirements of the workload, making an informed decision for maintaining the efficiency as the business evolves, and monitoring performance. Download the Performance Efficiencywhitepaper.
- Cost-optimization - This whitepaper will help you learn how to avoid unnecessary costs. You will get a thorough understanding of where the money is spent, analyzing spend over time, selecting the right number and the most appropriate resources, and scaling for meeting the needs of the business. Check out the Cost-Optimization whitepaper.
- Serverless Application - This Serverless Application whitepaper will help you learn how to use the AWS cloud for designing, deploying, and architecting the serverless application. Topics covered in this whitepaper include stream processing, web application, mobile back-ends, and RESTful Microservices. Using this Well-Architected lens, you will be able to build serverless application workloads on AWS.
- High Performance Computing (HPC) - This whitepaper introduces you to the HPC lens used for designing, deploying, and architecting high performance workloads on the AWS platform. You will be learning about Tightly Coupled/High Performance Computing and Loosely Coupled/ High Throughput Computing. Check HPC whitepaper.
- IoT (Internet of Things) - The focus of this whitepaper is on designing, deploying, and architecting IoT workloads on the AWS platform. The topics covered in this whitepaper are device commands, device provisioning, firmware updates, and device telemetry. You can download IoT Whitepaper here.
Why to take AWS Practice Test:
Once you have covered all the books and whitepapers, it is time to check the level of your preparation using practice tests. This will also give you an exam-like experience and act as the final step of your preparation. The format of the AWS practice test is the same as the real exam. Also, acing the mock test will help you get confident. There are several online mock test providers. You can try the free tests as they will help in determining the level of the full-length practice tests. If you are willing to pay for the practice tests, be very sure about the vendor you are choosing. For the AWS Certified Solutions Architect exam, AWS offers 10 free sample questions. You will have to pay $20 for 20 practice questions. Before you take the exam, it is recommended that you practice with as many questions as possible.
There are a number of certifications offered by AWS depending on the job roles. Not only will they aid in validating your knowledge and technical skills but also grab a high salary. They increase the credibility for a position. There are 11 AWS certifications that are currently available. To ace these exams, you need to get the right knowledge and prepare well. You can even take the professional or a specialty level certification directly.
When you are applying for a job, an AWS certification will be invaluable. All you need to do is get the certification and crack the interview to start your journey towards a successful career as an AWS Solutions Architect. So, if you want to have a bright and successful future in AWS architecting, you need to validate your skills by acing the AWS Solutions Architect exam.
If you are new to AWS, don’t have much knowledge regarding the platform, and want to build your career as an AWS Solutions Architect, this certification exam is the perfect start for you. You can try the courses available on the AWS website. With all the books and whitepapers mentioned above, you will be able to start preparing for the AWS Solutions Architect exam from scratch. Once you have given the exam and aced it, you can start preparing for your interview for the position of the AWS Solutions Architect.
In this article, we have prepared a study guide for you that will help you ace the AWS Solutions Architect exam. Get yourself enrolled in the AWS Certification: Solutions Architect Certification course by KnowledgeHut for the best preparation.