AWS Solutions Architect Associate Study Update # 1

Well I’m a week into my study for the AWS Solutions Architect Associate certification. My exam is scheduled for January 31st and I’m not taking it with Pearson VUE. If you’ve done any certification exams for Cisco you’re already familiar with Pearson VUE, so I thought I’d take the alternative option, PSI, for this experience. If you end up going after AWS certifications you can schedule either exam by following the link I’ve shared above and selecting the provider at that time.

I’ve found there are several approaches one can take to prepare for the SAA-C01 exam. Here is my approach.

  1. Online learning using material offered by Adrian Cantrill. You’ll find it at For a hundred bucks you can get both the associate and professional course material. I opted for both since I’ll go after the professional after this one.
  2. AWS offered content. This includes the 2-hour training: Exam Readiness: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (Digital), reviewing the exam guide and sample questions, and the AWS Well-Architected Framework document.
  3. Hands-on prep using my AWS account.

So far I am about 20% into the Cantrill course and I’m happy so far. I confess that I did skim the sections on the OSI model, subnetting, and NAT, but if you’re new to this type of technical material it seems to be the right level to get you where you need to be.

Update 1 Study Takeaway

Let me preface this by saying that I am not far into the training yet, however one thing is very apparent to me; You need to know IAM. When you start out with your AWS account you are logged in using what’s known as the root account. YOU DON’T WANT TO USE THIS ACCOUNT ON A REGULAR BASIS. The first thing that most of the training has covered is how to create an IAM user with admin rights and then log in using the IAM user rather than the root account. The root account credentials should be hidden away as they will allow FULL CONTROL over your AWS account. Note the first bullet point here in the Security best practices in IAM document. I suspect that as I continue my journey through the professional level and the security specialization I’ll be getting very familiar with IAM and IAM policies and using them to control access to the AWS resources I am working with. I’ll certainly keep you posted.

Well, that’s it for now!

Happy Labbing!

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