How I went from 0 to 2 AWS certifications in 30 days

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freeCodeCamp started the #AWSCertified challenge at the beginning of this year. You can become AWS certified with totally free courses provided graciously by Andrew Brown at ExamPro.

Yes, you did read right. Free courses…

In this post, I’ll explain my #AWSCertified journey.

Ready? Let’s get started.

My background before taking AWS certifications

I used to be a technology consultant using mainly SAP, an ERP software, with an interest in architecture and a good understanding of programming.

In 2018, I decided to quit my job to create my startup. I wanted to create a web app to help foreigners to settle in France. During the development of my app, I used intensively the framework AWS Amplify. It helped me to focus on my code and abstract the complexity of AWS. I must admit at this time that I didn’t understand what was going on with the framework behind the scene…

In January 2020, I read a post written by Quincy Larson at freeCodeCamp mentioning the #AWSCertified challenge. Also, during this time I was closing my startup and I needed a new start to move on. That’s why I decided to take this challenge!

My study plan

I decided to follow the AWS Certified Solutions Architect path because my objective was also to find a job as a Technical Architect.

This path is composed of three certifications:

  1. AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
  2. AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate
  3. AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional

My preparation for the exam was intensive.

Each day I watched 2 or 3 sections of the course. I took notes to stay active during my listening. I improved my understanding with the “follow along” sections and also experimented a lot by myself thanks to the AWS Free Tier.

It was not easy every day to keep up this pace. Especially with the nice weather coming back! I guess the quarantine made me focus more easily…

Overall, I spent between 4 and 5 hours by day preparing the exam. It took me:

  • 10 days to prepare the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (50 hours)
  • 20 days to prepare the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate (100 hours)

One rule of the #AWSCertified Challenge is to tweet about your progress and what you’ve learned or done.

Before starting this challenge, I must admit I never tweeted anything. Because I wanted to play by the rules, I almost did it every day to share my progress.

It makes me realize I was not alone to follow this challenge and having support messages or even simple “like” was enough to help me stay motivated.

Join the #AWSCertified Discord room

At the end of my preparation when I felt almost ready, I booked my exam. Few things to have in mind. The exam is not cheap. It costs:

  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, $100
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate, $150

Three days before the exam, I trained with practice exams I found on the Internet. My goal here was to have a grasp of the exam conditions:

  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, 65 questions | 90 minutes
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate, 65 questions | 130 minutes

When I encountered difficulties during the practice exam, I reviewed the corresponding sections to have not doubts during the official exam.

On the exam day, I didn’t open any material before. I did some meditation to keep my energy and relax.

About the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

I think this exam is not mandatory. Especially, if you plan to schedule it from home.

However, It’s worth mentioning you got two vouchers after passing the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam:

  • 50% discount on your next exam
  • AWS Free Practice Exam Voucher

My AWS Certification Benefits

Make the most of your quarantine period

I have now two AWS certifications and I would like to thank again Andrew Brown and Quincy Larson for their amazing work for the community.

This journey was not easy but worth it. I have no regrets at all and if you still hesitate to follow this challenge feel free to contact me on Twitter!

Stay Home, Save Lives, and Pass your AWS exam!

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