May 17, 2023

  • 7 minutes

Preparing for AWS Certification: Tips from a Solution Architect

As AWS continues to dominate the cloud computing market, obtaining AWS certification has become a valuable asset for IT professionals. However, preparing for the exam can be a daunting task. To help us navigate the certification process, we sat down with Solution Architect Vladimir Semashkin to discuss his tips and recommendations.

UpTeam: What are the best resources for preparing for the AWS certification exams?

Vladimir: I use Udemy and Cloud Guru frequently, and I recommend Cloud Guru for SAA, SAP, and Network exams. I have two reasons for this recommendation.

Firstly, they provide a sandbox environment which allows you to use their AWS account and experiment with certain services. Additionally, they offer labs that provide practical experience, which is crucial for passing the exam.

Secondly, their explanations start from a computer science perspective, covering topics such as how algorithms work and network basics. With a fundamental understanding of IT systems, you can easily answer questions correctly during the exam.

As for Udemy, I highly recommend Stephane Maarec's course, as he provides a lot of interesting facts and information and Adrian Cantrill's course provides fundamental knowledge and is recommended for those who want to dive deeper.

Another excellent resource is Whizlabs, which offers video courses, tests, and a large number of labs for training purposes.

I recommend using at least two of these resources to prepare.

UpTeam: How much effort is required to prepare for the exam?

Vladimir: If you want to feel more confident during the exam, I suggest spending some extra time preparing.

💡 REMEMBER that the exam time is limited:

For non-native english speakers: AWS Associate 160 min, AWS Professional 210 min

For native speakers: AWS Associate 130 min, AWS Professional 180 min

💡 Make sure to plan ahead and read the questions carefully

Question example:

3) A team is building an HTML form that is hosted in a public Amazon S3 bucket. The form uses JavaScript to post data to an Amazon API Gateway API endpoint. The API endpoint is integrated with AWS Lambda functions. The team has tested each method in the API Gateway console and has received valid responses.

Which combination of steps must the team complete so that the form can successfully post the API endpoint and receive a valid response? (Select TWO)

A) Configure the S3 bucket to allow cross-origin resource sharing (CORS).

B) Host the form on Amazon EC2 rather than on Amazon S3.

C) Request a quota increase for API Gateway.

D) Enable cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) is API Gateway.

E) Configure the S3 bucket for web-hosting.

UpTeam: What are some common pitfalls to avoid when preparing for the exam?

Vladimir: I have some dos and don'ts I feel could be useful.


  • Learn questions or theory by heart

Simply memorizing questions or theory won't help you pass the exam. The AWS certification exams are designed to test your understanding of the concepts, and simply memorizing answers won't demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of the material.

  • Ignore computer science theory

Simply ignoring computer science theory can be a pitfall when preparing for the AWS certification exams. A fundamental understanding of computer science concepts, such as how algorithms work and network basics, is crucial for answering questions correctly during the exam. Without this understanding, it may be difficult to properly interpret the questions and select the best answer. In addition, some of the questions on the exam may involve scenarios that require a deeper understanding of computer science theory to properly solve. Therefore, it's important to not dismiss computer science theory when preparing for the AWS certification exams.

  • Get into deep depression if the exam failed

If you do fail the exam, take some time to reflect on what went wrong and how you can improve for the next time you take it. Remember that the certification process is a journey, and it's important to not get discouraged if you encounter setbacks along the way.


  • Understand the business case

It's not enough to simply know the technical details of AWS services; you also need to understand how they fit into the larger business context. This means understanding the specific use cases for AWS services and how they can help solve common business problems.

  • Train identification of requirements

Once you understand the requirements, you can then design a solution that meets those requirements using AWS services. This requires a deep understanding of the various AWS services and how they can be used to solve specific problems.

  • Understand what a service was designed for (e.g. Lambda for quick-executed tasks).

Understanding the specific use cases for each AWS service will help you select the appropriate service for your needs and ensure that you are using the service effectively.

  • Learn computer science theory. Such things like sorting/searching, CAP theorem, strong/eventual consistency, encrypted vs desiccated.

Having a strong grasp of these concepts will enable you to properly interpret the questions and select the best answer.

  • Right after the exam, remember as many questions as possible to work out gaps.

This will help you to identify any gaps in your knowledge and better prepare for future attempts. It is also a good idea to jot down any notes or observations about the questions you remember, such as areas where you felt particularly strong or weak. This information can be used to guide your studying for future exams and help you focus on areas where you need the most improvement.

UpTeam: What are some AWS services that you need to know no matter what exam you pass?

Vladimir: These are services that I think you need to know no matter what AWS exam you pass:

  1. VPC
  2. IAM
  3. EC2
  4. Storage
  5. Databases (relational and key-value)

💡 REMEMBER: the exam is also a way to advertise AWS services and provide you with a point to advocate choices FOR AWS Managed Services. Therefore, learn KEY managed services in depth.

We hope these tips from Vladimir Semashkin will help you in your AWS certification journey. Good luck with your exam!

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