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How to get SnowPro Certified

Have you been thinking about being Snowflake certified but do not know where to start or what resources are used for learning? I recently passed both available certifications — Snowflake Core Designer Certification and SnowPro Advanced Architect certification. I would like to share my learning journey and provide some overview — what resources are available, which are must, which are nice to check, and of course which ones you can skip and still be successful. There are materials provided directly by Snowflake but there are also third-party courses and trainings. If you want it is possible to prepare for certifications for free. Yes, it is possible to get prepared just with free available resources. Let’s start!

Snowflake Core Designer Certification

Your entry point should always be the certification page on the Snowflake website where you can find all the details about all available certifications including Overview, FAQ, or the Study Guide. Actually, the Study Guide should be your holy grail of the whole preparation journey. You can find all the needed details there including the scope of the exam and a breakdown into individual areas and their importance. Guide also breaks down into individual areas (Warehouses, Tables, Encryption, etc.) where it provides a direct link into Snowflake documentation, plus links for additional content like blog posts, videos, etc. I can recommend following the Study Guide and going point by point, reading the documentation, and possibly checking additional content if you are not sure that you fully understand the topic.

SnowPro Core Subject Area breakdown

Also please do not rely only on the theoretical knowledge which you are going to get from reading materials. You should also have real work experience with Snowflake which will help to gain a better understanding of the whole platform and its architecture. If you do not work with Snowflake on real projects, you can create a free trial account and do also practice exercises.

Free Resources

What else apart from the Snowflake Study Guide you can use for your preparation? Let’s have a look at free available resources first.

Snowflake University

Snowflake University is a great place to start learning. Whether you are brand new to Snowflake or are looking to prepare for a certification exam, the platform has a course for you. For certification test prep, I recommend going through the Level Up series which summarizes basics concepts, features, and architecture design. Each lesson firstly explains the topic and then you are asked a few questions to verify your knowledge. There are currently three Level Up series:

  • First Concepts
  • Performance
  • Snowflake Data Marketplace

Each series contains several topics as you can see on the screen below.

Some of the topics from the First Concepts Level Up series

Snowflake University also contains one more resource related to certifications called SnowPro Cert Resources where you can find all needed information related to this certification including the study guide or sample exam where you can test yourselves before going for the real exam. The sample exam is a great way to get a feeling for the exam as it contains 30 questions which are very similar to the questions on the real test.

Documentation

Documentation should be your first place where to go to get the details about particular features. The Study Guide contains direct links to specific documentation articles corresponding to given items in the guide (e.g. Copy command). Personally, I can say Snowflake's documentation is very well structured and organized. It is easy to read and contains code examples related to the topic. All in all, it is a useful resource, even if you are not preparing for a certification exam.

Snowflake Demo Account

Last but not least you can consider creating a demo account which is a freely available resource supporting your learning process. Anyone can make a free Snowflake account for 30 days and $400 of Snowflake credits to use over that month. If you do not have other opportunities for hands-on experience with Snowflake, I strongly recommend signing up for a demo account to get your hands dirty also with some coding. It will definitely help you to get a better understanding of the features you should know to get certified.

Paid Resources

Of course, apart from free resources which you can use for your preparation, there is also some paid content. Let’s quickly go through some of them and let’s start with Snowflake official preparation course. Snowflake offers a course called SnowPro Core Certification Preparation course which is an on-demand course that goes through the topics you need to know for becoming SnowPro Core certified. The course has 5 hours of video content and costs $375. I took the course and personally I can recommend it as it nicely wraps up all needed knowledge as a well-packaged, concise course. But taking the course is not necessary to successfully clear the exam. It is similar to the content in the Snowflake University Level-Up series but it is presented differently. So if you do not want to spend $375 for this training it is fine and you are good to go just with Snowflake University + Documentation + Study Guide + Snowflake account for practice.

Another paid resource option to support your learning journey is courses on Udemy. Snowflake-related courses are slowly popping up at Udemy. There are courses related to Snowflake certifications but they are not official Snowflake courses and as such, they have no direct connection to being successful on the exam. I have tried them as a way to check my knowledge in the form of various questions. You can find courses that use sample questions provided by Snowflake at their university or questions which you can find in the Level Up series + of course they are adding some other ones. The quality of the courses is varying. Some of them are full of typos or grammar mistakes which can make it hard to understand the question. Sometimes the answer which is supposed to be correct is wrong so be careful. I cannot offer any direct recommendations for Udemy courses because, in the end, I have not been satisfied with their quality so if you want to try some, please select according to the available reviews and just do not fully trust them. I can say for sure that it is not enough to go through some of those courses and think you will be successful on the exam. You need to study more and in my opinion, the Level-Up series will serve you better.

Advanced Architect

This is the first certification from Advanced Level (more to come soon). So far there are not many learning materials available at least when you compare it with the Core Designer Certification. You can use the same Study Guide as for Core Designer. This study guide covers both certifications and contains also areas and a breakdown of topics that you need to know for Advanced Architect Certification. And that’s it. There are no sample questions or Level-Up series for this exam. Since I recently passed this certification, let me share some personal tips on how to prepare to successfully pass the exam.

First of all, the already provided tips for Core Designer Certification are still valid. Documentation is still your best friend, but creating a demo account or using your real account to test the Snowflake features is still more than welcome.

How to prepare for the exam

How did I prepare for the exam? Practice. I must say that I have had more than 20 months of real hands-on experience with Snowflake where I have worked with 90% of Snowflake features which turned out to be the best preparation. But it is not all, you need to formalize your knowledge and get to know the small details which you probably do not need to know by heart in your day-to-day work because simply documentation is just one click away. So for instance details about what objects can and can’t be cloned or shared, I did not know perfectly because I could easily google them but for this certification, those are exactly the details which you need to know.

If I take data sharing as an example you should know what can be shared and what can’t be shared, what privileges you need, what are other limitations of sharing or shared objects. You should know this for all features (cloning, replication, pipes, streams, etc.) or architecture principles (layers, clustering, caching, etc.). So you should take the Study Guide and go through the documentation really deeply.

Just a few weeks ago I have found one more resource: an exam guide for this certification. You can find it here → SnowPro Advanced: Architect Exam Guide This can also help you with your preparation as it contains a detailed breakdown of topics for the exam. Last but not least you can also find some Udemy courses for this certification but keep in mind what I said earlier regarding the validity of Udemy courses: use them wisely if you are planning to take some of them and do not rely fully just on them.

Advanced Architect badge

Exam Tips

I took the exam from my home. My first and most important recommendation would be don’t overthink your answers. Most often you are right on the first try. If you are not sure, you can mark the question for later review. Another tip. If you are not sure, try to eliminate some answers. Many times at least one or two answers have nothing to do with the question. Sometimes also some further questions can help you fill the gap in knowledge needed in some of the previous questions.

Final Recommendations

And that’s it! I have tried to sum up the available resources which you can currently use for your preparation and become Snowflake certified. Let me share also some my own recommendation what I think might help you. First of all, I would really recommend having hands-on experience with Snowflake before studying for a certification, especially for Advanced Architect. It would help you to understand some concepts, learning would be much easier because now you know how to use certain things practically (COPY command, virtual warehouses, stages, etc.). So when you are going to add some theoretical knowledge on top of your hands-on experience you have a win-win situation.

Next, paid resources are unnecessary. You can succeed without them, don’t worry. And lastly— experiment yourself. Do not blindly memorize everything words for word from documentation but try those things directly in Snowflake, try to understand the principles, try to understand how the things work under the hood, try to understand the architecture. This approach would help you also in your daily work not just pass the exam and I think this is the most important part — becoming a better Snowflake architect/developer. Having the certification should be just a cherry on the top.

Last but not least. Enjoy learning and getting new skills and good luck with your exam. 🤞

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