Not everyone needs to know how to configure and manage Infrastructure as Code tools like Terraform. But when you do, the Terraform Associate certification is a worthwhile investment. If you're already experienced with JSON or the HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL), earning the certification proves to employers you're ready to be their DevOps expert. If you want to get into that line of work, preparing for the certification will give you great experience and training.
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HashiCorp Certified: Terraform Associate (003) FAQs: Cost, Training, Value
It costs $70.50 to take the Terraform Associate (003) exam and earn the certification. Other than basic terminal skills and about a year's worth of experience managing on-prem and cloud architectures, the Terraform Associate doesn't have any prerequisites. HashiCorp also doesn't require you to take any classes or instruction from them before taking the exam.
As far as DevOps and IaC-related certifications go, the Terraform Associate exam isn't especially difficult. That's not to say it's entirely easy, though. What makes the Terraform Associate exam hard for many people is how much emphasis is placed on familiarity with Terraform itself and HashiCorp's other tools like Terraform Cloud, Enterprise, and Community. Interacting with Terraform modules, maintaining state across multiple Terraform tools, and understanding Terraform capabilities is what can make the exam challenging.
Yes, the Terraform Associate (003) certification expires after two years. All of HashiCorp's certifications are valid for only two years and can generally be renewed by retaking the original exam within six months of the expiration date. The Terraform Associate does not have any other continuing education or renewal options. If you earned the Terraform Associate 002, you can take the 003 exam 18 months after the date you earned 002.
The Terraform Associate (003) is partially about infrastructure as code as a general concept but it's largely about automating infrastructure provisioning and management using HashiCorp tools and services. Therefore, in order to study for the Terraform Associate (003) exam, you'll want an online course that covers the theory of IaC management but also gives you first-hand opportunities to practice using Terraform tools and HashiCorp solutions.