Path to AWS Big Data Specialty Exam – 25th June, 2019

Completed my AWS Big Data Specialty Certification yesterday. It was quite an amazing experience preparing for this exam considering the breadth and depth of the topics covered. I have some data background that helped a bit. Started with Cloud Academy AWS Big Data course which gave an overview of AWS Big Data Services. Answered few quiz questions for each of the services in Cloud Academy. Then went through the A Cloud Guru Big Data course which was really useful and found it very helpful for the exam. Went through the course thrice to understand how all the services integrate together conceptually.

These aspects are important for the exam:

Redshift Table Design, Loading data to Redshift, EMR and Redshift encryption, Design patterns of leveraging S3 as a Data Lake, Kinesis and Spark Integration, Dynamo DB Partitioning, More importantly how all the big data components integrate with each other and design considerations around it.

In a Nutshell, my exam preparation included the following:

  1. Cloud Academy Big Data Specialty
  2. A Cloud Guru Course (3 times in 2x speed 😊)
  3. A Cloud Guru Course – Hands-On with AWS Redshift: Table Design
  4. AWS BigData Exam readiness video, available here.
  5. Watched few AWS re-invent videos in you tube.

And went through the following White Papers :

  • Big Data Analytics Options on AWS.
  • Best Practices for Amazon EMR
  • Building Big Data Storage Solutions (Data Lakes) for Maximum Specialty

Read following Blog Posts:

  • Optimize Spark- Streaming to Efficiently Process Amazon Kinesis Streams
  • Querying Amazon Kinesis Streams Directly with SQL and Spark Streaming
  • Encrypt and Decrypt Amazon Kinesis Records using AWS KMS
  • Implementing Efficient and Reliable Producers with Amazon Kinesis Producer Library
  • Choosing the Right DynamoDB Partition Key
  • Powering Amazon Redshift Analytics with Apache Spark and Amazon Machine Learning
  • Using Spark SQL for ETL

Did not have enough time to complete technical documentation for each of the services but did a quick pass through of FAQ’s for following services – S3, EMR, Redshift, Kinesis – Streams, Analytics, Firehose and DynamoDB. From course perspective you can either use A Cloud Guru Big Data Course or Linux Academy Big Data Course.

From testing practice, did Linux Academy for 65 questions, 10 sample question provided by AWS and 15 sample questions provided by whiz labs.

Unlike Solution Associate exam none of the questions will be directed on services but on scenario-based application of Services. If you are short of time and have some data background, you should definitely go through the once listed in Bold above.

Wish you all good Luck!!

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