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How Did I Prepare For My First Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certification?

Embarking on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) certification journey is an investment in your professional growth and an opportunity to unlock a world of possibilities. With AWS at the forefront of cloud computing, earning an AWS certification demonstrates your expertise in one of the most sought-after skill sets in today's tech industry. In this blog, I will tell you about my personal experience of how I prepared for this certification myself, and hopefully this can help you too.


Short version


  1. It took me around one month and three weeks to prepare for the exam

  2. I had no previous experience using AWS

  3. I took the exam in English remotely

  4. I used free and paid material to prepare


Longer version


Why AWS?


It took me some time to decide on AWS, because today there are other providers that offer great coverage of cloud solutions, such as GCP and Azure. But finally I chose AWS mainly because:


  1. The time they have been offering their services

  2. The degree of maturity that they have in their services

  3. The global market coverage that they have

  4. The huge diversity of services they have, which in the future could help me expand my coverage of knowledge and services as a professional


Why get certified?


You can be an AWS expert, having worked on covering different real-life situations, and not be certified, which is perfectly fine. For me, a certification is a consolidation of your knowledge and experience, besides accrediting your knowledge through an external institution, allowing you to complement your previous work experience. That is why, for me, getting certified allows you to:


  1. Measure how much you know

  2. Accredit knowledge

  3. Catch up on new cloud solutions, while you prepare by studying

  4. Learn, improve and consolidate your cloud knowledge

  5. It gives you some benefits such as invitations and a discount for the next certification exam

  6. It encourages you and gives you confidence for when you may want to apply for new certifications. That will inevitably make you improve as a professional.


How Did I Do?


1. AWS offers various certifications. Based on different specializations, since I had no prior experience, the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner made more sense to me. In addition, this badge (category) explains the fundamentals that are complementary to the next badges. There are 4 certification categories available according to each specialization and these are:



1. 1. Foundational: Knowledge-based certification for foundational understanding of AWS Cloud. No prior experience needed.


1. 2. Associate: Role-based certifications that showcase your knowledge and skills on AWS and build your credibility as an AWS Cloud professional. Prior cloud and/or strong on-premises IT experience recommended.


1. 3. Professional: Role-based certifications that validate advanced skills and knowledge required to design secure, optimized, and modernized applications and to automate processes on AWS. 2 years of prior AWS Cloud experience recommended.


1. 4. Specialty: Dive deeper and position yourself as a trusted advisor to your stakeholders and/or customers in these strategic areas. Refer to the exam guides on the exam pages for recommended experience.


2. So I started looking for study material to begin to familiarize myself with the main AWS services through platforms such as YouTube. Some of the channels I visited were:


2. 1. amazonwebservices

2. 2. DigitalCloudTraining

2. 3. BeABetterDev

2. 4. YoelvisM



3. At the same time, I signed up for a free AWS course where they explain in a general way the knowledge coverage in each area that is needed to take the exam. In addition, they explain how the cloud works in general, some services, good practices, prices, security and indicate the percentage of evaluation for the exam, according to each of these concepts:

 Domain  % of Examination
 Domain 1: Cloud Concepts  26%
 Domain 2: Security and Compliance  25%
 Domain 3: Technology  33%
 Domain 4: Billing and Pricing  16%
TOTAL  100%


4. As a special mention, while I experimented with some AWS services, I sometimes exceeded the free tier usage on some services, for example, when I consumed one particular API using Amazon Simple Notification Service. Fortunately I had everything synchronized with Amazon CloudWatch, so it was not such a big surprise. I mention it because it is very important to keep this in mind when working in the cloud.


5. After finishing this content and  gaining a better understanding of the key concepts, I decided to look for something more detailed for my goal. That's how I came to Neal Davis from Digital Cloud. I signed up for his course and started a new study routine. Neal's content is very well organized and explained, so it was easy for me to practice as I learned new AWS concepts. 


6. After finishing Neal's course, I started practicing through practice tests like this one. As testing progressed, it was sometimes necessary to go back and find more information about the feature coverage of one AWS service or another. But regardless of the outcome, remember to never give up.




The conditions of practice exam were


  1. 65 questions in total.

  2. Limit time of one hour 30 minutes

  3. 70% correct required to pass.

The results of my practice exam were

  Result      Percentage obtanied     Time       Date
 Passed!  96% correct  1 hour 4 minutes  3/25/2022
 Passed!  73% correct  1 hour 5 minutes  3/18/2022
 Failed  52% correct  56 minutes  3/14/2022


7. Finally, when I felt I had the necessary confidence and mastery of general concepts for the test — and when the results obtained consecutively were around 90% — I signed up to take the exam in the next two days. Personally, it was very difficult for me to book an hour, because when I was going to make the payment, the site often told me that the time and day that I had booked was no longer available, and I had to go through the process again. I mention it so that you take it into account. So, to register you have to:


      7. 1.  Sign up for AW


      7. 2. Choose the exam you want to take


      7. 3. Schedule the date and time.


      7. 4. Make the payment $119 USD (in my case)





1.   I don't recommend taking free practice exams for this certification, because I found many with incorrect and outdated answers. In addition to the explanations about the answers that I found in the essays that I bought, it was very useful to me to better understand the different scenarios where a solution is more or less adequate for a certain situation.


2.   Don't get frustrated if at first your tests don't end with the expected result. Keep learning and practicing; don't be discouraged, you can do it!


3.   You must read each question carefully, because sometimes the questions appear to have two correct answers, but only one is the correct answer. You have to choose the best one according to the scenario.


4.   If you are comfortable with the English language — even if it’s not your native language — I recommend you choose to take the exam in English, because AWS will compensate you with an additional 30 minutes on your exam.


5.    If you are going to take the exam remotely, I recommend you take enough time to prepare your space, according to the acceptance criteria requested by AWS through Pearson Vue, which is the platform where I took my exam.


I wish you the best in this new certification and make sure to always keep learning!

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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