Terraform is an efficient tool to help organizations develop similar infrastructure across various cloud and on-premise platforms with security.
That said, the growth of cloud infrastructure has brought high demands for related technologies as well.
So, learning Terraform can offer cloud engineers bigger opportunities in their professional lives while helping them upskill themselves.
There is also a certification exam – Terraform Certified Associate – that you can clear to land more opportunities. And thankfully, plenty of resources are available, both free and paid, so you can learn and appear for the exam and pass it with good scores.
Let’s talk about Terraform in detail, a few things about the exam, and some of the best resources available.
What is Terraform?
Terraform is an open-source infrastructure-as-a-code (IaC) software tool developed by HashiCorp in 2014. It offers a consistent command-level interface (CLI) workflow to help you manage multiple cloud services. It also codifies cloud APIs into a declarative configuration file.
Terraform was written in Go and supported operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and Solaris. It supports multiple cloud infrastructure providers like AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, DigitalOcean, VMware, OpenStack, and Yandex. cloud.
Users provide and define data center infrastructure with the help of HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL) – a declarative configuration language. It offers concise resource descriptions using expressions, arguments, and blocks. However, there is also an option to use JSON instead.
Terraform can manage external resources like private and public cloud infrastructure, SaaS, PaaS, network appliances, etc., with providers. In addition, HashiCorp has maintained a long list of all the official providers. You can either declare resources or call data sources to interact with Terraform providers.
You can use Terraform in the following way:
- Write code using HCL or JSON
- Plan by running the code and check whether it’s suitable for your needs before changing or provisioning the infrastructure
- Apply the final changes to multiple providers and attain the desired configuration state.
Features of Terraform
- Declarative configuration files: You can define infrastructure as code and manage the entire lifecycle. It will help you create resources, manage existing resources, and destroy resources you no longer require.
- Installable Module: You can install partner or community modules automatically from the registry using terraform init.
- Predict and plan changes: Terraforms lets you modify infrastructure predictably and safely by separating the planning and application and using mapped dependencies.
- Dependency graphing: You can easily create terraform plan and refresh state using config dependency graphing
- State management: Map real-world resources to configurations, improve performance, and track metadata for large infrastructures.
- Supports multiple languages: You can provision infrastructure in Java, Go, C#, Python, TypeScript, and other programming languages with HCL modules and 1000+ Terraform providers like AWS, GCP, Azure, Oracle, VMware, Datadog, etc.
Uses cases of Terraform
- Multi-cloud deployment: As Terraform supports multiple cloud services, you can deploy your infrastructure using a variety of cloud providers
- Scalable applications: You can easily scale up/down the resources you require, which helps you create scalable, multi-tier applications.
- Resource management: You can manage resources smoothly across all the supported cloud services, including public and private, SaaS, PaaS, and network appliances.
- Software-Defined Networking (SDN): Terraform is highly readable, making it easier to codify an SDN’s configuration.
- Build testing environments: You can use modules to create a temporary test environment to test your code before using it for production,
- Resource scheduling: You can use Terraform modules to start and stop resources on AWS while letting Kubernetes schedule the Docker containers.
- Clusters: Using registries allows you to discover pre-packaged configurations quickly and use them to meet your needs.
Benefits of using Terraform
Increased automation and reduced errors
Terraform lets you define, configure, and provision resources on cloud and on-premises efficiently using templated configuration files. As a result, your expenses reduce as you can create and dispose of environments with preset configs. Automation also reduces human errors to improve the entire operation than manual ways.
Supports 300+ cloud providers
You can manage resources across 300+ cloud services and providers with just one Terraform workflow. Ultimately, it results in a simpler orchestration process while aiding in creating multi-cloud infrastructures with ease. In addition, you can also build reproducible infrastructure using the same configuration for staging, testing, and production.
As Terraform is open-source, it has garnered a lot of users across the globe who can use the code and use it according to their needs. This has built an extensive user base with skilled professionals who constantly develop and use the tool. You can join this strong community and learn and seek support from professionals regarding the tool, its plugins, extensions, etc.
Other benefits include easy portability to other providers, easy-to-understand HCL language, immutable infrastructure, and more.
Is Terraform a good career option?
Given this widespread use of Terraform, it has a good career option. Organizations that are spread across the globe need robust technologies to manage their resources across different cloud and on-premise environments and want to orchestrate similar infrastructure with minor variations can enjoy using Terraform.
According to a report, cloud expenditure has risen to $10,000 per month for an average organization in 2020. Similar trends are seen for DevOps. Therefore, its demand for Terraform is also increasing. And if you want to be a Terraform professional, you can get certified for it.
There is a certification exam: HashiCorp Terraform Certified Associate that you can clarify whether you are a cloud engineer or have an interest or some knowledge on cloud services. It can give you that exposure and familiarity with Terraform so you can use it in real-world scenarios.
About HashiCorp Certified: Terraform Associate
The HashiCorp Terraform Associate certification exam can help aspirants validate their infrastructure automation skills and the Terraform tool.
It’s for cloud engineers specializing in IT, development, or operations and having basic skills and concepts associated with the Terraform tool. If you have professional experience with Terraform software in production, you can best prepare for the exam. However, you can also undergo training and practice tests to prepare for the exam as well.
Prerequisites: Basic Terraform knowledge and understanding of cloud and on-premise architecture
Version: Terraform 0.14 or higher
- Assessment type: Multiple choice
- Duration: 1 hour
- Format: online proctored
- Language: English
- Price: USD$ 70.50+taxes
- Expiration: 2 years
Exam objectives: IaC, Teraform’s purpose and basics, comparison with other IaC, CLI, modules, workflow, state, configuration, Terraform Cloud & Enterprise.
Preparation: You can go through their review and study guide to prepare for the exam. Alternatively, you can also go for various free and paid courses, tutorials, and practice tests curated by experts that are available on the internet to prepare for the exam well and pass it with high scores.
Some of the resources are divided into three sections – training, practice tests, and revision notes.
Visit HashiCorp Learn to find an excellent guide curated for the Terraform Associate Certification exam aspirants. They have listed valuable resources that you must study to clear the exam with flying colors.
The resources listed in this tutorial are in the order of difficulty to help you progress with each question. They have covered the basics of IaC and Terraform, the advantages, and use cases. You can follow the “get started” tutorials to create, modify, or destroy your infrastructure with Terraform, along with its language features.
The guide will also help you study documentation of providers, provisioners, Terraform Settings, its purpose, managing resources, syncing Terraform state, Upgrade and Lock provider versions, performing CRUD operations, and more. In addition, learn to master the Terraform workflow by writing configurations, planning and implementing infrastructure modifications, and initializing plugins.
Furthermore, you can learn about common CLI commands and subcommands to use in the workflow with the help of various resources. You will also learn to create and use modules, read/write configurations, manage state, debug in Terraform, and learn about Terraform Enterprise and Cloud.
Another excellent source to prepare for the Terraform Certified Associate exam is this preparation guide on Learnpub.com. The authors of this guide have reviewed the objectives, insights, detailed examples, real-world experiences and provided key takeaways to help the aspirants focus on essential things.
This ebook in English is already read by 696 readers and consists of 116 pages. The available formats are PDF, EPUB, Web, and MOBI. It covers exam overview, including setting expectations, tested product version, exam prerequisites, and chapter summary.
In the next section, you will find exam objectives, including chapter layout, high-level objectives, and chapter summary. They have covered topics like:
- IaC concepts
- Terraform basics
- Terraform’s purpose and comparison with other IaC
- Using Terraform CLI
- navigating the workflow
- interacting with modules
- implementing and maintaining state
- reading, creating, and modifying configurations
- understanding Terraform Enterprise and Cloud.
In addition, the guide includes additional resources like articles, videos, books, and hands-on labs. This ebook costs $20 and includes a 45-day refund guarantee.
Medium.com is known for quality articles, guides, and other informative stuff. Now, you can also practice some questions before appearing in the Terraform Associate Certification exam. This tutorial guide curated by Bhargav Bachina consists of 250 practice questions to help you understand, read, practice, and be prepared to face the exam with confidence.
All the questions and their answers are based on the original documentation and exam curriculum. The creator has listed the questions and gave a straightforward answer to each one of them in an easy-to-understand language. And to support the answer, he has also included examples and references.
The questions cover topics, including IaC concepts, understanding the purpose of Terraform and comparison with other IaCs, Terraform basics, how to use Terraform CLI, interaction with Terraform modules, navigating workflow, implementing and maintaining state, read, create, and modify configurations, and understanding Terraform Enterprise and Cloud capabilities.
Whizlabs offers practice tests on the HashiCorp Certified Terraform Associate exam. These practice tests are taken by 1703 learners so far and have 4.5 ratings. It includes 240 questions, 5 hands-on labs, and the level is intermediate.
You have the option to start with 15 free sample questions to understand whether they would be beneficial for you. They offer 3 full-length practice tests with 180 questions each to help you get an idea about the exam. The questions are designed carefully by a Certified Terraform Trainer and help validate your understanding of the open-source Terraform tool.
You would be introduced to the description of the exam and why you must be certified for it. The skills you would obtain from these tests are IaC concepts, Terraform basics, modules, state, Terraform Cloud and Enterprise, Terraform CLI, workflows, configurations, and more.
You can go for this exam if you are a cloud Engineer or in a similar field or want to get into this field and expand your skills and competence. The course can be auto-updated, offers 24×7 support by Subject Matter Experts, unlimited access and lifetime validity, and includes a completion certificate. You can also access the course on mobile devices.
It costs $7.98 and includes a 100% money-back guarantee.
Prepare for the Terraform certification exam by taking these practice tests by BrainCert. These are beginner-level practice tests, including 3 tests with 140 questions in total. This includes multiple-choice questions and answers timed at 60 minutes that simulate the actual exam.
You will get detailed and accurate explanations of each question and its answers, along with excellent support regarding clarifications and queries. It is in English, navigated by an instructor, and includes no certificate.
The course content is divided into three practice exams with 50, 50, and 40 questions each that you can unlock by paying $10 with unlimited access.
Udemy’s Terraform Associate Practice Exam is an excellent option to consider, and it has worked for thousands of professionals to get certified. The content is in English, has 4.5 ratings, and was last updated in November 2021.
So far, 8750 students have been enrolled for these practice exams, including employees of top global companies like Apple, Netflix, Volkswagen, box, Eventbrite, etc. They offer a total of 171 questions divided into three sections of practice exams containing 57 questions each.
The instructor Bryan Krausen has included questions to ensure wide-ranging topics are covered, including multiple-choice, multi-select, and true/false questions with Terraform code and colorful screenshots. He has provided detailed explanations for each question, making it the complete study guide for you.
These practice exams would test your skill and knowledge on Terraform along with your strengths and weaknesses to keep you aware before the actual exam. They update the exam questions regularly to keep up with the latest development to Terraform, exam curriculum, and student feedback.
We have two recommendations for you if you want to learn Terraform on YouTube.
Loved by many, this tutorial by IBM Technology is one of the most straightforward explanations for Terraform in plain English. It is authored by Sai Vennam, who provides different use cases of Terraform, explaining how it can help you manage popular and existing service providers and custom solutions.
The author covers all the concepts with straightforward explanations and examples to help you understand the concepts faster. He starts with Terraform concepts, how to manage your infrastructure, step-by-step processes, modules, use in DevOps, and more.
This is the second YouTube resource that can be hugely helpful to you for preparing for the Terraform Certified Associate exam. The tutor has reviewed the exam and shared valuable insights into his experiences with the exam.
This tutorial includes the Terraform basics, where and how to register for the exam, prerequisites, exam details, timing, and price. Next, he has covered exam objectives, exam reviews, configurations, style conventions, and modules. It also includes Terraform purpose, format, and provisioners.
Apart from what you must study, he also outlines what you don’t need to learn essentially to pass the exam. Additionally, he also covered Terraform Cloud and Terraform Enterprise, state, syntax, inputs/outputs. You can also find a lot of his other videos with practice questions on them.
If you want to clear the Terraform Certified Associate exam even with no prior experience, this guide by Warp Training can help you. This is a prep course with 155 to-the-point and concise lessons crafted by experts optimized to help you learn the stuff you need and pass the exam with high scores.
The guide flows seamlessly and is easy to follow with demonstrations, examples, and relevant explanations. The instructor is TJ, who has been the lead DevOps engineer and worked with multimillion-dollar projects with Terraform. It includes 3 hours of content, stuff you need to study, the option to join the Wrap 9 Community and ask your questions, and changes that might come in the exam.
He starts with the Terraform basics, essential concepts like modules and blocks, and hands-on demos of features and commands. He also covers things about the certification, setup, providers, variable ordering, Terraform workflow, commands, security, state management, Terraform cloud, and more.
This preparation guide costs $9.97 with a 30-day no-questions-asked refund. As a bonus, you can also appear for his Terraform Crash Course.
A Cloud Guru
Learn essential Terraform concepts and upskill yourself with A Cloud Guru that offers practitioner level 8 hands-on labs. It’s a total of 11 hours, divided into 40 lessons, 8 labs, and 8 quizzes.
The hands-on labs will help you differentiate between the theoretical and practical skills to experience real-world scenarios. They are guided and interactive experiences to help you practice and learn in real cloud environments.
The instructor Tia Williams has covered how to use Terraform CLI commands to manipulate Terraform deployments, using Dynamic blocks and functions for AWS deployment, practicing CLI commands, testing, and building modules, exploring the state functionality, using provisioners to configure an Apache Web Server over AWS, deploying VMs in AWS with Terraform workflow, installing Terraform, and working with the providers.
Prepared by Shrikant Lavhate, the revision notes can help you refresh all that you have learned before appearing for your HashiCorp Terraform Certified Associate exam. It’s literally for the “last day” revision that includes all the basics, explanations, syntax, etc., to boost your confidence.
The notes start with the Blocks, including Terraform block, providers block, resources block, provisioner block, data block, dynamic block, and outputs block with their syntax. Next, he has covered state files, lock files, variable types and files, terraform directories, outputs files, and their commands.
You can also refresh your memory with a quick review of the terminologies like Idempotent, Day 0 activities, Day 1 activities, cloud-agnostic, and HCL. Furthermore, it includes commands, like terraform init, fmt, validate, plan, apply, output, show, state, destroy, login, workspace, import, taint, console, graph, get, providers, and global options. In addition, you will learn about Terraform Cloud and Enterprise, modules, and backends.
Another well-curated revision note for Terraform is by Rishab Kumar that you can also view on GitHub. He has included brief explanations, syntax, and examples in the notes for each topic. From color combinations to the content flow, everything is in sync.
He has covered IaC and managing infrastructure with concepts like variables, outputs, local values, TFVARS files, load order, versioning, providers, provisioners, local vs. remote exec. You can quickly review how to master the workflow, learn about commands and subcommands with examples, and state.
Furthermore, Rishab has included how to create and use modules, read/write configurations, manage state, debug in Terraform, and about Terraform Enterprise and Cloud briefly. In addition, he has included some extra notes to refresh some more concepts.
I hope the above resources, including courses and tutorials, practice tests, and revision notes, help you pass the exam with excellent scores.
Choose one or multiple resources based on your preference to start preparing. You can start with free training and then gradually go for paid ones to learn more and then take up the practice tests to experience the real exam-like environment. Finally, you can take the revision notes to refresh all that you have learned to boost your confidence for the actual exam.
You may also be interested in AWS Practice Tests.