AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate: A Study Guide

Want to take a really impactful step in your technical career? Explore the AWS Solutions Architect Associate certificate. Its new version (SAA-C02) was released on March 23, 2020.

The AWS Solutions Architect — Associate Certification (or Sol Arch Associate for short) offers some clear benefits:

  • Increases marketability to employers

If the AWS Solutions Architect — Associate is your next certification, you’re probably wondering where to start in your preparation. What do you need to learn? How long will it take? Don’t worry. At Cloud Academy, we’ve got you covered with this complete AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate study guide. Our Learning Path contains everything you need to know for this certification, organized step by step. This article explains how to use our Learning Paths, and how much time it takes to prepare for the exam.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate Study Guide: What is a Learning Path?

Cloud Academy offers a wide variety of video courses, quizzes, and Hands-on Labs on different areas of cloud computing. Our Learning Paths help you get from where you are to where you want to go. The Sol Arch associate learning path is essentially your AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate study guide.

Our Solutions Architect — Associate Learning Path contains all of the courses, labs, and quizzes you need to help you pass the AWS certification exam.

Each type of content on the Learning Path serves a different instructional purpose:

  • Video courses provide guided lectures on key areas of the exam, with examples.

The Solutions Architect — Associate Learning Path focuses on 4 different domains, each carrying a percentage weighting in the exam:

  1. Design Resilient Architectures (30%)

Using the Learning Path

An essential element of the AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate study guide involves understanding the gaps in your knowledge.

The Solutions Architect — Associate Learning Path naturally builds from AWS fundamentals to more advanced areas. For the best approach, start at the beginning with the first course and continue step by step. Complete each activity in order to ensure that you’re familiar with many of the foundational services covering Compute, Storage, Databases, Networking and Security. As you progress through the learning path you will be presented with hands-on labs to apply your knowledge that you have learned from the courses.

How long will it take?

This is a natural question. Passing the exam requires being well prepared, and how long that takes depends on your own level of experience and knowledge.

On average, we recommend approximately 35–40 hours of preparation for the Solution Architect — Associate Exam, as long as you have some AWS experience. This includes study across all of your resources, including our Solutions Architect Learning Path, and any other resources that you choose. With a full-time job and other commitments, investing 40 hours of study can take between 6–8 weeks.

If you are entirely new to AWS, we recommend approximately 50–60 hours or three months to prepare, allowing you to revisit some of the courses and labs more than once in areas you feel weakest.

Where to focus your time

How much of the Solutions Architect — Associate exam connects with your current or previous work experience? This will give you an idea of where to focus your time on learning new topics. We’ll discuss some basics below. We breakdown study strategies that can be applied to any process like a cert learning path.

Looking at the learning path itself, I want to breakdown the topics and service coverage for each domain so you have an understanding of what to expect:

Domain 1: Design Resilient Architectures — 30%

  • AWS Global Infrastructure (Regions, Availability Zones, Edge Locations, Regions Edge Caches)

Domain 2: Design High-Performing Architectures — 28%

  • Auto-scaling and application and network elastic load balancers

Domain 3: Design Secure Applications and Architectures — 24%

  • Deep dive on AWS Identity & Access Management

Domain 4: Design Cost-Optimized Architectures — 18%

  • AWS storage costs across Amazon S3, Glacier, EFS, Storage Gateway, AWS Backup

Putting it all together

Ultimately, where you decide to focus your time and how much time you spend depends on you. The best approach to our Learning Path is to delve deeply into any unfamiliar territory and to follow each and every step.

  • Watch and rewatch the videos (and post your questions as comments — we will respond!).

We don’t want to tell anyone to spend more or less time preparing for the exam. Therefore, you will want to consider your areas of expertise and how they relate to this certification. Finally, if you already have AWS experience, you can use 35–40 hours of study as a starting point and adjust your strategy from there. The best approach takes the best practices and advice from many sources and is tailored to fit your experience, goals, and schedule.




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