Getting started with HashiCorp Terraform Associate

HashiCorp Terraform, a technology that started off with a huge focus within the cloud space, now has really good support for network and security products, across a plethora of vendors. With this in mind (and by the fact you’re reading this article), you probably want to learn the best way to approach getting a bit more knowledge around Terraform – perfect, read on!

When I learn new technologies, I like to follow a certification; this is because there’s a structured learning path and test to verify you know, what you think you know (move aside ego), and you get something shiny at the end. I decided a few weeks back to attempt the ‘HashiCorp Terraform Associate’ certification, and truth be told – it was one of the most enjoyable certifications I’ve ever studied for; this article outlines the resources I used and also defines some exam tips and tricks.

Getting started

The first place I like to look at, whenever studying for a new certification is the blueprint – the blueprint outlines exactly what you need to know, broken down into the weighting for each subject matter. This blueprint can be found here.

Get familiar with the blueprint; own it, obsess with it so you understand what you need to know to achieve your certification. This, by the way, isn’t exclusive to this exam – always start with the blueprint, know what you need to know.

The second thing to know is that this certification’s goal is to give you an understanding of Terraform and the operations it can perform. You will not walk away a Terraform expert as a result of this, but you will walk away with some insight on what Terraform can do, how it’s done, why it’s done and you’ll understand when Terraform is the right tool for the job.

Learning Materials

There are quite a lot of resources out there for this exam – the important thing is that this exam tests version Terraform version 0.14 and higher, so try to find materials according to that. Here’s a list of what I used: –

  • ACloudGuru – Link here
    • This was a great resource, I did find it lacked depth in places
    • You can consume this with their free trial, inclusive of their labs – so depending on how much time you have to throw at it, it may not cost you a penny
    • The lab environment in-built to this platform is great, it stops any risk of going outside of AWS Free Tier
  • ExamProTV – Link here
    • Totally free
    • Good labs throughout this video series – uses AWS Free Tier
    • In-built (safe – no dumps) practice questions if you make an account on their website
    • Short course, easy to consume
  • Official certification guide – Link here
    • Great resource, mapping directly with the blueprint
    • I used about half of this and flicked throughout to deep-dive on subjects I wanted more explanation of
    • Labs a great, uses AWS Free Tier.
  • Exam Review – Link Here
    • 24 hours before your exam, consume this
    • This covers the theory of the exam, mapped to the blueprint – in bitesize portions

The Exam

The exam was fair – I found the questions were written well, with a selection of drag and drops, and multiple choice. The exam itself didn’t seem to test any wildcard topics – well done HashiCorp, a lot of other vendors don’t do this!

I would say, the platform you take the exam on, however……not so friendly. I’ve tested multiple times with Pearson previously, which does have its challenges but this was another level, checking behind the ears, under the keyboard and mouse – the list goes on.

I’d say, turn up as early as possible, so reduce your stress on the day – once the exam had begun, I had no problems, though.

This concludes this particular article, however, please do reach out to me on LinkedIn, or here if you have any questions, I am happy to help. Best of luck with your Terraform endeavors, I hope this helped!

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