Last week I took the AWS Certified Security – Specialty exam — and I passed with a score of 930 (Woohoo!!)
In this post I cover why I took it, what I did to pass, my overall exam experience, and some tips I learnt along the way.
So let’s go.
Why would anybody pay good money, subject themselves to hours of studying, only to end up sitting in a cold exam room for hours answering many multiple choice questions!
And the reward for that work is an unsigned PDF file claiming you’re ‘certified’, and ‘privilege’ access to buy AWS branded notebooks and water bottles!! Unless those water bottles come with a reserved instance for Microsoft SQL server in Bahrain, I’m not interested.
But, jokes asides, I did this for fun and profit, and fortunately I really did enjoy the preparing for this exam. It exposed me to AWS services that I barely knew — and forced me to level-up my skills even on those that I knew.
The exam has a massive focus on VPC, KMS, IAM, S3, EC2, Cloudtrail and Cloudwatch. While lightly touching Guardduty, Macie, Config, Inspector, Lambda, Cloudfront, WAF, System Manager and AWS Shield.
You need to catch you breath just reading through that list!
But for those diligently keeping count — you’d notice that the majority of those services are serverless — meaning the exam combined my two technological love-affairs … security and serverless!
I wasn’t lying when I said it was fun. So what about the profit.
I’m not sure how good this would be for my career (I literally got the cert last week), but for $300, it’s is relatively cheap, with a tonne of practical value. So trying to get an ROI on this, isn’t going to be hard.
For comparison, the CCSP certification cost nearly twice as much, is highly theoretical and requires professional experience.
The results also help me validate my past years of working on serverless projects, proving I wasn’t just some rando posting useless hobby projects on GitHub. Instead, I’m now a certified AWS professional, posting useless hobby projects on GitHub (it’s all about how you market it!)
So now that we’ve covered the why, let’s move onto how.