AWS Associate Solutions Architect passed – review & study Tips

Recently I have been working on a couple of cloud projects with elements of AWS and multi-cloud  migration. 

With such a variety of services and pace of change  in the cloud space it is an obvious area for study for most architects and consultants / administrators. 

My personal approach is to look at each of the larger public cloud offerings and start studying the certifications while reading around the subject –  project by project.    This has given me a good base knowledge of the public cloud offerings overall, but as a certification collector I added the cloud certs to my evergrowing list. 

I noticed the AWS-CSA exam was updated and thought it was time to validate some of my work in this area especially with the VMware partnerships coming to EU.

This particular exam had a standard VCP / MCP / CCNA feel around it ,  but with real design type scenarios similar to that of the VMware VCAP-DCD logical design aspect.   

You really do have to think about how to solve a problem a business may have with the correct service in AWS rather than knowing specific configuration maximum  details of a service.

Overall, I found it a useful exam and enjoyable experience not only for AWS design, but for general design principles in public clouds and service approaches. 

I am currently reviewing the Google Cloud platform and having the AWS-CSA study really helped me compare and contrast the offerings.

For my study  my process is normally to download the blueprint,  and work through each of the objectives.    The AWS certification is slightly different in this regard.   It gives some overall reading materials and subjects such as “Design Resilient Architectures” and “Cost optimisation”.

The well architected framework (WAF)  is a primary text for the thought process.  I would recommend any one with some design experience read the AWS white papers on this topic, then go through each of the areas in the blueprint mapping each AWS service to the WAF domains (CORPS).

For the technical knowledge around the services,  I watched and listened to the meet ups and conference materials  around the  AWS services and finished with a read through each of the services FAQS.

Don’t forget hands on – for this  I grabbed a free tier account ,  and just played with the platform.  I think overall i paid around $10 for some of the paid services while studying.  Not bad for a home lab cost in the cloud.

There are a few services out there with specific labs, but I decided to play with simple 3 tier turnkey applications and try things such as 

  • DNS hosting 
  • Creating custom VPCs
  • Load balancing differences  
  • CLI access
  • S3 and storage  data migration / static hosting
  • Migrating an application to the services
  • EC2 – what can and cant be done.  What causes an outage etc 
  • Scaling EC2 
  • IAM  usage 
  • Fire walling
  • Pushing a simple site and application  using native AWS services

During the exam,  I found it was good to keep areas such as the AWS and customer responsibilities in mind,  and a design process to look at the requirements rather than trying to remember the services. 

After finishing the questions,  I reviewed each question, reciting CORPS 

Thankfully I passed and on to the next certification.

If you are studying for this certification   I have included some resources below I found useful, and a link to my personal mind map notes. 

My AWS Mind Maps

AWS Links I found Useful  Below 

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