AWS Certified Solutions Architect Study Guide – Introduction | Quisitive
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AWS Certified Solutions Architect Study Guide – Introduction
January 27, 2016
My journey to becoming an AWS Certified Solution Architect.

Hybrid ArchitectureThe Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect Professional certification is the Professional level cert beyond the CSA Associate exam.  AWS currently offers two Pro level certs – Architect and DevOps – and these are the highest certification levels at this time.  I decided to pursue the CSA Pro cert to set myself apart from other AWS architects and to help Catapult achieve the next level of AWS partner status.

Here is the candidate profile from the certification blueprint and AWS CSA site:

  • Achieved AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
  • Two or more years hands-on experience designing and deploying cloud architecture on AWS.
  • Abilities to evaluate cloud application requirements and make architectural recommendations for implementation, deployment, and provisioning applications on AWS
  • Identify and gather requirements in order to define a solution to be built on AWS
  • Evolve systems by introducing new services and features
  • Assess the tradeoffs and implications of architectural decisions and choices for applications deployed in AWS
  • Design an optimal system by meeting project requirements while maximizing characteristics such as scalability, security, reliability, durability, and cost effectiveness
  • Evaluate project requirements and make recommendations for implementation, deployment, and provisioning applications on AWS
  • Provide best practice and architectural guidance over the lifecycle of a project

As part of my preparation for the AWS CSA Pro certification I compiled lists of documentation and seminars to cover the 8 separate exam focus areas.  I will have a separate blog post containing the exam prep material for each functional area.  Follow the links below to the functional area posts.

  1. High Availability and Business Continuity
  2. Costing
  3. Deployment Management
  4. Network Design
  5. Data Storage
  6. Security
  7. Scalability and Elasticity
  8. Cloud Migration and Hybrid Architecture

All of the material I compiled in each area is free, but there are paid training courses, labs, and practice exams available as well.  I am using the Solution Architect – Professional course from ACloudGuru as a supplement and the practice exam from Kryterion.

Instructor-led classes:

Practice Exam

  • WebAssessor Practice Exam. I had a voucher for a free practice exam that expired last year, so I took this as a pre-study assessment after a few evenings of studying.  One of the reasons I broke up the study guide by section is so that I could focus on weak areas identified by the practice exam.


  • Personal AWS Account.  You should have your own AWS account by now.  If not, go sign up for the free tier.
  • qwikLABS.  QwikLabs offers a Solutions Architect – Professional lab bundle.  They also offer free introductory labs, although I doubt they will be deep enough for the Pro certification.  The introductory labs may be enough if you are using these guides for the Associate exam.

These posts are meant to supplement your studies for the professional certification.  I obviously cannot guarantee you will pass the exam, and this material may not cover all of the features on the exam.  AWS introduces about 10 service or feature updates a week, and although it may take months for these features to show up in the exam, they can show up at any time.  I tried only to use presentations and documentation from 2014 – present. 

This material is meant for the Professional cert, but it can be used for the Associate exam if you want to skip some of the deep dive and masterclass presentations.