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 student 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 & Azure will require you to sign up for an account in order to access the 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 the costs 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 you initial skill level and the complexity of the topic, as a guideline allow to spend two to fours 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 invest in reading deeper into topics, redo labs, and create your own projects and experiments. A mix of modeling and repetition methods can help to build a mental model of how services interact.

To help you get the most out of the effort, we encourage to check out the AWS Certification Exam Prep Guide (opens in new tab). The course is taught by Mattias Andersson who is one of the few people to score a 100% on an AWS exam.

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 aspect of the course you don't understand, you may need to consult other documentations from the vendor or the internet.

A Cloud Guru also have a community discussion forum where you can search for previous discussions of the issue, or post a new question asking for those in the community to assist. Our lecturers and moderators are often active in the forum and will assist when they have opportunity.

In general this is a community forum with other students, alumni, professionals and guest specialists participating. To get the most out of it please be polite and phrase your questions thoughtfully so that others can understand the issue and provide guidance. Poorly phrased, abrasive, or demanding posts are likely to be ignored (or deleted by moderators) so keep it fun and keep it friendly.

I like to interact with other students

For many, study is a social activity and they like to interact with others. The community discussion forum is a good place for interaction and to help you test your knowledge. We encourage you to make use of it to; discuss and debate topics, to challenge yourself and to engage with others. The forum questions also provided a valuable way to test your own understanding while helping others to learn. Every question raised in the community is an opportunity to test yourself, and practice your researching skills.

All of the moderators on this site do exactly that to stay fresh and up to date. Join the team and participate. Start by reading and trying to understand, then as you learn more start helping others. Just check you facts before you write your opinion.

Do I really need to learn all this content?

This questions is covered in What do I really need to learn for the exam?

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 chose between the established exam, a Beta exam, or a new exam version.

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