It is a fact that technology is evolving faster and faster, which leads a large majority of professionals dedicated to it to invest more time in preparing to meet the new technological challenges that tomorrow will bring. There is no doubt that the different certifications provided by major Cloud providers (AWS, GCP and Microsoft Azure), facilitate the acquisition of the necessary knowledge to meet the new challenges, but in this article I want to provide you with a methodology to help you obtain an official Cloud certification.

Before getting into the subject, it is important to clarify that the goal of this journey should always be learning, since there is no point in obtaining a certification if it is not accompanied by knowledge in the field. This is something important to clarify as many people spend the bulk of their time during preparation memorizing questions to pass the exam.This is a mistake and usually does not work out well, and you will have difficulties when it comes to putting it into practice. 

Having clarified that the ultimate goal of preparing for a certification is not to obtain the title but the knowledge acquired during its preparation, we can go on to define a study methodology that allow us to make the most of the time available for the preparation of the certification, as detailed below:

1. Review the certification exam guide

This first step is crucial as it will allow us to know exactly what knowledge is required to obtain the certification. A good analysis of these guides will help us to identify material that can be used to prepare for the certification such as:

  1. For Azure Fundamentals certification:
  2. For the AWS Solution Architect Associate certification:
  3. For the GCP Cloud Engineer certification:

2. Search for preparation material

The material to be used for the preparation of a certification usually depends on the preferences of each person. At this point there are 3 possible sources of knowledge that are also quite compatible:

  1. Official documentation and Whitepapers: the information available in this type of guides is very extensive, but at the same time they are of great help when preparing a certification. Below you can see where you can find official whitepapers for various vendors:
    1. Azure Whitepapers:
    2. AWS Whitepapers:
    3. GCP Whitepapers:
  2. Online courses: Online courses are usually the most used way to prepare a certification, since among other advantages it offers a training patch. There are a large number of online platforms, such as ACloudGuru, Coursera or Udemy, that provide quality material for certification preparation. However, it is advisable to choose a platform that provides you with an environment in which you can practically apply the knowledge obtained.
  3. Books: Despite the tremendously technological world in which we live, there are still many people who prefer to study “on paper”. For this reason many of the companies in charge of offering this type of certifications develop books that help enormously to obtain the knowledge required to obtain the desired certification. Although it is less used, it is highly recommended to use this type of material.

3. Practical experience

In certifications, as in life itself, experience is a degree. Trying to gain practical experience is crucial for obtaining certifications. It is highly recommended to obtain this experience in daily work, although it is not always possible. In these cases it is possible to use platforms that have environments where this practical knowledge can be obtained or even use a free account that some providers (such as Amazon Web Services) make available to users for one year. AWS also provides a very useful Training portal for acquiring knowledge of its technology.

4. Exams

Taking sample exams is highly recommended before taking the official certification exam, not only to get an idea of what the exams questions are like, but also to learn how to manage the exam time. There are a large number of online platforms that offer high quality sample exams at a reduced price, such as TutorialsDojo, so it is advisable to avoid free online pages whose reliability is lower. It is advisable to repeat these exams, as well as to review the solution of the questions, several times until you are able to obtain a grade higher than 80% in the exam. 

The above steps are the ones I usually follow when preparing for a certification. However, during the preparation for my latest certification, AWS Certified Data Analytics Specialty, I used a resource that I had not used assiduously before, the talks given at re:invent in recent years. Re:Invent, for those who don’t know yet, is an annual event organized by AWS in which they organize a multitude of talks focused on showing the new developments that have been developed during the year by AWS, as well as showing success cases of the use of AWS in real life. Therefore, after finishing the courses I felt that I needed to go deeper into some services, such as LakeFormation or Kinesis, and the experience and knowledge gained through those talks has been of great value for the certification. 

The goal of this article was to provide a methodology to help and encourage people to prepare for a certification. However, each person is different and therefore knowing yourself is key in order to develop a study methodology that will allow you to meet your goals. That said, good luck with the exam!


Image: Freepik


  • Miguel de la Fuente

    Cloud Architect at Keepler. I have developed my career in the fields of Data Engineering and Cloud Computing. "I enjoy designing solutions, helping the team to find solutions to complex problems as well as learning everyday from these challenges. In fact, I am passionate about learning, not only about topics related to tech but also to other things like languages"