How To Pass AWS Database Specialty Certification?

Hello, I recently passed the new AWS Certified Database Specialty Certification (DBS-C01) on 26th Sep 2020.

I have been working with Databases especially RDBMS databases for the last 19 years (including my college days) & NoSQL DBs from the last 3 years. So I have good know-how about them already and also working with AWS services has helped to understand how they work in and outs.

But still, I did not have exposure to few AWS Database services like Aurora (which features heavily in the exam), and NoSQL DB like QLDB/Neptune/Keyspaces.

Preparation steps for AWS Certified Database Specialty Exam

I started my studies in the first week of September and gave the AWS Database speciality exam on 26th September. My main mantra was to study daily 6-7 hours to achieve this certification within a month. As I am a fan of late-night studies and with a daily job, I only have that time which I use for my upskilling.

Note: Please go through the 11th link at the very last when you are confident and are ready to appear for the exam, to do the last minute check whether you are really ready or not.

  • Once I completed the AWS online training barring the last link, then I started with the Stephane Maarek & Riyaz Sayyad Udemy course for the same. 
  • After completion of these Database Speciality courses, I started with Jon Bonso practice tests and in parallel was reading the AWS Database blogs as well. 

Tips for AWS Certified Database Specialty Exam

  • This new specialty certification focuses on all the Database services provided by AWS  – RDS/Aurora/DynamoDB/ElastiCache for REDIS/ElastiCache for Memcached/Redshift/DocumentDB(Mongo)/QLDB/Neptune/Keyspaces(Cassandra)
  • Please note that Timestream is still in beta on this time of writing, maybe sometime later it will be generally available. 
  • Other topics include CloudFormation service for IAC and (DMS & SCT) services for migration. 
  • CloudWatch service, S3, EBS (backups & snapshots), HA/FT/DR questions will be asked. 
  • Also, there will be questions where you need to choose between SSM parameter store/Secrets Manager, so knowing the difference between them is necessary, Security in Transit/Security at Rest queries will be asked. 
  • Make sure you know the difference between MultiAZ and Read Replicas and how to encrypt unencrypted DBs and the migration techniques and strategies. 
  • Make sure you understand Multi-master concept, Global table concept, Serverless DB concept, which is more favourable in which use-case – whether to use ElastiCache or Read Replica can do the work.
  • It is important to know which metrics are shown in AWS CloudWatch and which in Performance Insights. 
  • Have good know-how of CloudFormation service and how it can be used to create the Databases in 1 account, multiple accounts, and in multiple regions.
  • Know about the rollback strategy for DBs created via each RDS DB engine. Read the AWS Database blog site for more in-depth information. 
  • I regularly follow the AWS Blog & AWS DynamoDB Twitter account to regularly update my knowledge on the different use case(s) and solutions. 

Last but not least, if you are going to give the AWS Database Specialty exam, make sure you use your free AWS account to practice all the databases services and check all the features since you never know which question can be asked. 

These are some pointers that I use for my AWS Database Specialty certification – DBS C01. 

So this is it, here is the detailed journey for my new Amazon certification, how I went about it and what I read to crack this difficult exam.

Author: Sanjib Behera is a cloud enthusiast and life long learner with multiple cloud certifications. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

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