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AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate (CSOA) Exam Study Guide and Materials

Following on from my previous AWS exam experience post for the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate (CSOA) exam from Amazon, the following describes the study materials I used towards the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate exam.

As a reminder, this is my third AWS exam, having completed the AWS Certified Solution Architect Associate and AWS Certified Developer Associate exams earlier in the year. As such the materials I used to study towards the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate exam are more sparse, due to the level of knowledge I already have.

For a really full picture of all of the materials I’ve used over the last 12 months, I highly recommend you check out the Certified Solution Architect Associate exam experience and the Certified Solution Architect Associate study guides, along with a number of tips, tricks and gotchas I have posted over the past few months. I also did a podcast recently with Scott Lowe on the subject of learning AWS. If you are new to AWS, I highly recommend you check it out!bill was study Certified SysOps Administrator

Study Materials

Whilst studying for the exam, I used the following study materials:

Want to Learn More?

Don’t forget to check out myExam Experience and Tips post here:

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate (CSOA) Exam Experience & Tips

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate (CSOA) Exam Experience & Tips

The information bellow covers my experience for the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate (CSOA) exam from Amazon. Following this I will post a list of my study materials, so keep checking back for updates or check out my Index of AWS Posts.

Before you continue reading, I would first note that this is my third AWS exam, having completed the AWS Certified Solution Architect Associate and AWS Certified Developer Associate exam earlier this year. The associate trifecta! As such the materials I used to study towards the exam are more sparse, due to the level of knowledge I already have.

For a really full picture of all of the materials I’ve used over the last 12 months, I highly recommend you check out the following guides:

Along with a number of tips, tricks and gotchas I have posted over the past few months. I also did a podcast recently with Scott Lowe on the subject of learning AWS. If you are new to AWS, I highly recommend you check it out!

AWS Certified SysOps Associate (CSOA)

AWS Certified SysOps Associate (CSOA) Exam Experience

Almost everything I read in the run up to taking the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator, suggested that it was going to be really hard and a step up from the Solution Architect exam. My personal experience when I took it in December 2016 was that it was really on a par with the SA exam, and the reputation was perhaps a tad overblown.

This could be for one of several reasons; I’ve been doing AWS designs for several months now at work; this is the third AWS exam I’ve taken; or the exam has become marginally easier now that they seem to have removed some of the older EC2 Classic questions ad brought it a little more up to date. I suspect the latter is the most likely reason, but with some benefit from the former!

Based on my experience of the exams so far, I think I would definitely recommend the order people approach these as Solution Architect first to give you a thorough grounding in all of the products, then the Developer as it was fairly easy and just broadened your knowledge, finally followed by SysOps.

As I have previously mentioned, AWS seem to structure their exams with some general questions across their portfolio, then specific technologies taking precedence in each. The SysOps seemed to me to be about two-thirds of the Solution Architect exam again, with the last third having more of a focus on CloudWatch and CloudFormation. If you have already passed the SA exam, you should have no issues with this content, though the remaining questions I had were a touch trickier, as they were fairly in depth / specific.cloudformation

The exam itself is the same length as the other associate ones, at 80 minutes and 55 questions. Again AWS (as is their way) do some odd things like not giving you a passing grade requirement, but it’s generally safe to assume that if you get 70% or more, in the Certified SysOps Administrator Associate exam then you will pass. The Kryterion exam environment is frankly pretty dated, but I already wrote about that in the CSA guide here, so I won’t repeat myself again! Suffice to say, read the other article for a detailed overview.

Best of luck, and if you found this article useful, please leave a comment below! 🙂

Want to Learn More?

Part 2 of this article, the AWS Certified Developer Associate exam study guide and materials, will be posted soon!

AWS for VMware Admins – London VMUG Slide Deck

Last week, Chris Porter and I did a presentation at the London VMUG on AWS for VMware admins, a simple beginners guide with a few gotchas and tips we’ve picked up along our journeys to the public cloud.

The session itself was pretty well received, and we were lucky enough to have standing room only attendance (it was a very small room! 🙂 ).

To open up proceedings and get a feel for our audience, we ran a quick survey of the 50 or so VMware professionals who were in attendance, and the results were pretty interesting.

To the question “Have you played with AWS before?”, over half of the room raised their hands, though with a caveat from one attendee who asked if creating the account qualifies! (You know who you are!)

“Do you have any AWS experience on the job?” saw a number of hands drop, and perhaps 30-40% of the room said yes.

What was most interesting was that to the penultimate question “Are you using AWS in Production today?”, only a single hand in the room remained raised!

Finally, we asked “Are you planning to do any AWS certs in the next 12 months?” and the resounding answer from over 60%-70% of the audience was a clear yes!

Conclusions

So what conclusions can we draw from this straw poll?

Seemingly most of the attendees were either using AWS for dev/test or simply playing with it in the work lab, however with a clear preference to complete certs this year, the future is certainly looking a lot more cloudy for your average VMware administrator, either in their current organisation, or perhaps even elsewhere!

Slide Deck

Anyway, enough jibber jabbing! You can find a copy of the slide deck below:

AWS for VMware Admins Deck

If you were unable to make the session and happen to be in or around Glasgow on April 20th, we will hopefully be doing a repeat!

Further Reading

If you want to find out more about AWS, certification, etc, I have a load of additional resources and posts available here:

Index of Tekhead.it Blog Posts on Amazon AWS

Juxtaposition Time! Join us at London VMUG to talk AWS! – January 19th 2017

Don’t panic, you’re not imagining things! You did indeed read that title right! If everything goes to plan, Chris Porter and I will be taking the January 2017 London VMUG to a whole new place, with a session on AWS!

Yes, that’s an AWS session at a VMUG! 😮

Why?

For those people who have been living in a bunker on the isle of Arran for the past few years, AWS has been taking the IT industry by storm. So much so, at VMworld 2016, VMware announced their new product “VMware Cloud on AWS“!

Whatever the reasons that VMware have decided to do this (and I’m not going to go into my opinions of that right now), it leaves VMware admins in a position where even if they aren’t already doing some AWS today, the likelihood of them doing so in the near future has just jumped by an order of magnitude!

Meanwhile in a parallel universe...

Meanwhile in a parallel universe…

What’s the session about then?

The session is planned to be a quick intro on the key features of AWS, some tips on how to learn more and get certified, as well as some of Chris and my experiences of working with and designing for AWS (which is rather different to doing things in VMware, for sure!).

Hopefully it should be a pretty interesting session, especially if you haven’t had much exposure to AWS yet!

What else can you see at the event?

As always, there will be many awesome speakers at the London VMUG event. Ricky El-Quasem is even doing two by himself!

There will also be a load of other sessions, so check out the agenda below:

LonVMUG Jan 2017Wrapping up the event there will also be the eponymous vBeers event at the Old Bank of England (194 Fleet St, London EC4A 2LT), so make sure you hang around after and join us for what is often the best part of the day!

Lastly, thanks very much to the LonVMUG sponsors, Rubrik, iLand and Stormagic, without whom it would not be possible to hold these events!

I’m in! How do I register?

You can register for the event at the London VMUG workspace here:

LonVMUG January 2017 Registration

The location is techUK, 10 St Bride St, London, EC4A, which is pretty easy to get to via your preferred public transport methods, though coming in via Waterloo I generally find the bus to be fastest…

If you do see me on the day (I’m 6’7” so you cant miss me), please do come and say hi! 🙂

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