One of the first things I did when graduating University was shift my attention to learning about the cloud in more detail. I used my companies Kaizen learning time to study towards the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam, and now I am Cloud Practitioner Certified, I want to share my knowledge of the journey.
Introduction To AWS Certifications
AWS or Amazon Web Services is a cloud provider (if you don’t know what one of these are, you should probably start with a different blog!). AWS gives the option to undertake various courses on either general or more specialised topics, specifically related to the AWS platform and it’s services / offerings.
These courses can be self taught, or taught via paid lessons online or in-person depending on how you best like to study. Typically at the end of a course you will take an in-person or online exam (via PearsonVue) to prove your knowledge of the course content and get an official certification badge, alternatively you can skip the exam and certification altogether and be happy in the knowledge that you know the subject matter.
Different Certification Paths
There are tons of different certifications you can get for AWS specifically, as-well as other cloud providers (although AWS does tend to be the most sought after from my own research). I won’t go in-depth as they are constantly changing, but a detailed overview can be found here.
Are Certifications Useful?
I personally don’t believe that certifications provide much value beyond a general recognition that you understand concepts in a specific area, because there is no way for a certification to prove your real-world experience with the cloud.
So what is the benefit of certification? For me, it was nothing more than something to aim for. Sure I could learn all of the concepts myself, but then there isn’t really an end goal for me to strive for. Don’t get me wrong, I have a passion for learning about the cloud, but often times life just gets in the way and you can forget about these passions…Scheduling an exam and paying for it however, makes it much more likely that you will designate specific periods of time to study the material.
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Overview
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is the easiest exam you can take for AWS. It provides a very generalised overview of cloud technologies, and introduces you to over 50 of the most commonly used AWS services. AWS has hundreds of different services and product offerings, but the CCP exam only provides detail on the most commonly used subset of these services.
Exam Structure and Content
The current exam as of writing this post (CLF-C02)
1. Cloud Technologies Overview
2. Security and Compliance
3. Core AWS Services
4. Budgeting, Costs and Cloud Economics
More information on the current Cloud Practitioner exam can be found here.
My Study Resource Recommendations
Writing this fresh out of a degree, and with over a year of industry experience, my core recommendation would be to not underestimate the exam content. It is the easiest of the AWS exams, but it still provides a lot of knowledge that you may not have expected – especially when it comes to AWS specific services. This is not something to be rushed, and took me around 20 hours of focussed study and practice time to pass.
As for study resources, the first port of call will always be the AWS Skills Builder. Here you can register for an account and sign up to the AWS Cloud Practitioner Journey, which is a roughly four hour course covering all of the basic concepts of AWS. This will not be enough on it’s own.
Alongside this basic course, you will also find tons of resources (maybe too many) in the skills builder. For more visual learners, there is a gamified version of the Introduction to AWS CCP course, and for more practical learners, there are various labs you can do that give you access to free, realistic and interactive scenarios to work through in the AWS cloud.
Official resources aside, I personally used the following Udemy resources to help pass the exam, and I highly recommend getting them all if you are serious about getting your accreditation (make sure you get them on offer and don’t pay the full course price):
These are NOT affiliate links, I genuinely would not have passed my exam without these three resources.
50% Off Your First Exam
If you’ve read this far and understand that accreditation probably isn’t worth it (especially for this beginner course), but want to book an exam anyway so that you have something to motivate you…Don’t get the exam without a discount!
You can get at-least 50% off your first AWS Cloud Practitioner exam by attending an AWS Cloud Practitioner Introduction (a virtual webinar day). Just by signing up, you will receive a voucher a few days after the event for 50% off. And then as is standard with AWS exams, you should expect that subsequent exams will also be 50% off.
I hope you enjoyed this little blog, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch. As always I’m more than happy to receive feedback to improve my writing style, or correct any errors. Thanks for reading!