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How I got my AWS CSAA. Notes included

3 mins  

5 months ago


Disclaimer: I'm not being paid to promote anything here.

I just received an email containing the badge from acclaim.com.

It made me look back on how much things have changed for the better since I made this exam, so I thought of making a blog post on how things went for me.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate was issued by Amazon Web Services Training and Certification to Oscar Chavez

Having a certification like this will open a lot of doors in the tech sector and it definitely make you desirable when on the job market.

If you are here because you're interested in getting it, I'd like to help you.

Here's my journey:

I took the AWS CSAA exam almost 9 months ago in Mexico City using Pearson's on site examination. It costed 150 USD  (~3,577.53 MXN)

I have had at least 12 months of prior experience using AWS SDKs, and the AWS Console. Mainly EC2, VPC, RDS, S3, Cloudfront, and some DynamoDB work.

This prior experience was sporadic and guided in its entirety through tutorials, youtube videos and articles, so there was no formality to my knowledge.
But it proved to be crucial.

I booked it 60 days in advance and studied daily at least 1 hour of at least 40 of those days. I passed with 804/1000


I spent my study hours doing research, gathering some of the official AWS Whitepapers, studying and going through some courses and practice exams.

AWS Whitepapers

Starting point to get the overview of what AWS has to offer. Very verbose but, they're the official documentation.

If you haven't had experience with AWS, I'd start with these services

EC2, S2, EBS, VPC, SQS, SNS, EFS, Autoscaling, ELB, Glacier, Kinesis, RDS, DynamoDB, Migration, CloudWatch, CloudTrail, Billing, ElastiCache, Aurora


Check the FAQs too !

AWS - Well Architected Framework

In order to be certified in AWS as a solutions architect, you have to understand the basis of what they consider best practices.

AWS Well-Architected - Build secure, efficient, cloud enabled applications

The AWS Well-Architected Framework provides guidance to help developers build and deploy applications faster, lower risk, and make informed decisions following AWS best practices.

Well Architected Framework

I went through this section FIRST and came back again at LAST in order to make sure I was grasping it since the beginning until after reviewing all the content

Here's the PDF of the Well-Architected Framework

Practice exams

I could not recommend enough the ones by John Bonso, these are practice exams.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Practice Exams

Make sure you allocate at least 120 minutes for every test and try to score above 80.


I highly recommend the one by Linux Academy.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate Linux Academy

They have this thing called The Orion Papers. It's a bit tricky at first, but consistency in study hours will do the trick


But for me, the most important aspect of the time I invested in studying, were my personal notes. I wrote everything I deemed as important and as it was presented to me.


They are obviously handwritten and probably some parts might be trick to read but this is the first effort to give them for free for anyone that is interested.


  1. Start building now. Having used the the Console and the SDKs helped a lot.
  2. Use the free tier. You don't need to pay to learn by experimenting. So start exploring.
  3. Practice your patience. There is a lot of content, the best is to go one by one and cover them all.
  4. Make notes. Diagrams help a lot as there are things that work in various dimensions, but never forget to make good old notes.
  5. If stuck, join and ask people @ reddit.com/r/AWSCertifications/. People are very supportive and helpful there
  6. Make sure you are fully focused a couple days before the exam.

Let me know if you have suggestions to improve this article or questions about it.

Happy studying and good luck !