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AWS SSA-C03 exam

October 30, 2022

Three years passed from the last AWS exam I took, and my AWS certifications were due a renewal. The first thing I checked was what was the exam code and which one I had taken three years ago. It turns out that the last time I took SAA-C01, this time, the only available version for the AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam was SAA-C03. SAA-C03 is still very new since it got released last month, so not much third-party material is available.

The first thing I did was look at the differences in topics and weights between the two versions. The two biggest changes are the complete drop of Operation Excellence and the doubling of Cost Optimization’s weight. The drop (in 2020 with the introduction of SAA-C02) of Operation Excellence is very interesting since I never felt it made sense in an architecture exam. The increase of Cost Optimization weight (both in SAA-C02 and SAA-C03) is also something I agree with since cost management is becoming a significant issue for companies deploying applications on the cloud. Looking at changes, I think it’s very insightful that the Security domain got reduced slightly from SAA-C01 to SAA-C02 to be increased (to an even higher weight) between SAA-C02 and SAA-C03.

An essential aspect of AWS certifications is the list of in-scope and out-of-scope services since AWS now has so many services that it would be complex to know enough about them all. Luckily, now AWS publishes this list, and there is no need to rely on community-created lists. The list is much longer than I would like it to be. I understand that AWS uses certifications to force people to learn about less-used services to ensure that those people will know those services exist if they ever face a problem that could benefit from them. Still, those exotic services do not make sense in such a certification.

Overall, the complexity of the exam did not change much from the SAA-C01. As an exam, it’s getting better overall between editions, but it still has improvement space. More specifically, I hope that AWS will remove at least 50% of the in-scope services and only focus on the few services that companies use the most.

AWS, Cloud