The popularity of HashiCorp Terraform has really taken off in the last couple of years. Terraform has become an extremely popular tool for writing declarative Infrastructure as Code (IaC) used to deploy and manage cloud infrastructure across one or even multiple clouds (think “Polynimbus). With this growing popularity, HashiCorp is recognizing the need for enterprises to be able to hire qualified candidates when it comes to using Terraform. They have done this by introducing the HashiCorp Certified Terraform Associate certification!

Let’s dig into the exam objectives and requirements so you can learn and prove your Terraform skills with the great certification!

Certification Target Audience

The HashiCorp Certified: Terraform Associate certification is targeted towards Cloud Engineers who use HashiCorp Terraform in their job duties of operations, IT, or development. It’s best that certification candidates have professional experience using Terraform in production. Candidates should also understand how Terraform concepts apply to enterprise scenarios; including what features exist and how they can be used in enterprise infrastructure as code (IaC) deployment scenarios using Terraform.

The HashiCorp Certified: Terraform Associate certification is targeted towards Cloud Engineers who use HashiCorp Terraform in their job duties of operations, IT, or development.

Certification Prerequisites

The HashiCorp Certified: Terraform Associate certification does not have any prerequisite certifications or exams to pass first. You can start with the Terraform Associate certification, but you’ll want to keep in mind the following items that you should be familiar with first:

  • Basic terminal skills
  • Basic understanding of on-premises and cloud architecture

Exam Details

The HashiCorp Certified: Terraform Associate certification is earned by passing a single, multiple choice exam. It is also an online proctored exam, so you can take it from the comfort of your own environment without needing to go any where in-person.

Here are some additional exam details published by HashiCorp:

  • Assessment Type: Multiple choice
  • Format: Online proctored
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Language: English
  • Expiration: 2 years

The Terraform Associate certification does expire after 2 years, so you will need to renew it after that time to stay current. Given the pace of update and change for Terraform (as with any thing else in the Cloud world) this expiration duration for the certification is fitting. Plus, it’s directly inline with the expiration of certifications from other vendors as well.

Study Resources

As with most technologies, there are plenty of resources when it comes to learning these technologies. In addition to the resources available here on Build5Nines; HashiCorp even has their own study guide website you can use to help study, as well as review guide to help those with existing Terraform experience.

But, don’t forget to check out the great Terraform content here on Build5Nines too:

Exam Objectives

Here’s the list of exam objectives for the HashiCorp Certified: Terraform Associate certification exam, along with some links to useful resources for learning about the topics:

  1. Understand Infrastructure as Code (IaC) concepts
    • Explain what IaC is
    • Describe advantages of IaC patterns
  2. Understand Terraform’s purpose (vs other IaC)
    • Explain multi-cloud and provider-agnostic benefits
    • Explain the benefits of state
  3. Understand Terraform basics
    • Handle Terraform and provider installation and versioning
    • Describe plugin based architecture
    • Demonstrate using multiple partners
    • Describe how Terraform finds and fetches providers
    • Explain when to use and not use provisioners and when to use local-exec or remote-exec
  4. Use the Terraform CLI (outside of core workflow)
    • Given a scenario choose when to use terraform fmt to format code
    • Given a scenario choose when to use terraform taint to taint Terraform resources
    • Given a scenario choose when to use terraform import to import existing infrastructure into your Terraform state
    • Given a scenario choose when to use terraform workspace to create workspaces
    • Given a scenario choose when to use terraform state to view Terraform state
    • Given a scenario choose when to enable verbose logging and what the outcome / value is
  5. Interact with Terraform modules
    • Contract module source options
    • Interact with modules inputs and outputs
    • Describe variable scope within modules / child modules
    • Discover modules from the public Terraform Module Registry
    • Defining module version
  6. Navigate Terraform workflow
  7. Implement and maintain state
    • Describe default local backend
    • Outline state locking
    • Handle backend authentication methods
    • Describe remote state storage mechanisms and supported standard backends
    • Describe effect of Terraform refresh on state
    • Describe backend block in configuration and best practices for partial configurations
    • Understand secret management in state files
  8. Read, generate, and modify configuration
    • Demonstrate use of variables and outputs
    • Describe secure secret injection best practice
    • Understand the use of collection and structural types
    • Create and differentiate resource and data configuration
    • Use resource addressing and resource parameters to connect resources together
    • Use Terraform built-in functions to write configuration
    • Configure resource using a dynamic block
    • Describe built-in dependency management (order of execution based)
  9. Understand Terraform Cloud and Enterprise capabilities
    • Describe the benefits of Sentinel, registry, and workspaces
    • Differentiate OSS and TFE workspaces
    • Summarize features of Terraform Cloud

More Information: For the official list of exam objectives for the Terraform Associate certification, please visit HashiCorp’s official certification site.

Happy studying!

Microsoft MVP

Chris Pietschmann is a Microsoft MVP (Azure & IoT) and HashiCorp Ambassador (2021) with 20+ years of experience designing and building Cloud & Enterprise systems. He has worked with companies of all sizes from startups to Fortune 100. He is also a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect and developer, a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), and Cloud Advocate. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.