Snowflake SnowPro Advanced: Architect Certification — Path to earn it!

Preparation Strategy, Tips & Resources to help earn this badge 🏆

Madhivanan Anbalagan
5 min readDec 22, 2022

To start with, I hope you have already earned the fundamental SnowPro Core Certification from Snowflake, which is a mandatory pre-requisite in order to be eligible to take up any of the SnowPro Advanced Certification exams.

Recently in December 2022, I successfully passed the SnowPro Advanced: Architect Certification exam with a good score. In this blog, I am sharing some of the useful preparation strategy, tips & resources to help you accomplish this valuable milestone.

Table of Contents

  1. Key Pointers
  2. Key Resources
  3. Key Topics
  4. Few must-reads
  5. My Preparation Flow & Recommendations
  6. Closing Thoughts
  7. About Me

Key Pointers

  1. Time Management is key. Be a fast reader, as some questions & even the options are long paragraphs unlike the SnowPro Core exam.
  2. Understand the topics from real-world usage perspective. Memorization of concepts or facts won’t help much.
  3. Get familiar with the combination of features and their behaviours such as, Cloning a Shared Object, Streams on Shared Objects, Sharing a Replicated Database, Row-Access Policy on External Tables, Materialized Views on External Tables, etc.
  4. Have a thorough understanding of the Considerations, Usage Notes & Best Practices recommended by Snowflake that are published on the official platforms (Documentation, Blogs, Community, etc.)
  5. Be aware of the Limitations of Snowflake features such as Materialized Views, Search Optimization Service, etc.

Key Resources

  1. Snowflake Documentation (Only the topics in scope that are listed in the official SnowPro Advanced: Architect Exam Guide)
  2. Community Articles
  3. Snowflake Blogs
  4. Architecture Patterns
  5. Last but not the least, learnings and takeaways from your own experience in working with Snowflake.

For SnowPro Core, reading the facts and concepts from the Snowflake Documentation would have been more than enough. But for SnowPro Advanced: Architect that would not suffice. Additionally, you need to read many Community Articles & Snowflake Blogs to get the real world use-cases based understanding of the concepts, which is exactly the skill they will be testing as part of the Advanced exams.

Do not memorize! Try to absorb the essence of top reliable articles/blogs and apply it yourself (hands-on), which will lead to a natural interpretation of the scenario based questions and answer appropriately.

Key Topics

Disclaimer: Below list of specific topics and concepts are purely based on my exam experience. This is not a guaranteed list, as you may face a significantly different set of questions when you take up the exam. Please use these just as a guideline.

  • Data Ingestion (Best Practises, Snowflake Recommendations, etc.) — For example, COPY INTO vs Snowpipe, when to use which!
  • Materialized Views vs Clustering vs Search Optimization Service.
  • Interpreting the output of SYSTEM$CLUSTERING_INFORMATION.
  • Query Profile — provided with the screenshot of a sample Query Profile, expected to choose the right action item to optimize the query.
  • Row-Access Policies on External Tables.
  • Limitations of Materialized Views.
  • Data Unloading configuration parameters.
  • Efficient Kafka Connector configuration.
  • Security Best Practices (Use-cases of OAuth, Key-pair, Federated Auth & SSO, etc.)
  • Database Replication & Secure Data Sharing — combined understanding of both.

One good thing to note is that, not all the questions were scenario-based. Around 25–30% of the questions were SnowPro Core level, which were simple and easy. There were no TRUE/FALSE type questions in my exam set.

Few must-reads

  1. Best Practices for Data Ingestion with Snowflake: Part 1
  2. Best Practices for Data Ingestion with Snowflake: Part 2
  3. Design Patterns for Building Multi-Tenant Applications on Snowflake

I intentionally refrain myself from listing out all the exact questions that I faced in the exam (the ones I can try to recall) or any specific resource from where some of the questions were derived, in order to safeguard the value this Certification holds.

My Preparation Flow & Recommendations

  • I spent around 1.5 months of consistent, focussed preparation for this exam, spending 1 to 2 hours per day.
  • I used my personal favourite for my note-taking purposes.
  • I spent most of the time reading blogs & articles and grasped the use-case based understanding of all the concepts.
  • I took few Practice Tests from Udemy, which were helpful to a little extent, not much. I would highly recommend you to take some Practice Tests as a warm-up (hard to find a reliable source for this exam as of today though).
Screenshot of a portion my Preparation Notes page in Notion.
Screenshot of a portion my Preparation Notes page in Notion.

Closing Thoughts

You can definitely trust your knowledge, experience & intuition and won’t need any shortcuts (if you know what I mean) to accomplish this certification.

It is a challenging exam for sure, but surely not impossible to crack, as long as you have the confidence and a considerable real-world working experience with Snowflake.

The goal should be to attain the genuine feel that you are a worthy Snowflake Solution Architect, who can help Snowflake Customers derive true business value/outcome from the efficient solutions you propose and implement for them. Earning the badge is just a supporting testimony of that fact!

All the best! 🍀

If you find this article useful or if you feel this post helped you successfully pass the SnowPro Advanced: Architect Certification, kindly give a 👏🏼 and mention it in the comments, which will act as a motivating factor for me to publish more useful content like this.

Also, please share this blog with your friends/colleagues, etc. who are looking to up-skill themselves in the data space! Together, let’s build a strong & comp Snowflake Community.

About Me

I am Madhivanan Anbalagan, currently working as an Associate Solution Architect at kipi.bi (an Elite Partner of Snowflake), located in Bangalore, India. I have an extensive 9+ years of experience in the data space, lucky to have played various roles such as Data Engineer, ETL Developer, Oracle PL/SQL Developer, etc. In my current role, I primarily architect strategic solutions for the clients with Snowflake Data Cloud as the platform of choice, along with the Modern Data Stack tools & technologies (such as dbt, Fivetran, Matillion, Airflow, etc.). I’m loving it! 💙💚

Along with my passion towards data, my interests are Photography and Graphic Design. I’m also sort of a perfectionist, a sample of that is in the banner image of this blog post up top! Its basically a gradient of 2 precise hex color codes (Snowflake Blue ↔ kipi.bi Green), which I’m planning to keep in my future blog posts as a color signature.

Please feel free to Follow or Connect with me on LinkedIn or other social media platforms. You can find me on pretty much all the platforms with the username @madhiceg.

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Madhivanan Anbalagan

1 of 80 Snowflake Data Superheroes 2024 🦸🏻 | 4x SnowPro Advanced Certified Solution Architect @ kipi.bi | Snowflake Bengaluru Chapter Leader ❄️