Mastering the FinOps Practitioner Exam: My Personal Journey

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Mastering the FinOps Practitioner Exam: My Personal Journey

What is FinOps?

Before we dive into my experience with the FinOps Practitioner exam, let's start with a clear definition. The official FinOps Foundation course defines FinOps as:

"FinOps is a cultural practice. It is a way for teams to manage their cloud costs, where everyone takes ownership of their cloud usage supported by a central best practices group. Cross-functional teams in engineering, finance, product, etc. work together to enable faster product delivery, while at the same time gaining more financial control and predictability."

In essence, FinOps brings together Engineering, Finance, and Business teams to achieve maximum business value in the cloud. It's not just about cutting costs; it's about making informed decisions that align with your business goals.

My FinOps Journey

As a Cloud Architect managing multiple AWS accounts for both my company and our clients, I thought I had a good grasp on cloud cost management. Setting budgets, tracking costs, and identifying saving opportunities were all part of my daily routine. Little did I know, I was only scratching the surface of what FinOps could offer.

When my company required me to take the FinOps Practitioner exam for a client project, I saw it as just another certification. However, as I explored the FinOps framework, my perspective completely changed. This wasn't just another tech cert – it was a paradigm shift in how I approached cloud financial management.

The FinOps Practitioner Exam: An Overview

The FinOps Certified Practitioner exam is designed to test your understanding of FinOps principles and practices. Here's what you need to know:

  1. Exam format: 50 multiple-choice questions

  2. Time limit: 1 hour time limit (I finished in under 30 minutes)

  3. Attempts: You get 3 attempts to pass

  4. Difficulty: In my opinion, easier than the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam

Certification Paths

The FinOps Foundation offers three ways to get certified:

  1. Self-paced Course: 12 months access to course modules and exam

  2. Virtual Instructor-Led Course: Self-paced content plus a 2-day live class

  3. Exam Only: For those already familiar with FinOps practices

Here is a screenshot from the Finops website on pricing:

I chose the self-paced course, which fit well with my work schedule and learning style.

My Preparation Strategy

Here's how I tackled the exam preparation:

  1. Course Content: I started with the official course materials. While some videos seemed outdated, they provided a solid foundation.

  2. YouTube Research: I supplemented the course with recent YouTube content on FinOps. The Finops Foundation YouTube channel has very informative talks. Pro tip: There's room for more FinOps content creators out there!

  3. Alternative Sources: When struggling with complex concepts, I turned to podcasts for clearer explanations.

  4. Social Media Reviews: I always check out exam reviews on various platforms. Many confirmed that the course content was sufficient to pass.

Exam Day Experience

Unlike some tech exams that can be nerve-wracking (looking at you, AWS certs!), the FinOps Practitioner exam was surprisingly relaxed. The questions were straightforward, focusing on practical applications rather than theoretical gotchas. I breezed through it in less than 30 minutes, feeling confident throughout.

Tips for Success

  1. Thoroughly review the course content. It's crucial for answering exam questions correctly.

  2. Don't just memorize – understand how FinOps principles apply in real-world scenarios.

  3. Use alternative resources like YouTube and podcasts to reinforce your understanding.

  4. Take advantage of the three attempts – if you're unsure, it's okay to use the first attempt as a learning experience.

The Impact of FinOps Certification

Passing this exam has been a game-changer for my career. I now:

  • Use the FinOps Framework daily in my role

  • Initiate more cross-functional conversations about cloud costs and architecture decisions

  • Provide more value to our clients by applying FinOps principles to their cloud strategies


The FinOps Practitioner certification isn't just another line on your resume – it's a powerful tool that can transform how you approach cloud financial management. Whether you're a Cloud Architect like me, a developer, or a finance professional working with cloud technologies, this certification can add significant value to your skill set.

Remember, FinOps is about creating a culture of financial accountability in the cloud. It's about making your entire organization more efficient and effective in its cloud usage.

If you're considering taking this exam, I highly encourage you to go for it. The knowledge you gain will be invaluable in today's cloud-centric world.

Happy studying, and may your cloud costs always align with your business value! 😀