How to pass the AWS Certified Advanced Networking Specialty exam

Get ready to read a lot of study material 📚

Image credit: AWS


I passed the AWS Advanced Networking - Specialty around June 2019. This was my 6th exam so far (passed all the associates and professional exams up to this point). This is certainly a more challenging exam if you don’t have a deep knowledge into networking on AWS.

If you want to pass this exam I would suggest to read this carefully and block time in your agenda to study the material that is mentioned.

Don’t expect any shortcuts or prefab notes to make your life easier, try to study the material and take your own notes, this way you learn and comprehend the knowledge that you studied way better. So let’s start!



Prerequisites

According to AWS they recommend you to posses the following knowledge before attending the exam:

  • We recommend candidates hold an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner or a current Associate-level certification: AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate, AWS Certified Developer - Associate or AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate
  • Advanced knowledge of AWS networking concepts and technologies
  • Minimum five years hands-on experience architecting and implementing network solutions
  • Advanced networking architectures and interconnectivity options (e.g., IP VPN, MPLS/VPLS)
  • Networking technologies within the OSI model, and how they affect implementation decisions
  • Development of automation scripts and tools
  • CIDR and sub-netting (IPv4 and IPv6)
  • IPv6 transition challenges
  • Generic solutions for network security features, including WAF, IDS, IPS, DDoS protection, and Economic Denial of Service/Sustainability (EDoS)



Exam Overview

There are two types of questions on the examination:

  • Multiple-choice: Has one correct response and three or four incorrect responses (distractors).
  • Multiple-response: Has two or more correct responses out of five or more options.

The AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty (ANS-C00) is a pass or fail exam of 170 minutes. The examination is scored against a minimum standard established by AWS professionals who are guided by certification industry best practices and guidelines.



Content Outline

AWS supplied the topics and domains that will be tested throughout the exam in the AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty (ANS-C00) Exam Guide

network-specialty-exam-domains

Domain 1: Design and implement hybrid IT network architectures at scale

1.1 Implement connectivity for hybrid IT
1.2 Given a scenario, derive an appropriate hybrid IT architecture connectivity solution
1.3 Explain the process to extend connectivity using AWS Direct Connect
1.4 Evaluate design alternatives that leverage AWS Direct Connect
1.5 Define routing policies for hybrid IT architectures

Domain 2.0: Design and implement AWS networks

2.1 Apply AWS networking concepts
2.2 Given customer requirements, define network architectures on AWS
2.3 Propose optimized designs based on the evaluation of an existing implementation
2.4 Determine network requirements for a specialized workload
2.5 Derive an appropriate architecture based on customer and application requirements
2.6 Evaluate and optimize cost allocations given a network design and application data flow

Domain 3.0: Automate AWS tasks

3.1 Evaluate automation alternatives within AWS for network deployments
3.2 Evaluate tool-based alternatives within AWS for network operations and management

Domain 4.0: Configure network integration with application services

4.1 Leverage the capabilities of Route 53
4.2 Evaluate DNS solutions in a hybrid IT architecture
4.3 Determine the appropriate configuration of DHCP within AWS
4.4 Given a scenario, determine an appropriate load balancing strategy within the AWS ecosystem
4.5 Determine a content distribution strategy to optimize for performance
4.6 Reconcile AWS service requirements with network requirements

Domain 5.0: Design and implement for security and compliance

5.1 Evaluate design requirements for alignment with security and compliance objectives
5.2 Evaluate monitoring strategies in support of security and compliance objectives
5.3 Evaluate AWS security features for managing network traffic
5.4 Utilize encryption technologies to secure network communications

Domain 6.0: Manage, optimize, and troubleshoot the network

6.1 Given a scenario, troubleshoot and resolve a network issue



Exam preparation

Now comes the fun part.. getting prepared for the exam. The following points helped me tremendously in gaining knowledge on all the content that was outlined for the examination:

  1. Join AWS Training and Certification and subscribe to the following curriculum: Exam Readiness: AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty
  2. Read the official: AWS Certified Advanced Networking Official Study Guide: Specialty Exam
  3. Optional: A Cloud Guru AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty course


1. Exam Readiness: AWS Certified Advanced Networking - Specialty

advanced-networking-course

This is a free online course (duration: 9 hours) supplied by AWS which covers the following concepts:

  • Understand advanced networking concepts in AWS so you can design well-architected networking frameworks for your workloads in Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC)
  • Connect on-premises data centers to Amazon VPC (AWS Direct Connect, AWS VPN), enabling AWS to function as an extension of the data center
  • Leverage network automation to accelerate workload deployments and app migration
  • Incorporate individual application networking requirements that use different AWS services into the overall network design
  • Practice network security and network troubleshooting best practices
  • Testing center information and expectations
  • Exam overview and structure
  • Content domains and question breakdown
  • Question structure and interpretation techniques
  • Practice exam questions

The instructor takes time to draw and explain key networking concepts and after each video you will be presented two sample exam questions which you need to answer. These answers to these questions will be explained afterwards.


2. AWS Certified Advanced Networking Official Study Guide: Specialty Exam

This book prepares you all the way and covers all the content that was outlined in the exam guide. The domains consists of multiple chapters outlining the different subjects that cover all the topics, to give you an example:

Domain 1.0: Design and implement hybrid IT network architectures at scale in the exam are being handled by the following topics in the book:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to Advanced Networking
  • Chapter 3: Advanced VPC
  • Chapter 4: Virtual Private Networks
  • Chapter 5: AWS Direct Connect
  • Chapter 12: Hybrid Architectures
  • Chapter 16: Scenarios and Reference Architectures

This way you can study each domain thoroughly and since the domains are weighed by %, it’s wise to spend most time on the first two domains since that covers 52% of the exam!

LPT: before starting out with the book I’d suggest you to take the assessment test in the beginning of the book to check your current understanding of Advanced Networking within AWS.


A Cloud Guru

I’ve added this one as an optional course to study and prepare for the exam because it’s more relevant to people that are new to the networking domain.

This course spends a significant amount of time on core network topics such as IPv4, VLANS, DNS, BGP and the 7-Layer OSI Model. I personally don’t enjoy watching people read off of presentation slides to deliver knowledge. I’d rather read and takes notes of the most important information so that I can remember it faster.



Finishing note..

The 3 study materials outlined above should sufficiently prepare you for the exam. However I would really recommend to start out with the assessment test in the official study guide to find out how well your knowledge is before you start studying. The assessment gives a good analysis on your strong and weak points. You could use this information to dive deeper in the topics that currently are your weak points.

If you already have some hands on experience with AWS in the console then that’s good for you! if not, then don’t worry! Too give an example; a certain amount of the questions are about Direct Connect, this is a service which most engineers haven’t dealt with in their professional career (that includes me as well).

Don’t expect to pass the exam if you learn from prefab notes that are created by other people. Most of the time it’s summarised and it could miss some important context. Learning to understand what you read by taking notes of it is way better than memorizing summaries of other people’s notes.

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Danny Steenman
Cloud Consultant

Cloud Consultant specialised in building high availability environments, using automation and continuous deployment.

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