Seven Top Tips to get AWS Cloud Practitioner Certified
As the world becomes increasingly digitised and businesses prepare to adopt a variety of AI, Big Data, public cloud, and cybersecurity tools, employees need to adopt a lifelong learning mentality to keep up.
However, finding the time and energy to upskill in anything new can be challenging. With so much information at our fingertips, even choosing the right learning resources can be confusing and time-consuming. Thankfully, more and more service providers are offering innovative and exciting ways to keep pace with this rapidly changing technology landscape.
Adam Dunn, Nasstar’s AWS Alliance Business Development Manager, seized an opportunity to experience this first-hand with Cloud Quest, an immersive game designed to build practical AWS cloud skills. We caught up with Adam to hear his tips on maximising the Cloud Practitioner learning experience.
How NOT to prepare for an AWS exam
A few weeks before Christmas, I received an email from the AWS Training and Certification Team that it was time to recertify my AWS Cloud Practitioner accreditation. After an initial moment of panic, I started to feel confident for several reasons:
- I had, of course, passed the exam before and with a good grade.
- I work across AWS every day and despite the avalanche of new features and announcements, I’ve enjoyed keeping up with changes through AWS blogs, webinars, events, and even emails.
- By reviewing the material for an hour or two each day, I’d be able to smash the exam out of the park early in the New Year.
Unfortunately, my certainty was misplaced as Christmas came and went. With so many other pleasant distractions, I hadn’t even thought about revising. After a bout of procrastinator’s remorse, I opened up my laptop to the usual post-Christmas mountain of work emails and a whole list of activities to get cracking with.
Among all the information was an interesting announcement about the opportunity to recertify as a Cloud Practitioner for free using AWS Cloud Quest – a self-guided role-playing game, instead of the normal exam-based route.
Online gaming to the rescue
AWS Cloud Quest provides an immersive learning experience where you choose an IT role, learn cloud skills, and build solutions in a live AWS environment. First with step-by-step guidance and then you’re free to experiment on your own.
This seemed like a great opportunity. It would be a new way to brush up on my knowledge and I wouldn't have to worry about sitting an exam. Perhaps most importantly, I could dip in and out of the game as my work and personal life allowed.
Looking through LinkedIn, I could see some early adopters and the feedback was positive. So, I took the plunge and I enrolled via AWS Skill Builder. Fast forward a week and I’d completed all the challenges and recertification for another three years. While I was able to finish Cloud Quest in a week, due to my work/life schedule, I’ve known people to complete it in as little as eight hours.
How to get the most from AWS Cloud Quest
- There’s no substitute for a strong foundation of knowledge. Enrol in the AWS Cloud Practitioner Learning Plan if you need to scrub up on the basics.
- If you can, get familiar with the AWS Console beforehand. Review the Cloud Quest guidance before you begin. I could have saved myself a bit of head-scratching by sitting down and absorbing more detail before diving in.
- There’s lots of reference material for AWS Cloud Quest. Even with good foundational knowledge, you might stumble across something new.
- Take your time and move backwards and forwards through the challenges until you’re comfortable.
- Get ready to make notes on each question as you work your way through the challenges.
- Pace yourself. You can save your progress and return when it suits your schedule.
- Don’t shy away from the other free resources out there like AWS’s Cloud Practitioner Essentials, Exam Guide, and Practice Questions.
The game certainly makes learning about AWS services and cloud concepts more accessible and enjoyable. It worked for me and I’m quite old school. I’m used to multiple-choice questions in exam conditions, but Cloud Quest has put a welcome spin on the whole process.
Ultimately, it offers a flexible, engaging, and cost-effective way for busy people to recertify while gaining hands-on experience. For example, I had a great time practising how to create and deploy an auto-scaling group amongst many other interactive challenges.
Whether you’re new to the cloud or you’re hoping to develop a specific skill set, Cloud Quest offers a unique and absorbing way to get up to speed.