Hashicorp Terraform Associate Certification Tips

Hashicorp Terraform Associate Certification Tips

I won’t lie, I haven’t studied at all for this certification because I presumed my six years of experience with Terraform should be enough. One day, I just decided to take the certification and fortunately, my experience was enough to pass it.

My feeling was the certification didn’t have any absurd scenarios that you would never see in real life, like in other certifications that I’ve taken throughout my career, so that was satisfying.

You can see the result immediately after you end the exam, so that’s another big plus for me.


  • 60 minutes to answer 57 questions.
  • Price: 70.5$ + Tax
  • Online proctored

Enough with my exam experience and logistics, let’s jump in what you should learn.


In order to not have any issues with the certification, you should understand the basic components that are used when you are building your terraform automation:

  • resources
  • datasources
  • outputs
  • variables
  • locals
  • provider

You need to understand how to reference all the components from above and how you can link them. Make sure you have some experience with complex data types and you understand how they are used when you are building automations. Check out my other blog posts for getting a better hang of those.


Apart from that, look into all terraform commands that you can run:

terraform --help

Usage: terraform [global options] <subcommand> [args]

The available commands for execution are listed below.  
The primary workflow commands are given first, followed by  
less common or more advanced commands.

Main commands:  
  init          Prepare your working directory for other commands  
  validate      Check whether the configuration is valid  
  plan          Show changes required by the current configuration  
  apply         Create or update infrastructure  
  destroy       Destroy previously-created infrastructure

All other commands:  
  console       Try Terraform expressions at an interactive command prompt  
  fmt           Reformat your configuration in the standard style  
  force-unlock  Release a stuck lock on the current workspace  
  get           Install or upgrade remote Terraform modules  
  graph         Generate a Graphviz graph of the steps in an operation  
  import        Associate existing infrastructure with a Terraform resource  
  login         Obtain and save credentials for a remote host  
  logout        Remove locally-stored credentials for a remote host  
  output        Show output values from your root module  
  providers     Show the providers required for this configuration  
  refresh       Update the state to match remote systems  
  show          Show the current state or a saved plan  
  state         Advanced state management  
  taint         Mark a resource instance as not fully functional  
  test          Experimental support for module integration testing  
  untaint       Remove the 'tainted' state from a resource instance  
  version       Show the current Terraform version  
  workspace     Workspace management

Global options (use these before the subcommand, if any):  
  -chdir=DIR    Switch to a different working directory before executing the  
                given subcommand.  
  -help         Show this help output, or the help for a specified subcommand.  
  -version      An alias for the "version" subcommand.

Check subarguments of those commands, too, because you are most definitely going to see some questions for those.

Modules, Functions, Loops and Conditionals

You are going to get a couple of questions related to how modules work, how can you use outputs of those modules and of course how you can reference them using their remote sources.

I would totally recommend spending some time on Terraform’s built-in functions: merge, try, can, lookup, unsensitive, to name a few.

Play a little bit with for_each, count and ternary operators and also understand how to use splat (*).

Managing state

Managing state is a crucial topic for this certification. You should be able to articulate why using a remote state is better than having a local one.

Also, it is really important to understand how resource import is working and how you can remove resources from the state.

Terraform Cloud / Enterprise

Terraform Cloud is another topic that you are going to face during the certification, I believe it sums up to <10% of the questions from the exam, but the questions are fairly easy.

Take a glance of Terraform Cloud’s documentation and try to understand concepts like:

  • workspace
  • sentinel policies
  • different types of tokens (user, team, org)
  • team permissions (read, plan, write, admin)
  • run tasks


If you know how Terraform works and you have some hands-on experience with it, I believe this certification exam is fairly easy. Of course there will always be some things that you haven’t used, but you don’t need to get 100/100 in order to pass.

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