ADD + Procrastination + a Brain = AWS Cloud Practitioner Cert. How I did it.

Two words. Study. Hard. Not much more to share other than that. Nonetheless, I’ll provide some details about how I attained an AWS certification even though I’m in sales (IT Recruiting). Because unfortunately, blogs have to be a bit longer than 4 words.  

This past November, I took the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam and to my surprise, actually passed. It took me two attempts to attain the certification - and I was so proud of myself. For you it may not be a big deal, but you’ll have to understand a few things about me to comprehend why this was so impactful for me:

1) I’m a horrible test taker.

2) I’m horrible at memorization.

3) I’m the world’s best procrastinator with a hint of ADD sprinkled on top.

The AWS Cloud Practitioner certification is perhaps the least technical out of the associate-level AWS certifications but was nonetheless extremely difficult for me. While it doesn’t require hands-on utilization of specific AWS services like EC2, S3, or RDS, the exam focuses heavily on understanding the AWS service offerings, pricing models that can be provided with these AWS services, scenarios at which you would recommend said services, why these services are used and to what benefit they have to a potential or existing customer.

 
 

The first time I prepared for the exam, I downloaded an excess amount of practice tests and took them repeatedly until I memorized the answers. What I failed to do was actually understand the implications of different scenarios that would incorporate AWS services. So when I took the exam and the questions were worded entirely different than the practice tests, it threw me for a loop. The positive way to look at it was that I barely failed. ;)

A colleague of mine that I studied with ended up passing the exam, which irked me even more as I was very confident that I studied harder and was more prepared for the exam than he was. This is where being an excellent test taker is very beneficial. Don’t take any advice from me on that though because I still suck at test taking. So how did I work through that? See paragraph below:

My 2nd attempt was 4 months later. No, I did not study for 4 months until I was ready. I’m the world’s best procrastinator after all. I spent about 2 weeks running through Linux Academy’s AWS Cloud Practitioner test prep course before taking the exam. This time I actually listened to all of the lectures and practiced the tests until I passed all with at least a 99%. I thought I was ready for the exam; when I took it, I panicked internally. It seemed like 30% of the questions were similar to the test while the other 70-80 questions were completely different and somehow, I managed to pass though my score was not particularly impressive either.

So yes, I passed, and I’d recommend anyone in IT Recruiting or some sort of Cloud Sales/Account Management position to have at least one AWS certification under their belt. I’m regularly hiring for AWS-focused IT positions so for me, credibility is huge. Not only will obtaining an AWS certification boost your value as an employee but will also open yourself up to other opportunities that may require that certification. It may also give you a competitive edge against other candidates interviewing for a role you have an interest in. Some companies even provide salary increases to award such academic achievements and this is much more common for employees that are on a managed services or technical delivery team. Academic achievement in a particular field you work in is absolutely worth public recognition. Not to mention, if I can do it, then you can!

Cheers!

-Tony

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