Scott Domes

How to learn AWS

My 10 week plan

April 28, 2020

AWS is the infrastructure of the internet. It’s the cheapest way to host and manage a web application, and the tooling is getting more and more powerful with time.

However, it’s not easy.

There are so many services, and they’re interwoven in complex ways.

Though, I’ve worked as a front-end and back-end developer for years now, the infrastructure side has always been a weakness of mine.

But I really aspire to be the total engineer—the person who can develop an entire app, start to finish—and so I’ve had my eye on the AWS Developer Certificate for awhile.

Now’s the time. This is my 10 week learning plan for earning my certificate.

Note that I’m already about 4 weeks in, since I started studying at the beginning of this month.

The plan

For now, my focus is solely on passing the exam.

I deeply believe in practicing hard skills as part of the learning process (see my tweet here), but the AWS Certificate exam is a pure knowledge test. Rote memorization is the name of the game here.

For weeks prior to writing this, I have been following along with Stephane Maarek’s excellent course on AWS. The course claims to have everything one needs to pass the exam. I believe in that.

Other resources out there:

  • freeCodeCamp’s free course (published a couple of weeks AFTER I started Maarek’s, otherwise I would’ve chosen it!)
  • Daniel Vasallo and Josh Pschorr’s The Good Parts of AWS (plan to read this)

My plan is split into three simple parts:

  • research & gather information
  • commit to memory
  • nail the exam

In more detail:

  1. Finish the course, making extensive notes in Notion
  2. Turn notes into flashcards using Anki
  3. Do daily 30 minute quiz sessions, tracking my % correct. When done early, read the Good Parts of AWS
  4. Stop quiz sessions once I get 90%+ for five days in a row
  5. Finish Good Parts of AWS
  6. Ace the exam (maybe)

As a forcing function, I’m scheduling my exam for mid-June.

In terms of dates:

By April 30: Finish course

May: flashcard sessions

June 1-14: Read Good Parts of AWS

June 15: Take exam

I’ll publish another post, a retrospective, after I get my exam results. We’ll take a look at what went well and what didn’t, and what my final score is.

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Scott Domes

How to learn complex skills, without getting discouraged. Subscribe to my newsletter. and follow me on Twitter.