Recently, I have been studying for and fortunately passed the AWS Certified Security Specialty exam. Unlike the AWS Associate and Professional certifications for which there seems to be no shortage of study material, I found that study material for the AWS Security Specialty, especially a book, is less common. You may be asking and I’ll say “yes”, I have an A Cloud Guru subscription, and “yes”, I completed their 2020 Security Specialty video course and “yes”, I found it beneficial, but nonetheless, when studying for an exam, I still like books. I like having something I can hold in my hand, browse though, highlight, and just spend at least a little time away from my phone/tablet/computer so as not to be tempted to answer emails, IMs, or binge watch “The Office” though I’ve seen each episode a couple times at least.
If you do a search for AWS Security Specialty Exam Study Guides, you’ll find only a few options. In fact, at least 2 of the results won’t be available until 2021! So that left me considering Zeal Vora’s AWS Certified Security – Specialty study guide. In short, I found the book helpful and at $20 for a new one, a relative bargain compared to other study guides. If you are preparing for the AWS Security Specialty exam, I believe you’ll find this guide helpful.
- The price
- How it delivered its content in alignment with the exam blueprint…Incident Response, Logging and Monitoring, Infrastructure Security, Identity and Access Management, and Data Protection. You may find this of benefit if/when you take the AWS Security Specialty practice exam as you will receive a score report broken down into percentages for each domain topic. If you need to improve one section over another, you can use Zeal’s book to focus on your weaknesses.
- I found the book “well sectioned” so I found it easy to read as much or as little as I wanted without feeling like I’m stopping in the middle of a chapter and “losing my spot”
I didn’t like (and some of this may be “nit picky” but I’m a grandpa now so whatever):
- There were a few misspelled words.
- There were some page formatting issues with a random line thrown in as a bonus on a few pages, but not enough to hide any text.
- What bugged me most though was that there was no Index. I don’t know why really but sometimes I found myself wondering, “Where was that section on AWS xyz?” and I’d have to look through the ToC to find it.
In regards to a rating, I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars.
In closing, I used the following resources and to help me pass the AWS Security Specialty exam:
- Personal experience with AWS…I believe it’s safe to say there is no better teaching tool.
- The ACloudGuru AWS Security Specialty course and an AWS test account in which to run labs. Having a lab you can “mess up” is another invaluable tool.
- I was able to attend the 3-day Security Engineering on AWS training class. Personally, I completed the ACloudGuru course before attending this class.
- Zeal Vora’s book
- Though Zeal’s book and ACloudGuru offer practice questions/exams, I find taking the official AWS practice exam for a given subject extremely helpful. It’s a timed, 20 question exam (if memory serves you get 40 minutes) that can serve as a personal go/no go in regards to scheduling the “real” exam. It does cost $40, but if you’ve previously passed an AWS certification exam, you should have at least one free practice exam voucher available to you….use it!