Tipped to be the most sought-after certification of 2017, the AWS certified Security Specialist beta exam oversubscribed faster than pre-orders for the Nintendo Switch, leaving latecomers like myself with a long wait for the final product.
As luck would have it the beta exam failed to meet the strict standards that AWS demand, and I was spared a month of hard study, and 6 months of anticipation prior to being told the exam was back on the drawing board.
So when I stumbled across the announcement of the new beta last month, I hit the registration button and was surprised to not only secure a time slot but also one so close to home, and on a Sunday too, how convenient!
My study consisted of a warm-up week where I spent the commute reading the Mastering AWS Security book. From there I moved onto the whitepapers and developer docs before commencing the many free digital training courses that AWS offers. I also did a trial of the Linux Academy AWS Security Essentials course which although not aligned with the exam helped me brush up on the basics.
Of course, most evenings were spent watching at least 2 hours of re:INVENT (you can find a well-curated list here). I also dipped into a few sessions from the Udemy AWS Certified Security Specialty 2018 course. The presentation was a little dated and not as slick as the likes of Linux Academy or A Cloud Guru but it was relevant in parts and helped focus my attention on some key topics on the exam.
I waited until the final week to complete the A Cloud Guru course that I’d purchased last year as there were some last minute updates made to the content to bring it inline with the 2018 beta. It covered a lot of ground, and I confess that by the end of it I was struggling to take any more in. I found the discussions with each video a little distracting, as they sometimes contradicted the content which did seem rushed in a few places.
So exam day is finally here, and after arriving an hour early, I spent 45 minutes sat in the car park cramming through summaries and notes before heading into the testing centre. The centre itself was a welcome change from the concrete buildings in the city, and with a relaxing drive down a countryside road and very friendly staff, I’m sure that helped calm my nerves compared to dodging people on the London footfall.
So how did I do? Who knows, I’ll have to wait until the results are in and calibrated (90 days?).
Pass or fail, the experience and challenge of pushing myself to learn in-depth AWS security were well worth the effort!