I(Emmanuel Koomson) took both the AWS Big Data exam (now retired) and its new version, the Data Analytics. I passed both. I would rate the difficulty level for both exams as moderate.

The exam guide for the certification can be found here and Sample Questions.

What is AWS Data Analytics Specialty certification?

AWS Big Data Specialty certification changed to the AWS Data Analytics – Specialty certification announced by AWS in late 2019.

This credential helps organizations identify and develop talent with critical skills for implementing cloud initiatives. Earning AWS Certified Data Analytics – Specialty validates expertise in using AWS data lakes and analytics services to get insights from data.

Why should you take AWS Data Analytics Specialty exam?

Data is growing for businesses at an alarming rate, which means there is a growing need for engineers who know how to gather insight from that data. That is where the AWS Data Analytics Specialty certification fits into the picture. 

This certification will validate your data analytics skills. You’ll be able to understand and explain how AWS data analytics services work and put into use and answer essential questions about the business data.

Who should take AWS Certified Data Analytics Specialty?

Professionals with experience and expertise working with AWS services to design, build, secure, and maintain analytics solutions. 

Differences Between AWS Big Data & Data Analytics Exam

  1. Amazon MSK is featured on the new exam.
  2. More storage questions on the Data Analytics exam
  3. A lot more questions on the processing
  4. The Big Data exam used to have a number of Machine Learning questions. You may still see few Machine Learning questions on the exam.
  5. Relatively fewer questions on Analysis and Visualization

Read: What it takes to achieve all 13 AWS certifications!

Preparation Tips for AWS Certified Data Analytics – Specialty certification:

1. If you have passed at least an associate exam, your focus should be on Collection, Processing and Analytics, and Visualization domains

2. Know the use cases for each big data analytics service(listed in the next section)

3. Know the anti-patterns for each service

4. Data Analytics certification focuses on OLAP while the Database is OLTP biased. NB: There are OLTP questions on the Data Analytics specialty certification exam.

5. You should understand how to secure the services. Know which ones use fine-grained IAM permissions and which ones do not

6. Understand how encryption at rest and in-transit works and which types are supported for each service

7. You should have experience with Redshift and know the best practices in designing tables and loading data for optimum performance

8. Services used for Batch Processing and Streaming

9. Know the license models for QuickSight and security features supported per model 

10. How to load data into QuickSight and how to refresh data

11. When to use Glue and where to use EMR. Know the limitations of Glue

12. S3 store tiers and lifecycle policies

13. Data transformations/conversions – Kinesis Firehose, Lambda, Kinesis Data Analytics, Glue

14. Data formats that improve data processing, e.g., Avro, ORC, Parquet

15. Take the exam readiness course from AWS to assess your readiness

Services to know for the exam

  1. Glue & Glue Data Catalog
  2. S3 
  3. DynamoDB
  4. Kinesis Data Streams
  5. Kinesis Firehose
  6. Redshift and Spectrum
  7. EMR and Hadoop Ecosystem
  8. Lambda
  9. Athena
  10. Quicksight
  11. Kinesis Data Analytics
  12. ElasticSearch and Kibana
  13. RDS & Aurora
  14. Amazon MSK
  15. IoT Core
  16. Data Pipeline
  17. DMS
  18. Snowball and Direct Connect
  19. SageMaker
  20. Security considerations for all above services

Resources Used for AWS Data Analytics Certification

Certification Preparation course:

  1. Udemy
  2. Linux Academy

AWS Free Digital Courses:

  1. Exam Readiness: AWS Certified Data Analytics – Specialty

2. Best Practices for Data Warehousing with Amazon Redshift

Specialty Practice Tests

  1. Whizlabs

White Papers

  1. Big Data Analytics Options on AWS
  2. Lambda Architecture for Batch and Stream Processing
  3. Use Amazon ES to Log and Monitor Almost Everything
  4. Streaming Data Solutions on AWS with Amazon Kinesis

Exam overview

Level: Specialty
Length: 180 minutes to complete the exam
Cost: 300 USD (Practice exam: 40 USD)
Format: 65 questions, either multiple choice or multiple responses
Delivery method: Pearson VUE and PSI; testing center or online proctored exam

Keep learning, and Good Luck on your exam!

Have questions? Participate in AWS discussions on our Forums. Click here.

Author: Emmanuel Koomson is a Product Owner, Solution Architect, 9X AWS Certified, and a lifelong learner. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

More from the author: How to Prepare for AWS Certified Database Specialty