September 26, 2023

I would like to share my journey with you all on Amazon Web Services from a rookie to the moment when I have achieved a series of certifications. Though published study guides for each certification that I  have completed already, felt sharing my inner thoughts with all aspiring candidates.

For now, I have passed three AWS exams AWS Cloud Practitioner, AWS Solutions Architect Associate, and AWS Security Speciality, and due to start preparing to take AWS Architect Professional, with the intent to hit “all four” AWS certifications levels.

My primary motivation for taking these exams and opting out of the AWS certification path specifically was the need to acquire and update my skill set and make it more aligned with today’s market needs marked by a high demand for cloud skills. I decided to focus on AWS (I had attained Azure Administrator, Architect & Security Certification in the year 2020) as it was and still is a leading public cloud platform provider.


AWS Certification Paths

AWS enables a candidate to take various exams from the list of 12. Exams are divided into four levels where three of them are role-based: (Details given below)

  • Foundational – Here in this section there is only one certification, and it can be skipped without any problems because it is not required for other certifications.
  • Associate – Here in this section there are three certificates. One can become Solutions Architect, Developer, and/or SysOps Administrator.
  • Professional – Here in this section there are only two roles: Solutions Architect and DevOps Engineer.
  • Specialty – This is a unique category where each certificate is related to a single technical area: Advanced Networking, Big Data, and Security.

AWS rewards on passing the exams

Beyond obtaining knowledge and becoming a certified professional on completion of AWS certification AWS will also provide you with the following benefits:

  • 50% discount for your next exam
  • Free practice exam voucher
  • Access to AWS Certified store (store to buy AWS branded merchandise available only to AWS employees and AWS certified folks)

Exam path decisions

If you are taking the initial step in AWS, then I would really suggest starting with Cloud Practitioner. If you are experienced in AWS, then go for Associate. Under Associate, we can see there are 3 areas available to start with — Architect, Operations, and Developer. After this, you can surely move up to an elite Professional exam. AWS has also provided specialty domains in which you can excel in, based on your interest in — Data Analytics, Database, Machine Learning, Alexa Skill Builder, Advanced Networking, and last but not the least, Security.

Role I took – AWS Architect with Security – Similar to Azure

After completing the Certified Ethical hacker certification last year, thought of taking the AWS certification path. Till that date, I didn’t have a much exposure and work experience on AWS. My vast experience remains with Azure for years. Since my job role background strongly relies on security, decided to start with AWS Security Speciality. Spent nearly one month preparing the concepts, and core services used in AWS cloud security — After overcoming more false starts

Once completed the course, took 4-to 5 practice exams. Unfortunately, couldn’t able to grab the required confidence for appearing for exams. Literally paused my preparation abruptly and jumped to Azure Cloud and completed four certifications in 25 days related to Security, Compliance, and Data Protection (SC 900, SC 200, SC 300, SC 400) which provided me the much-needed confidence.


Resumed my AWS preparation on 1st March 2022, and then the array certification acquisitions started with more confidence.

During Weekdays, spent 2 hours for preparation and during weekends spent 4 hours for preparation.

Preparation Path

Providing a link below to each certification study guide that was published earlier in

  1. AWS Cloud Practitioner
  2. AWS Architect Associate
  3. AWS Security Speciality

Solid previous experience and hands-on experience are a must to sail through the exams easily. If not, the difficulty level of the exams will be on the higher side. (For me – minimal work experience and hands-on experience) Most parts of my experience related to the concepts with Azure.


More important certification will provide you with an entry-level job position whatever you have applied for. But solid core knowledge will brighten your career path and day-to-day job-related decisions.

Exam Experience

On March 17th, 2022 — after 18 days of rigorous study took my AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification exam, and I was very happy that I passed it on the very first attempt! This worked as a big motivating factor for continuing my journey into the deep ocean of AWS certification exams. It also made me curious and ignited a spark to learn more and more about AWS and the various services that it offers.

After this first achievement, I convinced myself to put in the effort to finish other advance level certifications. Putting my commute time towards studying was a golden opportunity and I was going to take it. To meet this goal, I started preparing immediately and have been able to complete several AWS certifications (and four Azure Certifications) since January 2022!


On April 22nd, 2022 – after 30 days of continuous study took my AWS Cloud Architect Associate Certification exam, and I was very happy that I passed it on the very first attempt. Believe me, the questions that appeared in the exam are above my preparation level. But by virtually aligning all the services one after other as per the questions, arrived at an answer and revied twice, thrice and I believed it to be the right one. Finally, after submitting the exam – the status shown like “ exam results will be available within 5 business days” after evaluation. Till exam results came out literally I was sleepless. Once I received the mail with the status Pass, got relieved from agony.  

On May 15th,2022 – after 20 days of rigorous continuous preparation took my AWS Cloud Architect Associate Certification exam, and I was very happy that I passed it on the very first attempt. I may say the difficulty level of the exam was higher than the Associate certification. Although the preparation & coverage domain is restricted by security, a detailed and granular level of preparation is required to pass the exam.

On 16th May 2022 – I am writing my AWS certification exam experience with you all and thinking of perusing the  Big daddy – AWS Architect professional but after a brief pause. Since already my Big..Bigger..Biggest Daddy Certified Cloud Security Professional certification preparation hanging in-between Azure and AWS certifications are on due course and to get completed.


The Certification (Passion for learning) journey will be continued.

Believe in your inner instincts. if I can able to achieve certifications, you too can be able to achieve it. If you are in between your preparation push yourself to attain it. if you never started, it’s not the end of the world today. Start it tomorrow.

Good luck with your certification preparations and exams. Happy to guide certification aspirants.

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