Summer is in the rearview mirror and seasonal change is upon us. The leaves are mostly gone, nights are colder, and days shorter. That makes this the perfect time to head on over to Las Vegas, the Entertainment Capital of the World and attend AWS re: Invent (Invent), the learning conference hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the global cloud computing community.
As more companies migrate to the Cloud, few certs are as in demand as AWS. A quick search of the job site Indeed.com brings up more than 1,700 open positions for AWS-certified candidates. AWS pros are in such high demand because they can save companies tons of money when it comes to cloud computing. In return for their skills and abilities, they earn comfortable incomes — our most recent Salary Survey 75 list pegged the average annual salary for an AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate at $134,320.
Running from Nov. 27 through Dec. 1, this year's gathering is one of the largest single-vendor tech conferences in the world. Featuring keynote announcements, panels, workshops, and training and certification opportunities, the conference has something for every level of AWS fan.
Attendees will have access to more than 1,100 technical sessions, a partner expo and lots of after-hours events — including fitness boot camps, hands-on-LEGO activities, a Sunday morning Harley Ride and the renowned Tatonka Challenge where you can "eat your way to honor through mass consumption of buffalo wings."
Invent attracts thousands of AWS devotees anxious to strut their IT skills and participate in cutting-edge certification testing and training. While there, many attendees will sit for actual certification exams on top of enjoying the other events.
CertMag understands that IT pros are busy people, and we know it's not easy for them to find extra time to study. That's why, with the conference less than two weeks away, we chatted up Anthony Sequeira, a CBT Nuggets Senior Technical Instructor, to gather some useful tips to help attendees prepare for their AWS certification exams before they roll into town. Here's a summary of what he advises:
Make sure your training is efficient: Time is short and you don't want to get sidetracked with any training that takes you off topic. Your training needs to get to the point of the exam. Make sure it covers the exam objectives.
Hands-on practice is crucial for AWS exams: Nothing beats hands-on learning activities; you learn best by doing and redoing. AWS offers a free AWS account that gives you access to every service they offer. The account is totally free, just follow this link. As a bonus, certain services in your free account will continue even after the one year free-tier is over.
Study the documentation: Amazon did an excellent job on their AWS documentation. It's free and easy to read and, for those who don't want to read the entire set of instructions, there's a quick-start guide with simple, step-by-step instructions that have you up and running within minutes. There is no need to buy lots of books because the documentation materials are so good. For ease of use, the documentation can be printed and bound or downloaded to an e-reader.
Studying the documentation is critical because most exam questions are pulled from the documentation. Approximately 70 percent of exam questions will be attributable to statements in the documentation and the rest of the questions will deal with extrapolating from that documentation information.
Start with the AWS exam objectives: AWS provides a pdf with bullet-points detailing what is likely to be on the exam. However, a word of caution: these objectives can lag the actual exam. Amazon is creating new services all the time, and these services will make their way to the exams even before listing in the objectives. Candidates should stay abreast of new services because they will encounter questions dealing with whatever Amazon thinks is relevant.
Take advantage of AWS forums: AWS makes it easy with a link on their support menu. The moderated forums are excellent sources for asking questions and receiving professional guidance.
Attend conference events centered around your certification: Invent is chock full with boot camps, lounges, and parties for every AWS certification. There is even a cert information booth. These gatherings are great opportunities to meet and speak with others who have the cert; you'll find lots of useful targeted advice and information.