How to Become an AWS Cloud Practitioner in 2023: Courses and Resources

Cloud computing has revolutionized the technology industry. According to Flexera‘s 2021 State of the Cloud Report, over 92% of enterprises now use cloud services, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the clear market leader. As more companies move to the cloud, AWS skills are in high demand. The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification is the best way to validate your AWS knowledge as a cloud beginner.

In this comprehensive guide, you‘ll learn everything you need to know to pass the Cloud Practitioner exam and launch your cloud career in 2023.

Why Get AWS Certified?

With over 200 services, AWS offers organizations infinite possibilities to innovate faster, lower costs, and scale rapidly. AWS certifications validate your ability to design, deploy, and operate workloads on the industry’s most adopted cloud platform.

As per Global Knowledge‘s 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report, certified AWS professionals earn an average salary of $150,000 annually in North America. The AWS Cloud Practitioner certification serves as the entry point to learning AWS fundamentals that apply across all verticals.

Even if you don‘t intend to pursue an AWS career, understanding the cloud‘s financial and security implications is invaluable in today‘s landscape. Let‘s explore how to ace the Cloud Practitioner exam.

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam Details

The CLF-C01 Cloud Practitioner certification exam consists of 65 multiple-choice and multiple-response questions. You get 90 minutes to complete the exam, which is available at local testing centers globally. It costs $100 to take the exam, but some AWS partners and training providers offer discounts.

Here is the percentage weightage across the major domains tested:

  • Cloud Concepts – 26%
  • Security and Compliance – 25%
  • Technology – 33%
  • Billing and Pricing – 16%

To pass, focus on understanding:

  • The basics of cloud computing and AWS services
  • AWS security best practices
  • Technology options on AWS for storage, compute, networking
  • Account setup, access management, and pricing models

Now let‘s explore the best courses and resources to master these areas through hands-on learning.

Recommended Video Courses

Structured video courses that explain AWS fundamentals using real-world examples are the best way to prepare for Cloud Practitioner. Here are top-rated courses on platforms like Udemy, A Cloud Guru, and YouTube.

Ultimate AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Course (Udemy)

With a 4.7-star average rating and over 500,000 students, Stephane Maarek‘s Ultimate AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Course is amongst the highest rated.

Key details:

  • 14 hours of video content
  • 8 practice tests with 65 questions each
  • Covers all services, including S3, EC2, VPC, IAM
  • Regularly updated for new AWS features
  • $12.99 when on sale (regular $99.99)

As an experienced AWS solutions architect and trainer, Stephane explains even complex topics in an easy-to-understand manner. The hands-on demos give you confidence to deploy AWS services yourself.

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner 2023 – Full Course (Udemy)

Neal Davis‘ AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner 2023 course is also highly rated with a 4.7-star average.

Key details:

  • 8 hours of video tutorials
  • 5 simulation exams with 65 questions each
  • 300-page digital study guide
  • 12-month access to practice exams
  • $12.99 when discounted (regular $194.99)

As an AWS certified solutions architect associate, Neal structures the curriculum based on experience training Fortune 500 companies. The interactive tests make grasping concepts like IAM policies and S3 storage classes easier.

A Cloud Guru AWS Cloud Practitioner Course

With passionate instructors and an engaging learning platform, A Cloud Guru is hugely popular for AWS certification prep. Their Cloud Practitioner course includes:

Key details:

  • 9 hours of bite-sized video tutorials
  • Pre/post-course knowledge assessments
  • Visual diagrams and summaries
  • Quizzes at the end of each module
  • $29/month subscription (7 day free trial)

Led by senior AWS solutions architect Sam Kroonenberg, this course cuts through the jargon for business professionals unfamiliar with technical concepts. The real-world examples clearly demonstrate the benefits of AWS cloud adoption.

Pluralsight AWS Cloud Practitioner Exam Prep Course

Designed specifically around passing the CLF-C01 exam, Pluralsight‘s Cloud Practitioner course offers targeted test prep.

Key details:

  • Over 2 hours of video
  • AWS exam question review
  • Practice questions like the actual test
  • Exam tips and preparation plan
  • $45/month subscription (10 day free trial)

With deep experience as a cloud architect and engineer, instructor David Tucker focuses solely on the key topics tested. This makes it an efficient course when you‘re short on time or combining multiple resources.

Free AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Course (YouTube)

If you‘re on a tight budget, check out freeCodeCamp‘s 7-hour AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner course on YouTube.

Key details:

  • 7 hours of video lectures
  • Available completely free
  • Workbooks and slides provided
  • Sample tests and cheatsheets
  • Practice designing AWS architecture

Led by ex-CTO Andrew Brown, it offers a comprehensive curriculum covering all fundamental concepts. The free workbooks strengthen recall as you progress through the videos.

Comparison of Video Course Options

While the exam content stays largely consistent, AWS updates the certification frequently to include latest services and best practices. Ensure any video course you pick was updated recently in 2022 or 2023 for optimal relevance.

Here is a comparison of the critical factors to help determine the best video course as per your learning requirements:

Course Cost Hours Assessment Updated Use if need…
Stephane Maarek $12.99 14 8 practice tests Dec 2022 Structured curriculum + realistic tests
Neal Davis $12.99 8 5 exams, 300-page guide Jan 2023 Digital study guide for quick reviewing
A Cloud Guru $29/month 9 Knowledge assessments Quarterly Engaging format to stay motivated
Pluralsight $45/month 2 Targeted practice questions Regularly Focused test prep when short on time
Andrew Brown Free 7 Sample tests, cheatsheets 2022 Comprehensive course on a budget

Spend time exploring their free trials and sample videos to determine your best personal fit.

Online Practice Tests

While video courses build AWS conceptual knowledge, taking mock tests exposes you to the actual exam format and question style. Here are top-rated practice exam resources:

Jon Bonso AWS Practice Exams (Udemy)

Jon Bonso has helped thousands of learners pass AWS certifications through his meticulously designed practice exams on Tutorials Dojo. He also offers discounted packages on Udemy:

Key details:

  • 7 full-length practice exams
  • New question sets just like the actual test
  • Timed mode simulates real test conditions
  • Detailed explanations for every question
  • $12.99 on Udemy (reg. $99.99)

With over 15 years of AWS architecture experience, Jon crafts questions that accurately represent the exam pattern. Taking these tests in study mode first, then timed mode is the best strategy.

Stephane Maarek Practice Exams (Udemy)

As the top Cloud Practitioner instructor worldwide, Stephane Maarek also offers 6 full practice exams tailored for the CLF-C01 test.

Key details:

  • 6 unique 150-minute practice exams
  • New questions added regularly
  • Equally difficult as real certification
  • $9.99 when discounted on Udemy

With tens of thousands of satisfied AWS students, Stephane models his practice tests to match the actual difficulty you‘ll face during the exam. Taking these under time constraints is vital.

Digital Cloud Practice Questions

For free and constantly updated practice questions, Digital Cloud Training offers a huge question bank around AWS basics.

Key details:

  • Over 500 unique practice questions
  • Free access, no email signup
  • Questions updated weekly
  • Answer explanations provided
  • Randomized like the real test

Designed to build exam confidence for professionals getting started with AWS cloud, these questions align with all the key concepts tested.

Additional reputable sources of affordable practice exams include Whizlabs, TestPrepTraining, and KnowledgeHut.

I recommend taking at least 3000 questions from multiple providers for the highest exam readiness. Time yourself like it‘s the real test when reviewing questions to get comfortable with the pace needed.

Complementary Resources

Beyond courses and practice exams, additional resources to reference while preparing include:

AWS Whitepapers

AWS publishes in-depth technical whitepapers on all key services and best practices around security, architecture design, and cost management. These complement video courses with deeper insights.

AWS Docs

For API documentation around utilizing services through the CLI, SDKs, and programatically, the official AWS docs are invaluable as standardized reference sources.

Cloud forums & groups

Connecting with other AWS community members tackling certification and career transitions through forums like Reddit, Discord, and Facebook groups provides support and motivation as you work to upskill.

Linux systems administration

Most AWS backend infrastructure relies on Linux for configuration and automation. Having fundamental Linux skills like managing users, processes, networking, storage, permissions etc. goes hand in hand with cloud fluency.

Incorporating free resources like whitepapers, documentation, peer groups, and self-study into your learning roadmap accelerates real-world cloud readiness beyond just passing an exam.

Creating your AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Study Plan

With an organized study plan balancing courses, practice tests, and supplemental materials, you can confidently prepare to pass in under 2 months if you dedicate 5 hours daily.

Here is an example study timeline:

Month 1

  • Week 1: Stephane Maarek video course (14 hours)
  • Week 2: A Cloud Guru + AWS Docs references (10 hours)
  • Week 3: Neal Davis study guide review + practice tests (10 hours)
  • Week 4: Jon Bonso practice exams (first pass) (10 hours)

Month 2

  • Week 5: Linux administration + AWS CLI crash course (10 hours)
  • Week 6: Review tough concepts, practice tests (timed mode) (15 hours)
  • Week 7: Final practice exams & assessments (10 hours)
  • Week 8: Sleep well and ace your exam!

This balances different teaching styles across video courses, strengthens retention through supplemental reading, and validates exam readiness via extensive timed practice tests.

Stay motivated by tracking your progress, not getting overwhelmed by the volume of content, and identifying weaker knowledge areas to double down through practice questions.

Explore Advanced AWS Skills

While intended for cloud beginners, the exponential demand for AWS skills makes Cloud Practitioner only the start of your cloud learning journey.

After certification, to expand your capabilities with in-demand skills, explore learning pathways like:

  • Solutions Architect Associate: Design resilient AWS architectures core infrastructure services

  • SysOps Administrator Associate: Administer, monitor and operate distributed AWS workloads

  • Developer Associate: Build cloud-native applications leveraging serverless, containers

  • DevOps Engineer: Implement CI/CD pipelines, infrastructure-as-code automation

  • Security Specialty: Manage cloud security including data protection, identity policies, complance audits

  • Advanced Networking: Architect VPCs, hybrid connectivity, route policies across global infrastructure

Combining Cloud Practitioner fundamentals with any of these role-focused certifications sets you up for long-term cloud success.

Go Forth and Conquer the Cloud!

By earning the foundational AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification, you validate to employers that you grasp the business value of cloud computing and can recommend the right AWS services for organizational needs after conducting a total cost analysis based on utilization.

As more companies aim to optimize spend as they transition legacy infrastructure to the cloud, your skills will be invaluable. With an investment of consistent time over two months preparing through comprehensive video courses and realistic practice exams, you can confidently pass the CLF-C01 exam on your first attempt.

Remember to choose video courses that have been recently updated for 2023 and take advantage of reputable discounted packages on Udemy. Supplement with free AWS whitepapers, documentation, Linux skills training and active community participation for deeper understanding.

Share any questions in the comments and stay tuned for our next guide on solutions architect associate certification!