Certifications are important in the IT world. They are validation that you’ve put in the time to learn new skills. I want to share my certification experiences and what I did to achieve them.
I was a complete “newb” to cloud computing and didn’t have any experience. The company was moving toward the cloud and I knew I had to jump on board or get left behind. That was motivation in itself and I quickly sought out any training I could get my hands on. I remember sitting through the Cloud Guru course where the instructor spun up a Wordpress site in the Austrailia region. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world and I tried it myself. I was obsessed from that point on and continued to learn what all the other services did.
For each certification, I used A Cloud Guru and Linux Academy for cert specific courses. I also watched a ton of re:Invent sessions on YouTube along with reading whitepapers and forums. Jayendra’s Blog was also critical to my sucess.
I didn’t tell anyone at the company that I was studying for the CSA-A exam because I would have been embarrassed to tell them I failed. But I studied like no other and passed the exam! Passing the exam was like my ticket through the gates. It opened the door to allow me to be on more cloud projects which gave me the experience to continue on my certificaiton path.
I come from an Ops background so I assumed the SysOps certification was next in my path. It was a little more difficult than I expected because it dove into autoscaling and ELB’s which at the time, I didn’t have a whole lot of experience in. However, I was able to overcome and finding the difference between what solution was “highly available” and what solution was “cost-effective” was key.
I breezed through this certification. There wasn’t any depth to the questions and using process of elimination, I was easily able to single out the correct answer. I think I finished the exam in about 15 minutes and didn’t break a sweat. Even the DynamoDB questions were pretty simple.
By far the toughest exam I’ve ever taken but also a big accomplishment for me. I was very proud to earn this certification and level up into the “Professional” ranks. The accumulation of all three associate level certification definitely helped because they each dive into different services. Not only were the questions long and difficult, my testing terminal froze halfway through my exam. Luckily, they testing folks were able to refresh it and I didn’t have to start over but the added stress didn’t help. The exam is truly a race against time.
My next goal is to achieve the DevOps Professional certification. Hopefully, before re:Invent this year!