The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CCP) exam is one that I would recommend to anyone interested in learning the basics of AWS or looking to get their feet wet in the cloud security space. It is a great beginner’s exam for those people such as myself who are seeking to establish a firm foothold in the security industry.

It is no secret that more and more companies are moving toward using cloud infrastructure and completing this certification allows you to begin to understand how organizations organize their cloud environments.

Overall testing tips

This was the first professional certification of my young career and it was an exceptional learning experience for me. The exam is 65 questions and you are allotted 90 minutes to complete the test. I finished fairly quickly; it only took me about 45 minutes to conclude the exam. I finished with a final score of 802/1000.

The questions are pretty straightforward and consist of four sections: Security, Cloud Concepts, Technology, and Billing and Pricing. The technology section encompassed the largest portion of the exam at 36%, followed by Cloud Concepts at 28%, Security at 24%, and finally Billing and Pricing at 12%. It is important to understand the technological and cloud concepts aspect of the exam as they make up the biggest portions of the test.

You must also pay attention to the syntax of the question and the terminology that is used because the difference of one word can alter the outcome of the question, such as knowing the difference between a “global service” and a “regional service. Some of the questions also may provide the answer as to which service to use in the answers, so be sure to focus on what the question is asking.

If you ever come to a point where you’re unsure of what the answer could be, use the process of elimination method to narrow down the answer choices. Usually, you can identify at least 1 or 2 answer choices that can be eliminated from your decision process.

Some questions have clear and concise answers such as: which AWS service allows you to create access policies and control who has access to your AWS resources? Answer: AWS Identity and Access Management. Other questions are situational and ask if a company desires to perform a specific function in which service will best fulfill their needs. It is important to understand the different services that AWS offers and comprehend the functionality of those services.

Study resources

This exam took me about 3 weeks to study before I felt knowledgeable enough to register for it. Relatively speaking this is not a difficult exam to study for. Unlike most professional certification exams, it is not imperative to have extensive hands-on experience working with AWS to pass the CCP exam. I’ve only been working with AWS for a few months but the resources I used aided me in my preparation for the test.

freeCodeCamp: This is a 4-hour crash course on AWS and some of the services that they offer that are presented for free on their website This course was very beneficial because it provided a summary of all of the services that would be mentioned on the exam. I was able to complete the course in only half of a workday, so it was not very time-consuming.

TutorialDojo: This gave me quite a substantial amount of practice exams and quizzes that allowed me to grasp the format of the AWS CCP exam rather quickly. Their practice exams also enabled me to get a feel for the timed aspect of the exam which is important to be aware of while taking the exam to keep a steady pace and ensure you still have enough time to go back and review your answers.

What’s next?

Passing the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam was a huge accomplishment for me and my career. I plan on riding this wave for the next few months and will begin studying for the AWS Solutions Architect Associate. My goal is to earn between 2 and 3 more AWS certifications before 2021 is over. I would 100% recommend anyone who is looking to get into the cloud security industry to take the AWS CCP as it is a great entry-level certification that holds significant weight to its namesake.

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