Certified Security - Specialty

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Passed the Security Speciality exam 29/3/2019

This exam was tough, comparatively.

For reference, here are my previous results:

Cloud practitioner: 89%

Solutions Architect – Associate: 90%

Developer – Associate: 96%

Solutions Architect – Professional: 84%

I have a heavy background in AWS architecture and development for the last 4 years with security considerations in focus from time to time in an enterprise company.

When I pressed the ‘end test’ on the Security Specialty certification, I was not Certain that I would pass. I think I would, but all exams above I Knew I passed when I pressed the button, and handily on top of that.

Final score 805/1000. Not bad, not special. I’ll take it any day.

So what made this certification hard from my perspective?

-The answers were ambiguous. I had to rely on my previous knowledge which had not much to do with this certification, just AWS knowledge, and the required knowledge was not basic, which made me think maybe it should not be incorporated. A second run on the exam made me realize that it focused more on that than on the basality of the questions and I Must use that background knowledge in focus when examining the alternatives, and it did not feel comfortable because of the phrasing of the answers. This might not make sense until you sit the exam, then I am quite certain you will agree.

-The exam felt designed to be unpreperable using mock exams. You had to fall back on Security and AWS experience.

All in all, I’ll take 800+ any day.


If anything, read any relevant whitepaper you can find about the subject would be my advice. Don’t bother with HSM. But KSM you Must master and of course IAM with emphasis on policies.

Alec Whitehouse

Congratulations! Very well done, and thanks for the tips! I now offer a little riddle: Q: What do you call someone who scored 750 on AWS Exam SCS-C01? A: An AWS Certified Security Specialist!


Hi Johan, congratulations! Quick question – I note the pre-reqs are for either Dev or SysOps and you also have the Architect cert. I don’t have any AWS certs at the moment & come from a strong security background. I don’t want to do a Dev cert (at least not just yet) so would you advise either the Arch or SysOps cert to provide that background knowledge? Architect would be more beneficial professionals to me but I want to try and fast track to this cert. Many thanks


Lol @Alec, just what my colleague said, almost in the identical phrasing. I suppose you two have point. 🙂


@ASecurityGuy all requirements for all certifications have been lifted by AWS. You can go directly to the Pro or Specialty certifications. However this would Not be wise decision. I recommend you taking at least one associate certification, preferably two. They would in your case be Architect associate and Sysops – associate. Good luck!


Thanks Johan; reading up on others’ experience this certainly seems to be the most sensible (and beneficial) approach!


@ASecurityGuy make it a habit to check on previous reflections of known, it is a great way to get input when preparing for the exam.

1 Answers

Hey Johan, congrats on passing! Yes I agree its a tough exam and it does really test your understanding of Security rather than ability to memorize stuff. I do think it’s a fair exam though and definitely challenging!


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