Becoming a Cloudiator, attaining all 5 AWS Certifications

What is a Cloudiator?

noun: a person who achieves all 5 AWS Certifications.

  • AWS Certified Developer – Associate
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

How I became a Cloudiator and how can you become one too.

How long did it take?

I started studying around August for the AWS Certified Developer – Associate exam. I accomplished all 5 AWS certifications by January. I spent around 1-2 months studying for each exam. I was up nearly every night until 2am while being billed full-time at a client. I spent half of my time studying at Starbucks and the rest at home. 

Previous AWS experience

0. I had no AWS experience going into this and very little cloud experience. I only had a little bit of Azure PaaS experience I got from running my own startup via Microsoft’s generous Bizspark program. Everything I learned and studied for was brand spanking new. 

Study resources

I did ALL my studying using LinuxAcademy courses. I watched every relevant course and did the practice exams over and over. 

I also used but didn’t watch all their videos. I only used their practice exam questions. 

Always go through the forums on any and all courses you’ve watched. Questions posted there may be extremely valuable to you when it comes test time. You can also gauge what the curve will be if your interested. 

Blogs may offer some insight into what the exam may be like. Find all the technical blogs you can that have to do with the certifications. Every blog provides a different view on how the exam was and what type of questions the writer may have encountered. 

I’ve noticed some of the questions come from the AWS Website and Whitepapers. It would be a good idea to go through these while your studying. There is a ton of information in the whitepapers, you don’t need to dig deep into each subject but have a general idea on what they are referring to for the associate level exams. The professional level exams dig deeper into subjects and connect multiple resources together, asking you real-world questions. 

Easiest -> Hardest coming from Software Engineering

  1. AWS Certified Developer – Associate
  2. AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
  3. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
  4. AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional
  5. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

Failing an exam 🙁

I’m going to be honest. I failed on of the exams, an associate level one. I got over-confident and didn’t study as hard as I did with the others. It felt absolutely horrible. If you fail an exam the chances of passing the second time are VERY high. You will have experience on how the questions are formatted and what type of questions are being asked. 

Try to memorize the questions you had troubles with and research them when you get home since they are fresh. That way you can identify holes in your knowledge or study routine. 

Is the exam curved?

Typically what I hear all the time is that the exam is pretty much curved at 65%. This is false, it can vary widely. If you visit some of the forums you will notice that some people passed with a 63% while others failed with a 69%. Do not go into the exam attempting to just “pass” the exam. Shoot for the highest score possible and don’t slack when your studying!

Final thoughts

The exams aren’t as hard you they make it out to be. They are totally passable as long as you spend the time and energy to study for them. 

I personally had to sacrifice time with my family to study for these exams especially to accomplish them in a short period of time. Was it worth it? Totally. It gave me unparalleled insight into AWS allowing me to tackle issues and setup environments for clients. 

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