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Preparation for Terraform Associate 003 with final personal thoughts

Free material to prepare as better as possible the Terraform Associate 003 certification with some final personal thoughts.
Preparation for Terraform Associate 003 with final personal thoughts


Starting from April 5 2023 Terraform Associate 003 is available to schedule. Both versions are available: 002 and 003.

Last day to schedule or reschedule an appointment to take the Terraform Associate 002 exam will be May 5 2023

On 31 May 2023 I did the Terraform Associate (003) exam and passed with 100% score


So, the aim of this post was initially to collect some free material in order to pass this exam (mainly for me), than I shared it to the public hoping that will help also someone else.

Where to start

The first web page to surf is absolutely the official Hashicorp certification webpage where they describe everything regarding it, of course also the difference between the old one 002 and the new one 003.

The exam is organized in objectives, carefully read each one in order to do a self check of your knowledge status.

Difference between 002-003

As any tecnology, also Terraform is speedly growing and many features were recentrly introduced and other behaviours deprecated/removed. For this reasons Hashicorp released on April 5 2023 the 003 version of Terraform Associate certification.

I strongly recommend the view of the following video by Ned (who is Ned? --> https://nedinthecloud.com/) where he describes with attentions the differences between the two versions.

By the way, these are the changes.


  • terraform taint [options] <address> replaced with terraform apply -replace="<address>
  • Added questions about terraform.lock.hcl file about its aims
  • Added questions about Terraform cloud usage about authentication and backend
  • Added questions regarding the management of senstive data
  • More use cases about the usage of dynamic block
  • Questions regarding Terraform Cloud actual state of art

Exam preparation material

I personally found very well done and completed the Official Hashicorp preparation guide.
So, start clicking the "Prepare for the exam" and follow the wizard.

This preparation guide is a mix of theorical information and practical laboratories to be done locally in your machine.

Following the preparation guide, you could start thinking that some information are duplicated, I also initially thinked it.

But going on I found very useful the way Hashicorp organized these materials in order to allow people to understand as better as possibile all Terraform features.

Test yourself

Now that you completed the official Terraform preparation guide, it's time to test yourself with some very near exam questions!

I found very useful these free materials:

Personal thoughs

Terraform is becoming more and more a crucial way for cloud infrastructure provisioning.
Just think about a company that makes b2b or b2c services. Each service probably has a dedicated infrastructure, some service could run in a cloud provider, an other service instead on an other provider.

Add to the recipe also the complexity (depending on the cases of course) of teams organization inside a mid/big company.
Teams could be spread (also geographically) and don't really directly talk to each other,
anyway each of them has a common need: manage the service infrastructure lifecycle with the aim of generating customer value.

Last but not least, consider a company standardization policy regarding how some services must be configured and .. the final monster.. security requirements.

I, and probably also you, feel like this right now...


But relax! Terraform of course tries to solve these needs in a very simple and fashion way.

The thing that I really like about Terraform is that it is really open and free so you can decide to build your platform automations on top of Terraform CLI for free or choose to upgrade to some Terraform paid tiers (https://www.hashicorp.com/products/terraform/pricing) for Enterprise use cases.

An other thing that make me thinking that terraform is suppose to be a long term solution, is its way to think like in an infinite game. In the infinite game you have to continously look out of the window to keep playing, cloud providers for example are evolving very quickly and Terraform is consequently evolving. Let me give an example.

Provisioners were a terraform solution to model specific actions on the local machine or on a remote machine in order to prepare servers or other infrastructure objects for service.
Initially provisioners were a nice trade-off considering multi cloud architecture.
Right now this feature is superseeded by cloud native functionality like AWS UserData and Terraform rapidly evolved. Directly from the provisioner documentation we have the proof:

Note: Provisioners should only be used as a last resort. For most common situations there are better alternatives. For more information, see the sections above.

So, they updated their documentation giving you some alternatives to better manage this kind of need. You will discover more about it during Terraform certification preparation.

Finally, Terraform direction is very interesting and comes from the real businesses needs, for example the "Provisioning no-code infrastructure" feature, even if it is avaiable only in the terraform cloud business tier, it is a nice way to take a cue and to image it in our company's platform automations.


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