Last week I made an attempt at passing one of the new AWS Specialty exams – Security.
The “Specialty” exams are currently in Beta, which means the questions are not finalised, and there’s many more of them than you’ll find at the final version of the exam. Because of that, the results will be available in late March. But as an incentive, you get much more time to answer the questions and if you don’t pass the Beta exam, you’ll get a voucher for the final version. And the Beta exams are half price. Worst case, you get two attempts at the exam for quarter of the price.
The AWS Certified Security – Specialty BETA exam I received, consisted of 108 questions for which I had 2 hours and 50 minutes. The questions were all focused around wide-range of security considerations (as per exam’s objective) in AWS environment. I can’t share any content of the questions, and since the exam is still in Beta, none of them may appear on the final version.
The difficulty varied tremendously – some questions were very easy and some required very specific knowledge of security standards, like ISO 27001. You can find a description of requirements for the exam on AWS page: aws.amazon.com/certification/certified-security-specialty/.
Most of the questions were long, scenario-based, similar to what you can find on DevOps – Professional and Solutions Architect exams. Because of that, the exam was quite exhausting as it required me to focus on a complex scenario in order to find an answer and then immediately switch to another scenario in another question. In all, I’d say the exam required just as much, or even a bit more, energy and focus than the DevOps – Professional exam.
I have to say I was quite surprised by some questions touching on subjects which you can find on Solutions Architect – Professional exam, even though officially you only need to pass the Associate exam to try the “Specialties”. On the other hand, a lot of the areas covered by the Pro exam include security of production environments in AWS, so that should be expected on a Security-focused exam.
All in all, I’d say the exam matched the difficulty of the Professional exams (and some questions went event above that), so I’m eagerly awaiting my results in March!