Passed AWS Big Data Specialty

cochi78cochi78 Member Posts: 72 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hi all,

finally I completed my AWS journey and obtained the remaining 9th one: AWS Big Data Specialty.

This one was a particular challenge to me, as I have no real connection to big data topics in my field of work. Basically, I do automation and security work - but could not resist to try it at least.

Resources I used:
- prep course (very valuable)
- Linux Academy prep course (still good, but not yet on par with ACG. some areas which were missing there though)
- Safaribooks: Redshift Learning Path + Elasticsearch Service on AWS
- official AWS course materials on Big Data and Data Warehouse
- Whizlabs practice tests

Studies only consisted of about 20 hours, but with most video courses sped up significantly. All that I had to scatter across two months, as I got sick in the middle and had to pause for almost 4 weeks.

Whizlabs is not sufficient to crack this one open. Their questions mostly consist of short knowledge-based ones as opposed to the scenarios I had. But their questions include really valuable pointers which helped me in the actual exams. Things like S3 naming for partitioning data Hive-style for example. So well worth the money, but don't rely on it being the same type of experience at all!

The exam is probably tough even for big data practitioners, while I felt well prepared for Redshift and Kinesis topics I was confronted with a LOT of EMR/Hadoop questions which went quite into some depth. I should have added some course on Hive/Spark to my preparations to be more solid there. Also, IoT and Redshift barely came up in detail. Mostly, they were mentioned in the context of lengthy scenarios.

Speaking of scenarios: I feel like I had 60 of those in my total 65 questions. Some threw in some red herrings, others were straight forward. Overall, the questions are well phrased and not as ambiguous as some other exams. But reading this many detailed scenarios was exhausting and I can only compare the effort with an initial AWS Professional certification. I did not feel that tired after the other two specialties (but I am well-versed in their topics, so that's a bad comparison). There are questions which will have a small detail immediately making the obvious answer wrong. So read very carefully!

Passed after untypically long 90 minutes with just 74%, while the threshold seems to be at 70-72% - so it was a close call.

Now I will probably rest up some months as I already had 11-12 exams this year. Next will probably be my "Chef *" task or going on the security route. Let's see.


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