Posted by on August 4, 2017

Having passed my exam this morning, I’m now certified by Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a Big Data Specialist!

Amazon has a strong offering of services that greatly simplify analytics, machine learning, or just working with data.

I have to admit that I was worried about this exam. AWS has more than 70 services, many of which are fields of study on their own. I am an expert in some of them and have familiarity with many others, but there are services which I have never used. The exam guide does not specify what is covered by the exam.

As you might expect, there were questions about EMR, Kinesis, and Redshift. There were fewer questions than I expected on Data Pipeline, Elastic Search, the IoT service, Amazon Machine Learning, and Quicksight. I have more expertise with these tools than is needed for the exam, and found the questions simple. I was expecting questions on S3 and Lambda, but was surprised at how complex these questions were, and often struggled to see how the question was related to big data. The service with the most questions, and by far the most difficult questions, was DynamoDB. I think that a DynamoDB expert with casual knowledge of EMR, Kinesis, and Redshift would find the exam easier than I did. Though that might reflect my expertise.

I was surprised to find not a single question on recent services from the past couple years like Athena, the Database Migration Service, Lex, Rekognition, or the Schema Conversion Tool. Each of these tools has advanced AWS’s cloud offering past what most enterprises can dream of doing with their on-premise computing.

I’m looking forward to using more of the AWS big data services with my customers. Our future is bright!

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