Roman Ceresnak, PhD

Jan 2, 2021

6 min read

AWS DevOps Certification 2021

the begining of the 2021, I successfully took part in AWS DevOps professional certificate education. This was my first certificate of the professional level and this document serves as presentation of my road to this achievement.

Everybody, who is interested in the world of certificates or took part in a certificate education related to the Amazon, encountered courses by Stéphane Maarek, Neal Davis or Adrian Cantrill. On the way to my certificate, I used three courses by Stéphane Maarek and one by Neal Davis. Currently, I study for the AWS Solution Architect Professional certificate by Adrian Cantrill with the use of his online courses (https://cantrill.io/) — educational methodology used in these courses appealed to me quite a bit. Even though I rate all three instructors of the courses with five out of five possible stars, I chose different way to prepare myself for the AWS DevOps professional certificate. I wanted to make sure, that I can handle the exams on the highest possible level.

First source I used in preparation for the certificate examination was course by Nick Triantafillou available at the acloudguru website — specifically course on the address: https://acloudguru.com/course/aws-certified-devops-engineer-professional-2020 . This course covers the core concepts for each of the 6 domains outlined in the AWS blueprint including:

  • SDLC Automation
  • Configuration Management and Infrastructure as Code
  • Monitoring and Logging
  • Policies and Standards Automation
  • Incident and Event Response
  • High Availability, Fault Tolerance, and Disaster Recovery

Structure of the course is mainly focused on understanding all 6 domains, which can (and surely, will) appear in the examination for the certificate. In each video, Nick presents given section of the educational material very clearly and, presents it in extremely interesting way. After absolving each of six domains participant of the course takes short quiz which contains couple of questions related to presented technologies. In the case of incorrect answer you are offered simple explanation and link to the video, which contains given material in order for participant to get more information on the topic. The course also contains exercised. These are quite usable in order to test and use technologies explained by Nick. In the case that you can’t find the solution to the exercise on your own, the website offers a video, in which instructor leads you step-by-step to the successful solution of the problem. In the end of the course — after absolving all six domains — there is test, which, in my opinion, can be used to find out, which areas and technologies of presented material need to be explained to the student again. These parts of the education material are the ones, that student should focus on while studying on the official Amazon website. The course on the acloudguru is a little bit pricier compared to udemy, where courses start at 9.99 eur. Price you pay for the course depends on the skill of the student and on the time needed for the student to complete the course. This website approaches payments differently — student is not paying for the course but for the subscription to the service offered on the website. This can be very useful in the case, that you want to study more courses in parallel. Subscription for a month costs individuals approximately 26 eur or $31.59. I can’t find any negatives of this course and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Second educational source I used for my preparation was ? Surprise . Course by Jon Bonso on the udemy website, which can be found at the following address: https://www.udemy.com/course/aws-certified-devops-engineer-professional-practice-exams-amazon/ . Nowadays, this course contains two tests (75 questions each). Each answer — correct or incorrect — is supplemented by detail explanation. I don’t recommend to learn correct answer for each of the questions — it is, said quite simply, useless. The question will not appear in the test but logic and a way of thinking about the problem is rather good thing. I used it for fast and effective elimination of incorrect answers in the test, which is great positive of this course. Firm basis for studying of the material.

After taking part in the courses by Nick and Jon, I wasn’t sure I can pass the certificate test successfully. I looked for other sources on the internet and found the https://skillcertpro.com/ . This website appealed to me for two reasons: it contains number of questions and people who commented on the courses rated them positively. Following comment suprised me the most: “Even after having solid 5 years of experience in AWS, I felt I could have not completed this without the help of these practice tests. This certainly helped me understand the question format, keywords to look out for and finally, very important time management. I have to say, the exam itself is tougher than the questions available here but if you really understand the concepts, you should be able to clear the exam.. I was pleasantly surprised with quality of the answers and more. The website offers quality similar to the questions from the cours by Jon Bosno. Correctness of each answer is explained and is supplemented by links to quality materials related to the answer. I think this website is of high quality and I’ll use it in the future. I want to say, that even though questions seem like they were taken from certificate website, this not the case! Similar to my second source — don’t expect same questions on the certificate examination. The website broadened my horizon and showed me which material and technologies I should study more.

Fourth source naturally consisted of Amazon and Google, which were used for looking up information on technologies I wasn’t familiar with or those, which were not clear to me while studying with the second and third sources. I always took notes about each technology either while presentations by Nick or while answering questions from the sources 2 and 3. This simplified my studies since I didn’t have to return to the material which was clear to me and which I used for practice in my Amazon account. Short videos served as diversification of my preparation since after some time, I got bored with reading and writing down and subsequent highlighting of the important information in my notebook. When I felt comfortable with the material, I opened Amazon website and looked up model tests, specifically tests stored on the following link: https://aws.amazon.com/certification/certified-devops-engineer-professional/ . Even I was surprised that I answered all of these test with no mistakes — this was impulse for my registration for the certificate examination.

I planed my exam to be taken on 23rd of December 2020. Since I think the exam needs to be taken in the state of complete clearity, I planed it for 6:00 AM. Before that, I checked some statuses on the LinkedIn, which were related to the new update of macOS Big Sur operating system — people had problems with verification of compatibility — so I also tried to verify this. I had the same problem as other people, but I kind of counted on that. I took my other computer which runs Windows OS and everything was functional. On the day of the examination I woke up at 5:45 AM and saw the standard message: “Wait for proctor to verify your validity…”. I waited till 6:00 AM and wrote to the chat, which can be seen after the start of PSI Bridge Secure. Nobody answered. I already had experience with proctor contacting me after more than hour of waiting, but is was completely unique situation. At 6:15 AM I got message about cancellation of my exam with the note to call given number. Even though I wanted to give myself the certificate as Christmas gift, I took the situation as an opportunity to prepare myself even more. So, while writing test with proctor, you can expect anything. After calling mentioned number, I got my 50% off coupon which I gained as benefit for successful completion of previous exams back. Subsequently, the money were sent back to my account.

These five resources were enough for successful completion of certificate examination with the score of 921 points. To tell the truth, exam contained 5 out of 75 questions in which were incorrect answers very easy to identify and two possibilities were equally correct from the point of logic. These questions took me about 30 minutes of the examination time. I completed the exam in two hours with no back check since I was pretty sure in my answers. If you have any questions or you need help/guidance write me without any worries. I wish you all the best and a lot of strength in your efforts to obtain any certificate. I’m saying goodbye with the words by Master Yoda “May the Force be With You”.

DevOps Engineer