Passing the Alibaba Cloud exams: tips and resources
Having already tested myself against Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google Cloud, I thought it was time to take on some Alibaba Cloud exams in an attempt to add more certifications to my name.
While this platform does not compete with the big 3 in Europe yet, it is a major public cloud provider and has a lot of value-added services. Alibaba Cloud currently would be the preferred choice for businesses that want to have a presence in China, and the cloud provider is expanding in markets such as Asia Pacific and more quietly in Europe and the US. I am predicting this platform with expand westwards considerably over the coming years.
1. Certifications available
Alibaba certificates are divided into 3 levels across 3 categories.
*Please note the Alibaba Cloud Certified Expert exam is not yet available, but we will be updating this page to include information for this exam.
|Alibaba Cloud Certified Associate (ACA)||Alibaba Cloud Certified Professional (ACP)||Alibaba Cloud Certified Expert (ACE)|
|ACA Cloud Computing Associate||ACP Cloud Computing Certification||ACE Cloud Computing Certification|
|ACA Big Data Associate||ACP Big Data Certification||ACE Big Data Certification|
|ACA Cloud Security Associate||ACP Security Solutions Certification||ACE Cloud Security Certification|
2. How to prepare
To get yourself familiar with the offering, I would suggest to start by registering for a free account in Alibaba Cloud. The account comes with $300 free credit for new users which you can use to try out different services.
You need to provide credit card details or use PayPal to sign up, but don’t worry you won’t be charged unless you explicitly agree to buy something.
I haven’t found any courses for Alibaba Cloud on such popular resources as Udemy, Coursera or Pluralsight, but there is plenty of documentation that can be used (see below).
I have found the existing documentation from Alibaba quite impressive. It is written in a very detailed manner and provides not only all information you may need to get yourself up to speed with the service offering, but also information and examples of how to use this service as part of other solutions.
Documentation is split logically into different groups, making it easy to find what you need.
2.1.1 Getting Started
I would recommend getting started with the Alibaba Cloud Overview which they have called "Alibaba Cloud for AWS Professionals".
This overview is useful if you have any experience with AWS, but is still worth watching if you don’t have any at all. The document provides a high level outline of some core services that you definitely need to be familiar with to successfully pass the exam.
2.1.3 Quick Start Videos
Quick Start Videos is a collection of free video materials that show how various things can be done in Alibaba Cloud.
188.8.131.52 Tutorials for New Users
Tutorials for New Users is a section where you can find video guidance for such things like "Registering for a free account" and "Setting up a Ecommerce WebSite" for beginners, or "Configure a WIMP stack" for intermediate and advanced users and much more.
184.108.40.206 Videos about products
220.127.116.11 Solution Videos
Solution Videos is a collection of more advanced videos that help you to understand the solutions in more detail and how they can be built in Alibaba Cloud.
2.1.4 Document Center
Document Center is an archive of detailed articles about each and every one of the Alibaba Cloud services. It also provides an impressive amount of guidance around configuration of the 3rd party services that you can run in the cloud.
2.2 Hands on Labs
There is a set of hands on labs (currently available for free) that you can go through to get yourself familiar with the configuration steps for the main Alibaba Cloud services.
You can find those labs on the LabEx website.
I found them very useful, as they gave me a chance to go through all the configuration steps -covering each one of them with detailed information.
Alibaba is running training in their offices that you can attend to do a deep dive.
I found it quite useful and interesting, as it gave me the chance to clarify any outstanding questions I had about technology or services in Alibaba Cloud, and a chance to meet some Alibaba folk.
3. How to register for the exam
Please take into account that you need 2 separate accounts to complete the whole process: one for the voucher purchase (which is Alibaba Cloud account) and the other is a Pearson account for exam scheduling and results retrieval.
Currently Exam vouchers are sold with a 50% discount.
4. The exam
Make sure you get familiar with the example questions and the outlines for each exam you want to take:
- Alibaba Cloud Associate:
- Alibaba Cloud Professional:
5. My personal experience and advice
5.1 The Alibaba Cloud Certified Associate (ACA) exam
I found the ACA exam to be very straight forward. It’s mostly to verify you have a conceptual understanding of the cloud computing components, their main benefits and limitations. If you are just starting to learn about the cloud, not Alibaba explicitly - this is an exam for you.
5.2 The Alibaba Cloud Certified Professional (ACP) exam
If you’ve already being working with Azure and / or AWS - then you should go for the ACP exam. It includes questions around detailed understanding of the cloud components, how they could be used together and how they can improve the architecture of the solutions if migrated to the cloud. The exam does not have any Case Studies yet.
5.3 Exam tips
- Currently questions are grouped around technologies, which makes working out some answers easier.
- Some questions have double negative statements, so be sure you read them carefully.
- There will be 70 questions for the ACP exam - this feels like a lot of questions, but don’t rush it.
- Remember the exact naming of core components, as it may be important for some questions.
Good luck everyone and keep it cloudy!
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