AWS certifications are some of the hottest certifications of the year. Previously, we’ve given an overview of the available AWS certifications.  AWS has clearly seen this, and there have been rumors of new certifications coming out over the last year. Now, AWS is introducing AWS specialty certifications.

Before we get started talking about what the AWS specialty certifications are, let’s talk about the requirements to gain them. Both the AWS specialty certifications require one of the three AWS associate level certifications: AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate, AWS Certified Developer – Associate, or AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate.

Beyond requiring an AWS associate level certification, both AWS specialty certifications suggest five years of hands on experience. In contrast, the AWS professional level certifications suggest two years of hands on experience.

There are currently AWS specialty certifications available in two areas: networking and big data. The tests are three hours long, and cost USD $300. This is where the similarities end between the two new AWS specialty certifications.

AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty

The AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty certification has an exam guide, similar to the other AWS certifications.

Reviewing the exam guide is a great way to get started preparing for AWS specialty certifications. In the case of big data, the content is split very evenly over the following areas: Collection, Storage, Processing, Analysis, and Data Security. Data Security is the most heavily weighted at 20%, and Visuzalization is the least heavily weighted at 12%. The other areas are weighted at 17% each.

AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty

Like its big data sibling, the AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Speciality certification also has an exam guide. The material is not as evenly weighted as the big AWS specialty certifications, with a large emphasis on designing and implementing AWS networking at 29% and a small emphasis on automation at 8%. It also has a large focus on designing and implement hybrid IT network architectures at scale at 23% of the exam weight.

The AWS specialty certification for networking has a large emphasis on design, and it is interesting to note it is concerned with both AWS networking and hybrid IT networking. For many organizations working out the networking between the cloud and their data center can be one of the most difficult things about utulizbg cloud resources. It also can be one of the most error prone areas with the biggest impact to the rest of the infrastructure.

Resources for AWS Specialty Certifications

Because these certifications are so new, AWS does not clearly list much study material beyond the exam guides and some suggested reading for each certification.  They do however, list some suggested reading material on each of the ceritifacaion pages.  You can find the page for the AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty certification here, and the page for the AWS Certified Big Data Specialty certification page here.

Because these AWS specialty certifications require an AWS specialty certification, if you are looking to prepare for them you are likely well versed in the basics of AWS.  We have also compiled a guide of some of the best FREE AWS resources to help you prepare for the exams.

These exams are a great way to dive in to AWS if you did not find the associate level certifications to be of your linking.  Unfortunately, they are a necessary evil, so be sure to pick the associate level certification you find the most interesting.  If you are passionate about Networking or Big Data, AWS can be a fantastic platform to work with.  Gaining these new certifications can also help you get quickly up to speed on the AWS features in this areas.