So I’m guessing you’ve been thinking of learning cloud, or taking a cloud certification and you’ve stumbled across the company ACloudGuru in your search. Now you’re wondering if ACloudGuru is worth the price tag, and what your other options are for learning about cloud? Did I guess right?
Is ACloud Guru Worth It? If you want to get certified in cloud, ACloudGuru is a good option. For a monthly fee you get access to a lot of video content designed to help you pass cloud certifications, and the site is constantly being updated. Other options include: one-time payment courses on Udemy, learning platforms like Pluralsight, and freely available content.
Even after writing many blogs and articles about exactly this topic—learning cloud—I still can find the cloud learning space very confusing. There’s a huge amount of options, and sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. Today I’ll run you through how my experience has been with ACloudGuru and help answer the question of whether it’s worth it, or not.
Let’s begin by looking at what ACloudGuru actually is.
What is ACloudGuru?
ACloudGuru is an online training company specialised in cloud topics. But, ACloudGuru aren’t just about learning general cloud topics, they’re specialised on helping people to take and pass cloud exams.
The ACloudGuru product is mainly online video training courses. ACloudGuru also provide additional reading, and learning content to supplement the main video content. To go along with the training, ACloudGuru have a lot of additional support, such as their YouTube channel, the ACloudGuru forum, etc.
Despite ACloudGuru being a big company (over 500 employees!) their core content and platform does still have a friendly feel. Whilst there are different instructors, a lot of the core courses are delivered by the founder, Ryan.
Let’s start our discussion today by looking at the different things I like about the ACloudGuru Platform.
What I Like About ACloudGuru
There’s a few things that I particularly like about the ACloudGuru platform that make it unique and stand out to me…
A Small Feel — One thing that’s always impressed me about ACloudGuru is how they’ve managed to retain a “small feel” even as they continue to grow. Getting to know the style of an instructor is something that is important when using learning platforms. I think the key to them achieving this feel is keeping a small number of instructors who run most of the main courses.
Exam Content Specific — A big selling point for ACloudGuru is how focussed it is on exam preparation. I can see ACloudGuru trying in recent years to expand their content outside of just exams, but so far what ACloudGuru seem to do best is the cloud preparation materials.
Cloud Sandbox — The cloud sandbox that comes with their membership is truly an innovation. One of the biggest sticking points that I see for most people to start learning in the cloud is a (valid!) fear of getting unwanted costs, or just generally messing something up. The Cloud Sandboxes protect against these fears, and are basically a huge perk.
Okay, that covers a few things that I like about ACloudGuru, what about the things that I don’t like as much?
My Complaints About ACloudGuru
In the interest of providing a balanced argument, I want to also talk about the negative experiences that I’ve had with ACloudGuru. And since I’m also a fairly long-time user of ACloudGuru, I think I’m in a decent position to give you my honest opinion about what I don’t like so much about ACloudGuru.
Disjointed Content — Let’s start with the content: Sometimes I’ve found the content to be: disjointed. This complaint I’ve also read in reviews / comments from other users of the platform. The reason for the disjointed feeling is because ACloudGuru re-use video’s between certification courses. Whilst I don’t have a problem with ACloudGuru re-using their video’s between courses, it does end up with video’s that don’t make total sense, as they often refer back to previous video’s which you haven’t yet watched.
Mobile App Performance — The second big pain I had with ACloudGuru was their mobile app. I should mention that having an app is an amazing perk to a platform, to be able to view video’s on the go is perfect for getting in some extra watch time whilst you’re on a train or on a long car journey, etc. However, I found the ACloudGuru app almost unusable, it would crash constantly, and was at times infuriatingly slow. Hopefully they sort this out in time, but oh man can it get frustrating.
Paying For Additional Resources — Last up, the final pain with ACloudGuru is the fact that you often end up having to buy other products, too. For instance, there are a number of additional resources, such as example questions that you can find from different sources, such as Udemy which many say can be beneficial to helping pass the cloud exams. It can definitely be somewhat annoying feeling that you now have to pay for additional resources when you’re already paying for a membership.
I’m sure there are many other criticisms to make of ACloudGuru, but these are the main things that stuck out to me in my experience from using ACloudGuru.
Now let’s go back to our original question: whether ACloudGuru is worth it. To see if it’s worth it, we’ll need to see the price. Let’s talk money.
How Much Is ACloudGuru?
At the time of writing, the basic personal plan for ACloudGuru is $30, with a premium plan for $40, which includes their Cloud Sandboxes.
I think the price is pretty decent, a lot of stand-alone courses on Udemy could cost you this much just for one course. However, of course one of the good thing about one-time courses is that they’re yours forever, whereas ACloudGuru content is only available if you continue to pay.
It’s worth noting also that ACloudGuru do also offer business plans, which means your employer is going to pay for that training for you. That’s not uncommon, my current membership is paid for by my company.
Okay, so that covers off the cost, but what about the value? In my mind the question of “is ACloudGuru is worth it? ” is almost synonymous with the question: “are cloud certifications worth it?”. And whether cloud certifications are worth it is going to be quite a personal decision. Let’s break it down.
Are Cloud Certifications Worth It?
Okay, so the big question in my mind for whether ACloudGuru is worth it rides on whether or not it makes sense for you to take a cloud certification.
Which begs the question: what Cloud Certifications are good for?
What Cloud Certifications Are Good For
In my opinion, the main advantage to cloud certifications is that they give structure to any learning that you’re doing about cloud topics. For me, using certifications as a way to enhance or compliment your learning is the best single reason to look into and take a cloud certification.
However, many of you might be thinking of taking a cloud certification because of the help at landing a new job, or promotion. And the topic of careers is where cloud certifications get somewhat controversial.
Why Cloud Certifications Can Be Controversial
Of course, certificates can be useful in a job hunt, most employers will look favourably on someone who has one or two job certificates, especially in jobs in sectors like consulting where certifications are considered highly valuable.
But it’s also common that having too many certifications can be frowned upon, and seen as a sign of compensation for a lack of practical skills. It might seem seem counter-intuitive, but there are people that spend more time collecting the certifications than truly learning the skills.
Ultimately, certifications are not a guarantee of a job, or a pay raise. Getting certified can in some cases help your job hunt, but you should be spending time equally on the other areas which contribute to the job search, too: connecting with people, writing a great CV, demonstrating your skills in portfolio’s, etc.
Focusing mainly on getting certified might not be the best use of your time.
Whether there is value in a certification is going to be based on your personal circumstances. However, what I can say is that for most, getting a certification is probably a good idea, it’ll validate your skills, give you confidence in your next job hunt, and give you that slight edge over other applicants.
Now that we know a bit more about what ACloudGuru is, how much it costs and we’ve discussed the value of certificates I think it’s a good time for me to run you through the competition for ACloudGuru, so that we can compare.
Alternatives To ACloudGuru
Now let’s take a look at the main competition for ACloudGuru, which is: learning platforms like Pluralsight, one-off courses, such as the ones from Udemy, independent learning platforms, and lastly free content.
ACloudGuru Vs Membership Platforms (eg. Pluralsight)
These learning platforms are similar to ACloudGuru as they usually host lots of video content, and provide resources which can supplement your learning.
However, the main way these platforms differ is that they mostly focus on general skills development, not exam passing.
So if it’s exam passing that you’re after, ACloudGuru could be a good choice for you. However if its general skill improvement you’re after, these other platforms are worth taking a look at.
ACloudGuru Vs Single Courses (eg. Udemy)
When it comes to passing the certificates, the main other option you’ve got is standalone courses, and the main platform for buying stand-alone courses is Udemy. If you do any research online you’re guaranteed to be recommended some course on Udemy at some point in the near future.
The best thing about stand-alone courses, as compared to ACloudGuru, is that the cost is one-off, so you can complete the course at your own pace, without fears that you’ll be pouring money away if you take a small break.
The major problem, though, with these stand-alone courses is that it can be hard to judge quality. And quite often Udemy courses aren’t updated, so if you choose a course on Udemy, you’ll want to try and pick courses that have been updated recently, and are highly rated.
If you do choose to go the Udemy route, two names that I hear repeatedly are both: Stephane Maarek (check out the current prices of his courses on Udemy), and Jon Bonso Practice Exams (check out the current prices of his courses on Udemy). So if you do take a look at Udemy I can confidently recommend their work.
ACloudGuru Vs Independent Platforms
The main advantage to these small platforms is you’re more likely to be able to get in touch with the creator if you want to ask questions, and if you like the trainers deliver style, perfect, as most, if not all the content is made by them.
Speaking honestly though, I can’t say I’ve had much personal experience with these types of options yet. However, if I liked a particular trainer, I would be tempted to sign up on these types of platform in future. Regardless I thought it was important to mention them to give you the full set of options.
ACloudGuru Vs Free Content
And as we mentioned before, don’t forget that there’s also a lot of free online content, people have published courses on YouTube and there’s lots of free training available from the cloud providers themselves, so just remember that you don’t have to pay money to learn cloud.
Okay, that was quite a lot of alternatives to go through, let me quickly summarise the main differences before we move on!
So, Is ACloudGuru Worth It?
In summary, I think ACloudGuru IS worth it if you’re wanting to pass cloud certifications. If your plan is to take on some exam certifications, I recommend going and researching the certification you want to do, and then when you sign up for ACloudGuru you can focus on using the platform to learn.
ACloudGuru can also work as an on-going learning platform to generally keep your skills up-to-date, but it’s probably only worth it if you’re happy to spare the cash for a monthly membership. If money’s not such a big consideration, maybe ACloudGuru will also work for you as an ongoing thing.
Lastly though, if you intend to just complete a single certification it can be cheaper if you just look at the one-time courses on Udemy, pay just the once, pass your exam and then move on without worrying about recurring fee’s.
But, no matter what, remember that the main factor in your success with these products will be how much you commit to learning on them, so whatever you choose, commit to it fully for the best outcome.
I hope that helped you a little towards making a decision about whether ACloudGuru is worth it for you. And before you go, you might also be interested in checking out: My (Highly!) Recommended Books & Courses To Learn Cloud Engineering
Speak soon Cloud Engineering friend!