Cloud computing runs on Cloud networks, when the cheese moves it’s time to hit the maze!

When AWS lauched the AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty I immediately put in my ToDo list. After a year of light reading documentation and blogs about AWS I decided to focus more and do it for real.

Preparation

My process to prepare a certification exam starts with a first phase of light reading and then I go deeper in the details.

I read the blueprint and the Official study guide, then I take a note for each chapter with my level of confidence on the topic. This helps to make a plan with a realistic schedule and effort.

Two phases

After years of studying and passing vendor certification exams I developed a personal method in two phases.


In the first phase I watch videos to get a general idea on the topic.

For this exam I used ipSpace (awesome as usual), Udemy (light but useful) and a AWS Free digital training (must watch). AWS Stash is a great portal to find AWS re:Invent videos.

In the second phase I switch to documentation and labs to go deeper in the details and learn by doing.

The Official study guide is really well written (check the Errata). I spent a lot of time reading the AWS Documentation and the AWS Whitepapers, this is crucial to be confident on the day of the exam.

To complete my preparation I created almost all the lab scenarios described in the study guide and a few more in the AWS Console and Cloudformation or Terraform.

The Exam

I took the exam from kid’s room thanks to OnVUE online proctored exams. I had to move from my lab because it is mandatory for the exam to remove any additional monitor and I really didn’t wanted to mess with my nice setup 😉

It was the first online proctored exam I did. The experience was positive, it’s good to see other vendors like Cisco adding the same option.

The setup process of OnVUE can take up to 30 minutes. It requires to take pictures of the room where you’re taking the exam, of your ID and a webcam must be on all the time.

I’m happy I passed the exam on the first attempt. I’ve used all the time available to review my answers and felt quite tired at the end. The questions are fair, wording is clear, the difficulty level is well balanced but it is not an easy exam at all.

My two cents

From a networking perspective the exam can be compared to a CCNP level. VPNs, load balancers, BGP and routing in general are in the cloud are slightly different but there is some overlap. Be confident with all the constructs inside a VPC, their use, the recommended best practices and the limits.

The hardest part for me was to learn the services provided by AWS and the network requirements of each. This is necessary to pass the exam.

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect is not a prerequisite anymore but probably it would’ve been easier to do it before heading straight to Advanced Networking.

I’ve enjoyed the journey, learned a lot and now I feel more confident to discuss multi-cloud designs.

Certification Benefits

After passing the exam some benefits are available:

  • AWS Certified Store (not shipping outside US 😢)
  • Free Practice Exam Voucher
  • a chance to be involved in the SME Program
  • 50% Discount on your next Exam

Video

Additional reading