renewed my aws security specialty certification

A few weeks ago I took an exam that renewed my AWS Security Specialty certification for another 3 years. This is an advanced “specialty” certification offered by AWS centered around, surprisingly, implementing and managing security within the AWS cloud platform.

I first took this back in 2020 and passed with a really good score. Reading my prior notes, I have many of the same thoughts this year as I did back then; this exam is frustrating to take. The questions are long, 30-40% felt like multiple answer questions. There were times I would just sit back in my testing chair, fold my arms over my chest, and get comfortable to read a long question several times. The longest question/answer was literally 4 screen lengths.

Study Plan

This time, I had access to Udemy through my employer, so I made use of several courses on that platform. I covered about 50% of the course content in “Ultimate AWS Certified Security Specialty SCS-C01” by Stephane Maarek. I also covered about 50% of the course content in “AWS Certified Security Specialty Course SCS-C01 (2023)” by Neal Davis. I then also went through practice exams for the certification on the Tutorials Dojo site by Jon Bonso.

I started with the Maarek course, but I honestly got through much of it and didn’t feel very confident. I was much happier going through the Davis course which included him going over hands-on show-and-tell segments which I find better than doing my own labs. It might be that I liked Davis, because I did Maarek first and got the wheels greased. The practice exams on the courses and the dedicated offering on Tutorials Dojo were all good questions, with the latter site being…let’s say…very close to exam types of questions.

If I were to do this again, I might look to see if my prior study course by Adrian Cantrill was still maintained and offered somewhere, otherwise I’d go back to Davis and Maarek for studying and Bonso for practice exams. I’m not sure I’d need anything beyond that other than my own experience and exposure in AWS through work and other various labs and study adventures.

What’s next?

I’m not sure. If I want to do anything else in AWS, I would probably sneak in the AWS Developer Associate somewhere. I’ve seen some study material on it, and I have to say there is a bunch of material that feels pretty basic for someone relatively new to IT overall. But, the things that go beyond those basics could be useful. I’d probably want to do that this year or in 2 years, though, just to get renewal lined up better? If I dive further into AWS cloud security, I would certainly do it as well as look into Solutions Architect Professional and the Networking specialty. At least to take them once and forever learn some new things. The Sysops Associate could be interesting, but I wonder if I might not learn a ton new from it that is useful to my current work anyway.

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