Introduction – A Little bit of Context
After days of dilemma and exam fear, I decided to sit for AWS Certification exams and chose AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C01) exam to write first – and passed in my first attempt (Phew! 😌).
In this article, I wanted to write down why I chose Cloud Practitioner, how I prepared for it and why you may want to take this exam first.
If you’re looking to sit for AWS Certifications (like me), then I honestly believe this article could be useful to you.
What is AWS Cloud?
AWS or Amazon Web Services is one of the most popular and most used Cloud services in the market right now. It offers many cloud related services like Virtual Machines, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Serverless Computing solutions and so on. As of today, there are over 350 cloud services that are offered under the AWS Cloud suite.
What are AWS Cloud Certifications? Are they useful?
AWS offers Cloud Certifications for professionals who want to have a better understanding of the cloud services and make a career in the cloud development / architecture space. Since these are offered by AWS themselves, it is a great way of self-assessing your knowledge on the platform and be recognized.
Passing these Certifications may add some weight to your resumes and provide you with some great opportunities in your career.
AWS Cloud Certifications come in three levels – Fundamental, Associate and Professional. Depending on what role you’re aiming for, there are different Certifications available – such as Developer Associate (DVA-01) for developers, Solutions Architect Associate for architect / design roles and so on.
The one I’ve written is called AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C01) is a Fundamental certification 😅 and there’s a reason why I gave this one first.
Why should I write AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C01)?
When I told people that I’m giving this certification, I got responses like “It’s a simple exam”, “It’s not useful” or “You’re wasting your time”. Personally, I felt that there’s a reason this exam exists in the first place. According to AWS –
“This credential helps organizations identify and develop talent with critical knowledge related to implementing cloud initiatives. Earning AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner validates cloud fluency and foundational AWS knowledge.”– https://aws.amazon.com/certification/certified-cloud-practitioner/
Other than this – I feel these are my key takeaways after writing this exam.
- I got to know about all the services available in AWS at a fundamental level – They’re more than 350 services in total (and growing), and I got to know most of them at a basic level – like when to use them and what for they exist.
I myself have a prior development experience in AWS, but still I can only skim through a couple of services that are required for my scenarios. If someone comes and asks me what a Snowcone is, or what does Neptune do – I’ll have to go through them first. Giving this exam gave me a little idea of what service first what.
I know you may say that even other levels of exams do that, but they dive a little deeper into those concepts, which for a newbie like me would put me off completely to the exam itself. Makes sense right?
- I got a confidence boost for the next levels – Like I mentioned before, I had prior experience with AWS services and all. Then the obvious suggestion would be to skip this fundamental exam and aim for Associate levels. I can do that, but I felt I’m not that ready for it.
Having practical exposure doesn’t mean you can write and pass a theory exam at ease – may be people can, but I felt I couldn’t.
This fundamental exam isn’t that easy, but isn’t that tough either. The level is just right and once you pass this exam – you’ll get that much needed confidence boost for next levels!
- Free perks! (Badge, discount on next Certifications and so on.) – Once you pass your exam, you’d receive a pretty badge from credly, a discount voucher for any of your next exams, a nice Certificate showing that you are now officially certified. How exciting is that? Waku Waku! 🤩
Okay enough with trying to convince you on why I sat for this exam at all, let me now share with you how I prepared for mine.
How did I prepare for AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C01) Exam?
So I finally decided to sit for this exam first, and once I pass this move on to my actual goal of Developer Associate (DVA-01).
Choosing the best course to prepare
The first step for any certification is finding a good resource. Fortunately, we have a ton load of great resources for this Certifications in Youtube itself so you don’t need to spend a dime for the syllabus.
I Personally recommend this Youtube video from freeCodeCamp which explains all the concepts in the syllabus at the right level for the exam. It is around 13-14 hours long, so make sure you take enough breaks in between.
Choosing the best practice papers
While the course I mentioned before helps you skim through the exam syllabus with ease, that doesn’t mean you’re all set. The next step is to find some good practice papers for you to solve and self-assess. This is very important, considering that the exam isn’t that easy.
For this I had to look up on the internet for options and I found this Udemy practice papers set from Mozdora Education, which I found very helpful.
They’re a total of six papers with the model set exactly as the original exam. Once you’re done with one test, you’ll be shown a detailed report on where you should improve.
I wrote all the six papers with the same mindset that I’m giving my actual exam and made sure that I passed all of them with more than 80% each. This is very important, unless you pass your practice tests with high scores – you can’t build confidence to pass your actual exam.
And finally, remember one thing – we’re here to pass the exam, which is around 70-73% cutoff so I aimed for 80% to be on the safe side.
Registering for the Exam
Finally once I’m ready for the exam, I followed the steps mentioned in the AWS Exam guide and chose Virtual Exam via Pearson Vue. That way, I can save up my time on the transit and instead use that to mentally prepare myself for the exam.
On the Day of the Exam
Nothing to say here – It’s like all other exams, just keep these things in mind!
- No more preperation
- Virtual Exam, login before time
- Sit in a well lit room, with no interventions
- Online proctor looks at around the room – cooperate
- MCQs without any negative marking – give your exam coolly
and After the Exam…
- You’ll get your boolean result (Pass/Fail) immediately.. after an unnecessarily time taking survey
- You’ll get your scorecard after 2-3 days with Certificate and a Badge 🥳!
I wanted to write this to help people understand why fundamental exams exist in the first place – it’s for a variety of reasons but the only one I feel is that it helps you get a first hand experience of the exam, the syllabus, the preparation without having to be too stressful.
Like I mentioned before, It’s neither too hard nor too easy – it’s just there right at the level.
It took me around 4-5 days to complete my preparation, write all the practice papers and sit for the actual exam itself. The experience and that stress was worth it at the end.
What am I gonna do next?
Now that I’m done with my first certification, I’m currently preparing for the AWS Developer Associate (DVA-01) exam, which was my goal all along. I’ll sure share my experience once I’m done with the exam. Wish me luck! 😁
Update: I did give my AWS Developer Associate (DVA-C01) Exam and finally cracked it with a great score! It was a thrilling experience and I have learnt a lot in my journey. I’ve shared my journey and the experience here, do check it out!
So are you taking the exam, or find my experience useful? Share it with your friends who may find it helpful! 🙂