How to Become AWS Certified

Please note this post is from 2021. The updated version as of August 2022 is now SAA-C03. Some course instructors like Stephane Maarek & Adrian Cantrill have already updated their courses, so I recommend learning from them.

Update #1: The original plan was to study for the Solutions Architect exam, but I took a step back and prepared for the Cloud Practitioner exam instead. I passed in Feb. so I’m adding the resources I used to pass the CCP.

When you’re ready, head over here to schedule your exam.

Update #2: I passed the Solutions Architect exam on June 4th.

This one was harder than I expected so I’ve added some more resources below to help you pass.

Watch the video version here: https://youtu.be/Zg0ZU-EqHBw

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase using one of my links. Thanks for your support!


After passing the CCP, you can get half-off on your next exam. You also get some benefits like joining a LinkedIn group to mix and mingle and show off your new cert, and more.

Now for the Solutions Architect exam. (New from AWS: Take the challenge and get half off your SAA-C02 exam.)

I’ve heard good things about these 2 courses on LinkedIn and Twitter so I jumped on the $9.99 deal from Udemy. (Wait for those < $12.99 deals.)

Ultimate AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate (Link to course)

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Practice Exams (Link to course)

I used those Udemy courses from Stephane and Jon, the cheat sheets from Tutorials Dojo, and the Warp 9 Training course.

My tip to you – take your time and do a lesson a day (or 2 days), do the hands-on, read the AWS FAQs or the cheat sheets for that lesson, and take every practice exam over and over until you get a least an 80%.

Then go over these sample questions from AWS or take their practice exam to see if you’re ready. And remember when you schedule your exam, you can always push it back. (I did that 3x and I wish I could’ve pushed it one more time.)

And if you’re looking for work and want to get found by recruiters and hiring managers, make sure you document/post what you’re learning on GitHub and LinkedIn. It will definitely get eyes on your profile. And keep your resume updated – here’s a Cloud Engineer template you can use. Or try the resume challenge.

Study plan for AWS Certified SAA

Update #3: After taking the exam last week, I can honestly say you’re going to need way more than 30 days to prepare for the exam. So, if you want you can still use the study plan below, and spread it out to maybe 45-60 days. Trust me! You’re going to need time to process all of this info and do hands-on projects. (Whatever course you choose, please do all the hands-on projects.)

Now with these courses, I created a study plan in Asana (inspired by Ari Hale’s video here) to keep track of my progress. The good thing about using these 2 courses is that it adds up to 33 days (added a buffer to review notes). So I plan to do a section and each practice exam from both courses daily. I’ll keep reviewing notes and taking practice exams until it’s test day.

(What worked for me – watch the videos and bookmark important parts, take notes from those bookmarks as a cheat sheet or on index cards. If there are slides, copy and paste notes or highlight. Record yourself reading those notes and then listen to them whenever you can until it’s test day. And don’t forget to do the hands-on training.)

If you plan on using these courses and want to add this to Trello or Asana, here’s a Google Doc with every section listed plus the length. Copy and paste it to your board.

AWS Resources

Have questions, want to connect, found this post helpful – I’m on LinkedIn.

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