Having sat and passed all the AWS Associate certification exams and working with AWS technologies for over a year now, I thought it was about time I gave the professional level exams a go. Not only does this give you additional credentials that look great on your résumé, it's a great way to learn a lot more about services you may have never used before in your day-to-day job.
I passed the Professional Solution Architect Certification exam yesterday and haven't seen many blog posts or study guides regarding it (one is coming at https://acloud.guru/ soon!), so I thought I'd write a bit of a guide for those of you who may want to attempt it.
My thoughts about the exam are as follows:
- If you are doing this for the first time it will be very long and exhausting. My second attempt seemed to go a lot quicker.
- It's a massive coverage of almost every service AWS has, I don't feel I had a lot of any particular kind of technology in my exam, it was so wide open to what you may get asked.
- It was actually a good exam and if you pass this I believe you deserve the credentials. The first time I failed I was so close (61%) and was so disheartened I failed by 2-3 questions, but you really can't bluff your way through it
The format of the exam is 80 mostly scenario based questions in 170 minutes. There's a lot of reading, both questions and answers. You can read the full breakdown at AWS here https://aws.amazon.com/certification/certified-solutions-architect-professional/
That said, these are the services that you should research.
- AWS Key Management Service
- AWS Import/Export
- AWS Security Token Service
- Data Pipeline
- Direct Connect
- Elastic Beanstalk
- Elastic Transcoder
- Route 53
- Storage Gateway
...so basically, everything.
At minimum, you should read the FAQ for everyone of of these services. I suggest taking notes to summarise each one.
Other things you should research:
- Learn as much as possible about CloudFront. Make sure you are clear as to whether or not it can have dynamic content hosted on it.
- Learn about how cross-account roles work
- Learn how to mitigate DDOS attacks
- Learn the best practices for IDS and IPS
- Learn what Mobile Push is
- Learn how many IP addresses AWS reserves when dealing with subnets
- Learn all the different instance types for EC2 (seriously).
- Learn what a WAF sandwich is
- Learn about vSphere connector for AWS
- Learn how and where you can use Import/Export
- Learn about NAT bandwidth bottlenecks
- Learn about MFA and MFA delete
- Learn about single sign on with Active Directory (you need to know each of the steps).
- Learn the difference between RTO and RPO, and what services to use for the time frame provided
My recommended reading list (this is not all you should study, but probably a minimum):