In this blog post I will give my review on the latest certification I obtained, Hashicorp Terraform Associate. I will start by describing what Terraform is and then give you my take on how to study to pass this exam at your first attempt.
What is Infrastructure as Code (IaC)
If you are not familiar with the concept of IaC I would recommend you to watch this quick explanation.
What is Terraform
Terraform is an open-source software tool for IaC created by HashiCorp. The tool helps users to define and provision a cloud infra the Hashicorp Configuration Language (HCL), or optionally JSON. Three days ago they also released a CDK with Python and Typescript support. Terraform supports most of the big of cloud infrastructure providers.
The exam is online based and you will be monitored by a proctor. To be able to do the exam you will need to have a webcam, speakers, a microphone and the zoom client installed.
- Exam format: (Link to Sample questions)
- Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
- Multiple Answer Questions (MAQs)
- True or False
- Text match questions.
- No of questions: 57
- Exam duration: 1 hour
- Exam cost: The website says $70.50 plus taxes, for me the total cost including taxes were around 90 euro which is very cheap compared to other certifications.
In this section I will describe how I recommend that you study for this exam. When talking about certifications people always wonder how long time it takes to study for the exam. The answer to that question is the same as always, it depends on your background, your motivation to learn, how much time you can put into it and how easy you have to learn new stuff.
I had no prior knowledge of IaC before starting to study for this exam and I was able to learn the concepts to pass this exam in around two weeks. I have heard people saying that it is recommended to have 1-2 years of experience with Terraform before taking the exam but I don’t think that is necessary.
If you follow my study plan below I don’t think that you will have any problems with passing the exam.
- Official HashiCorp study material
Begin by reading the official study guide.
If you have some experience with Terraform and just want to fresh up your skills before the exam you can read the official exam review instead.
- Spin up a Lab environment
I used Microsoft Azure for this since I’m familiar with Azure and the fact that Microsoft offer you a $200 credit to explore Azure for 30 days. I think that most cloud providers offer similar stuff so choose the cloud provider of your taste and spin up a lab environment.
Installation guide and videos on how to get started are included in the study guide but here is a link directly to the installation video.
- Video courses combined with lab time
My third recommendation is to watch some video courses. Learning from videos is my personal favorite and I really recommend that you watch the videos and try to follow the instructor in your own lab environment. The best video series I found online was on Youtube and it was created by Will Brock. Really awesome content that I highly recommend you to watch.
- Practice exams
When you feel like you understand everything in the videos and have spent some hours in you lab environment I recommend you to do some practice exams so you get a feeling on how the questions will be structured on the real exam. I did some practice exams on Udemy after getting a free voucher from the creator. He shared it in the subreddit /r/Terraform so keep an eye there.
I also found an awesome blog post by a guy named Bhargav Bachina. He goes through each of the exam objectives and have created practice questions based on the objectives. In total there are 250 questions. I really recommend you to read this one.
When you have completed the steps above you should be ready for the exam. I think that the exam was very fair and I would say that 60min is more than enough time. I think that I had around 20 minutes left when I pressed submit.
In summary I would say that Terraform is a really awesome tool and that the certification was fun. I hope you liked this post. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email or contact me at twitter. (@tzusec)