Tidy Cloud AWS - the reluctant DevOps Professional

Welcome to this issue of the Tidy Cloud AWS newsletter!

I have been taking the AWS DevOps Professional certification exam recently. I have mixed thoughts about certifications, but I did it to fulfill my employer’s AWS Partner level requirements. (And yes, I passed the certification exam)

If you have little experience, AWS certifications can show that you have some skills with AWS - it is not just for partner-level requirements. Rel-life experience will always trump a certification, though.

Also, if you enjoy the challenge of passing a certification exam, do that then.

Some shortcomings I see with such certification exams, compared to experience, are:

  • Scenarios only involve AWS services, pretty much. The exam rarely includes tools and services outside of AWS, but companies that use only AWS still use them..
  • Because of the way they set the questions up, your ability to make on-the-spot choices of a few pre-selected options rewards you. Not really how you architect, design, and choose a solution in real life.
  • Questions may be about common features or ones you can search for if they were real-life situations. You would not need to know them by heart.

The process of studying for a certification exam can be useful though

Best way to learn is to answer practice questions. If you get the answer wrong, you can view the descriptions of why it was wrong, and read up more on that specific topic, if needed. Even if you do not take the exam itself, you may have gained a few more useful insights which can improve your work.

AWS provides a course on DevOps Professional exam readiness through their website AWS Skill Builder.

There is a free and paid version of that course. The paid version has 1-2 labs you can do, a set of bonus questions, and some flashcards. I found the flashcards mostly useless. The practice questions are the most valuable assets of that course. The paid version has 3 sets of practice questions. One is a full-length certification exam (75 questions), and the other two are shorter but still helpful.

The course has many presentations about the different areas the exam covers and discusses the different topics and things to think about. The presentation is quite dry and delivered by the course person in a somewhat monotone voice, likely reading from a prompt. Reading a transcript might be a better use of the time.

If I did not need to take the exam, I would be happy to just run through the practice questions, and likely learn a few things. In fact, I think I might do that later with some other exams which I do not intend to take - just to learn a few things.

What is your stance on AWS certifications, and studying for them?

You can find older newsletters and more at Tidy Cloud AWS. You will also find other useful articles around AWS automation and infrastructure-as-software.

Until next time,