I just got back from taking the test, and I am so relieved. That test was much harder than the Solutions Architect Pro exam, and even though I’ve been reading and practicing for a month, I didn’t score as high as I would have liked. Since I haven’t had the need to use Elastic Beanstalk and OpsWorks yet, I had trouble with the highly detailed questions about those services. The test was even more challenging than the practice tests on Whizlabs, so while they were useful for practice, the practice tests were no guarantee.
The testing conditions were much better this time, everything was snappy and no construction noise. There was an accident on the freeway that kept me parked for 30 minutes, which I used to review. The rain was pretty intense, worse when I got out. Definitely grateful to have made it to the testing center in one piece, and to have been able to study and pass this certification. Now, on to Jenkins and Ansible certs!
With the exam expiring on February 17th, I decided to schedule the DevOps Pro certification test on January 26th, giving me a bit over two weeks to get ready. I followed this same practice and got my Solutions Architect Pro cert, so it is time to get down and study hard for this test! Shooting for that 5/5!
#EDIT: pushed it to 2/2, last chance before they change the test!
This was one of the more difficult exams for me, nearly as tough as the SA Pro, mainly because of the nitnoid detail that you have to know off the top of your head instead of looking up the options in the man pages. On a scale of 0-800, with 500 being a pass, I got an 570, which is a humbling experience. Always good to be reminded that you may not be as smart as you think, and need to dive deep to learn all the details. Here are my scores:
System Architecture: 87%
Linux Installation and PKG mngt: 45%
GNU/Linux Commands: 80%
Devices, Filesystems, FHS: 66%
I’m a bit surprised about the last score, but the 45% in package management sounds about right as I couldn’t remember the right flags or specific commands to do the alternative install activities. Outside of yum update -y and rpm -ivvh I need to look it up in the man pages.
The other challenge of this test is the fill in the blank answer, which doesn’t allow for autocomplete or spelling errors. You know it or you don’t.
So, could have been better, but I’ll take this pass and focus even closer on the 102 exam, which I expect to take in 2-3 weeks.
My primary review course was, of course, from Linux Academy, and I also created a set of flash cards from their study guide.
I did also use Exam-Labs for practice, which gave me a chance to understand the question format. Wasn’t a great test taking tool, but worth the $10. I’ll probably buy a practice exam for the second one as well.
I’m taking a bit of a break from finishing the remaining AWS certifications. In an effort to validate my linux skills, not all hard won through diligent googling, I am pursuing the Linux Professional Institute Certification plan. The first stop on the tour is the LPIC-1 Part 1 exam, which I am taking this Saturday. I’ve spent the last two weeks reviewing the Linux Academy videos, alternately trying to stay awake as the instructor’s accelerated chipmunk voice and listening hard for those pieces of common admin task gold that I haven’t had to do yet. It has been a grind, but I feel confident that I can beat this test easily, as I have had to do these tasks fairly regularly over the last twenty years. It is good to review all the switches and options, but I think I may go mad trying to memorize them all.
I wish the tests weren’t two for each level at $200 a piece, but they are good for 5 years, as opposed to AWS certs only lasting two. Just some last minute cram and jam through the study guide, and then take the test. I’m turning into quite the cert queen… If I am lucky, I can review for the second half and take it before the end of the year, maybe clear the LPIC-1 entirely and start working on LPIC-2, which should be a lot more interesting and include tasks I haven’t had to do yet, or only have done once or twice after googling for a solution.
Thanks to the fine folks at LinuxAcademy for having a Black Friday sale, I bought a year’s subscription and have started a path towards the Certified Systems Engineer tests. I can probably take the systems administrator test cold and pass, but prepping for the certification will help me fill in the holes on the tasks and skills I rarely use, but validate the stuff I have to do all the time. I feel like I am giving all my spare cash to testing and prep companies, but I think it will be worth it, if for no other reason than to continue to be a life long learner, rather than just binge watching video content all day.
My goal is to take either the AWS DevOps Engineer Professional or the LPIC-101 / 102 by the end of December. I am also working on the following courses
AWS Specialty Networking (LinuxAcademy)
LPIC-101/102 & 201/202 (LinuxAcademy)
I’m not yet certain if getting all seven AWS certifications is necessary. The Big Data cert is an area where I haven’t spent any time, so it may be the most challenging to get some practical experience. Not sure where it might fit in education at my current level.
I’m still trying to decide if it will be worthwhile to invest in a master’s degree. I didn’t finish my master’s in instructional technology, and it doesn’t make sense to go back to finish it as I will not be doing any classroom teaching. There is an online program at Georgia Tech that looks interesting. Let’s see if the certifications get me anywhere before I start sinking serious money into an advanced degree. Onward and upwards!