What do I need to start studying?

Tags: ACG

At A Cloud Guru, we recognize our students come from a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds. Some may have a lifetime of experience within the IT industry, others from academic study, and many with very little technical training. Here are ways our students have approached studying on our website.

What resources do I need to do this study?

Our courses are designed to be self-contained: each course contains the lessons, labs, and/or quizzes related to the topic. In our courses, we also direct you to vendor or public domain documentation when further reading is recommended. There is no need to buy additional textbooks or lab packs.

You will need a workstation that will allow browser access to the internet, plus SSH, and ideally RDP connection to the AWS environments—basically any reasonably current desktop or laptop of any type.

The courses are "lean" in that they focus on delivering what you need for that exam or skill set, and do not contain material that is not in some way applicable. If you are interested in becoming an expert in your desired topic area, we encourage you to read and experiment beyond the framework we present in our courses. However that need not require any significant additional expense.

In many cases, there will be a need to set up a lab environment. This will be detailed in the early lectures, and will normally use vendor or freeware products and software. Some of the vendor platforms such as AWS and Azure will require you to sign up for an account in order to access resources. This part of your training is important in order to practice with real-world resources. As part of the course, we provide advice on how to avoid and minimize cost, but you will need to include that in your planning.

See Manage your AWS costs for more information.

How much time and effort?

Anything worthwhile takes effort. Our courses are designed to lead students through learning topics and demonstrate techniques. However, you cannot learn new skills without practice and personal involvement. How many hours of personal input you need to invest will depend on the course and what you want to get out of it. Depending on your initial skill level and the complexity of the topic, as a guideline, plan to spend two to four times the course length on study and practice.

You will certainly need to block out time every week to study. The more time invested and the smaller the gaps between the study, the faster you will learn and the sooner you will begin to grasp the topics.

These activities will depend on your study methods. You may need to read deeper into topics, redo labs, and create your own projects and experiments. A mix of modeling and repetition methods can help build a mental model of how services interact.

To help you get the most out of this effort, we encourage you to check out the AWS Certification Exam Prep Guide (opens in new tab).

What if I don't understand something?

Our courses are designed for self-study. They include an abundance of information and guidance. However, we all come to the course from different backgrounds—if there are aspects of the course you don't understand, you may need to consult other documentation from the vendor or the internet.

Should I do the current exam or the Beta exam?

From time to time, the exams are refreshed and you will have a period where you can choose between the established exam, a Beta exam, or a new exam version. This choice is up to you.

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