AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials (AWS CLF-C02) certification + Obsidian Vault Preloaded

Romell Avendaño
7 min readNov 23, 2023

Facing a certification exam is always a challenge. A long but finite journey opens doors to more knowledge and opportunities.

Update 1: Recently the Obsidian Vault was updated to contain more than 300 files.

Update 2: Last Friday 22nd March I took this certification exam, which I passed. ;)

Image generated by Copilot

There are those who, in the pursuit of their professional growth, go like hunters or gatherers, one certification after another, with a strategy of: “study, pass, next.” To get the respective credential and continue to the next without much interest in integrating that new knowledge, but rather to climb as fast as possible a particular ladder. It is not something I share much, but it is feasible, and I respect those who do it because I have seen it.

However, I believe more in the strategy of “study and integrate” so that this newly acquired material is processed, understood, and “digested” more organically and consciously, thus adding this new knowledge to the rest of what I have in my head, generating more links, more connections, and more understanding.

Indeed, this path takes a little longer, but it is much more fruitful and profitable in the long run and provides a greater sense of accomplishment.

So when I decided to embark on the pursuit of my Amazon Cloud Practitioner Essentials certification (AWS CLFC02), I took it very seriously and set goals, a study plan, a strategy with a focus on understanding (rather than memory and repetition), and added a couple of tools to help me efficiently manage all the information I needed to get through the process.

Amazon Cloud Practitioner Essentials certification (AWS CLFC02) Tips

Go to the source.

In my high school years, I had a chemistry teacher who always responded to any question we asked him: “Go to the source.”

I can’t tell you the level of annoyance this generated in me because I felt he was getting out of the situation very comfortably, not explaining anything to us. Today, I understand. Excuse me, dear professor, wherever you are.

That’s my first recommendation: go to the source. And by that, I mean feed yourself with the official information provided by the certification provider, which, for the case of AWS, Amazon provides lots and lots of official information from their website with an outstanding level of detail and in multiple languages. Here is the link to their HomePage: https://aws.amazon.com/, so bookmark it.

Youtube Videos

YouTube is another important source for understanding concepts and getting to know the experience and recommendations of others around the AWS material and the exam. I guarantee that with little effort, you will find many videos from people who have spent much time generating specialized content. In addition, AWS provides on its channel official information of all kinds based on its cloud services. Another site to include in your favorites:

Amazon Web Services

chatGPT

You were expecting to see our clever friend around, or maybe not, but the important thing is that he can be a great ally. I specifically used it to understand how some Amazon cloud services integrated or worked together. And it’s just plain cool. If you don’t understand technology much, you can ask him to explain how a Load Balancer (Amazon ELB) works as if you were five years old, and you will understand it perfectly with chocolates and toys. If it’s too basic for you, you can take it up a notch and have him explain it again as a professional in ‘x’ area with such a level of expertise, or better specify a certain level of detail on a particular aspect, and he’ll do that too. I used the standard, free version of chatGPT35, which is very helpful.

SkillBuilder

It is necessary to complete this resource to understand the world of AWS. After free registration on the site https://skillbuilder.aws/, you can access an incredible catalog of Amazon courses and official training material.

In particular, the AWS Cloud Practitioner Essential certification (AWS CLF-C02) is this course in English, but it is also available in Spanish.

Image from Internet

Although it looks like a short course (only 4 hours), it contains enough material to overflow you in one day. So the recommendation here is:

  • Enroll in the course.
  • Take a look at it.
  • Try to watch one module (there are 11) per week so you can digest all the details of each module calmly.

Some modules are more complex than others, but in general, I had the feeling of going through a Gaussian bell: it starts easy, gets more complicated, reaches a top, and starts going down.

Gauss Bell: Image from internet.

Create or join a study group or community.

I started a weekly study group at work to take this certification exam in the first Q of next year. We started about 20 or so people with a lot of enthusiasm; now we are 3–5 people active in this process, but those 3–5 people have tremendous value in participating, comparing our notes, and teaching others our understanding. Having a group that shares the same interests as you is one of the best motivators you will find.

I talk in more details in this article:

Why joining a group can help you achieve your goals? | by Romell Avendaño | Oct, 2023 | Medium

FlashCards

It’s not rocket science — cards with a front as a question and a back as an answer. You can make them physically and write them by hand individually or with a digital tool. I used Anki, which, in addition to being free, is cross-platform, allowing you to practice wherever you want, keeping metrics, configuring it, etc. It’s amazing.

Anki — powerful, intelligent flashcards

Mock exams or simulations

The first mock exam I took for the AWS Cloud Practitioner Essential certification (AWS CLF-C02) was like a round with Mike Tyson. They were hard punches that hit me right where my weakest (knowledge) parts were. But it is a necessary step if you want to identify what your gaps are to tone them up and strengthen them for the next fight.

There are many resources for this online, some paid, some free. I recommend visiting YouTube and looking for material about it. There are entire videos of over 1 hour where you go through 65 questions, one by one, and with a similar experience to the exam, allowing you to pause the video, think a bit, select the answer, and then continue celebrating if you got it right or taking notes when you didn’t and why not.

Generate a second specialized brain with Obsidian.

I use Obsidian for almost everything. It is one of the best tools I have come across that has helped me model, relate, and understand the information I consume, why I consume it, and what results I can produce from it.

So, while I was in my learning and study process, which has lasted a couple of months, I created a Obsidian Vault and started to model and relate on the fly the information I was consuming from the course with Obsidian, module by module. I also added many topics that pertain to the AWS world and therefore to the exam, (but do not appear in the official AWS course), finally generating more than 300 interrelated files, containing the most important topics related to this certification.

The complete Vault with over 300 files in English is available for purchase at the following site. If you decide to buy, you will be helping me a lot to continue generating and making this kind of content available to the community.

Obsidian Vault with Second Brain Preloaded: AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials (CLF-C02) Certification Topics. Here: https://bit.ly/3urY0IX

Image from my Obsidian Vault (Full Version)

I also have a version of this obsidian vault available for FREE, with less information of course, but it could be useful for your certification study. You can find it here: https://bit.ly/3xzForY

Image from my Obsidian Vault (FREE Version)

Understand the basics of the exam in form and substance.

There is nothing worse than having dedicated an enormous effort to study and not knowing how Amazon requires the conditions to take the exam remotely, how much time you have, how the dynamic is, how the evaluation is, and very significantly, how much it will cost you, why yes, you must pay for it.

Here, you can find an excellent summary of the differences between the AWS CLF-C02 and the previous (yes, there was an earlier version) AWS CLF-C01.

The new AWS Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C02): What to expect

And of course, the official one: Coming soon: updates to AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam | AWS Training and Certification Blog (amazon.com)

Finally Advice: Trust but verify

In general and just as a verification measure, I recommend that any unofficial material, i.e., not coming directly from AWS that you get your hands on, whether it is generated by chatGPT, a YouTube video, a paper, or similar, you apply this “Trust but verify” rule against the official documentation. It may generate minimal additional effort, but it is well worth it to solidify your knowledge with the correct information.

I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to dive into this reading. Your support means a lot, and I’m genuinely thrilled you’re a part of this journey. 🤖 🪐

Your thoughts, opinions, and feedback are invaluable to me. I’d love to hear what resonated with you or any ideas you might have. So, don’t hesitate to drop a comment or reach out — let’s keep the conversation going!

Until next time wonderful readers and remember, Life is a DIY Project… 🚀 😎

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Romell Avendaño

Life is a DIY project, that's why I write about technology, innovation, productivity and more. Also I'm Obsidian Fan and I assure you I'm not a robot) 🤖