Lessons from “SAP on AWS Specialty” Certification
At the end of July I sat in a testing center to attempt my first try with “SAP on AWS – Specialty (PAS-C01)”. My current role in SAP is RISE Cloud Architect, so having a certification of any of the hyperscalers we work with helps a lot with my daily job.
I have a long history of certifications: my first exam was DOS. From that one I have had many others certifications, the last one 3 years ago when I certified as AWS Architect-Associate. Having said that, PAS-C01 was likely the exam I have been most unsure of the results. The first 10 questions were easy, I was answering them like a breeze but then the real challenge began: very difficult questions that had me doubting of the possible result. Good luck for me: at the end a “PASS” was displayed on the screen and had to wait some days to get the official results that included the score.
I would like to share with you some tips in case you are also looking at this certification.
A. Other people have made wonderful blog posts about the exam, I will not repeat their suggestions. These are the links
B. When I wrote that I sat at the testing center I meant exactly that: I went to a testing center. As you likely know, because COVID many people are doing exams at home but I preferred a testing center due a handful of reasons:
- No distractions. I mean no distractions: no child playing some meters from you or knocking the door; construction work activating the mic and being flagged as possible cheating, etc
- If there is a technical issue it is the testing center who must solve it. Even a new exam could be scheduled if necessary. These options are available at home but you must escalate to get them. Internet fails when at home? Good luck trying to reschedule.
- You can freely look away from screen: at home you are constantly monitored and even recorded. If there is some suspicious behavior (why did you look at the window?) you could be disqualified
- Time for a break: this is an almost 3 hour exam so you may need a break or take a medicine. This is possible in testing center but impossible at home: how do you prove you don’t go to the other room to look at a computer or book?
C. Please read thoroughly the Exam Guide . You will get questions about all the topics mentioned there so understand, be prepared and proficient at each single topic mentioned there. Yes, they are more than 100 items but they cover all the possible questions.
D. Post this diagram as screensaver or on a wall. Understand which are the components, where are located, how they interact (image from SAP on AWS High Availability with Overlay IP Address Routing-Architecture)
E. The questions have different complexity. You will get in some cases questions with only one paragraph that measure your knowledge of a specific area but also there are questions that have several paragraphs, even having to scroll because the description of the scenario uses all the screen, that will test your ability to understand the interaction between different AWS services.
F. Be an expert on the official documentation located at https://aws.amazon.com/sap/docs/ . Specifically, https://docs.aws.amazon.com/sap/latest/sap-hana/welcome.html must be your guide, you must be able to recite it backwards .
G. I would suggest you to prepare for AWS Associate Certification (SAA-C02, being replaced these days with SAA-C03) because I think this will give you roughly 50% of the knowledge needed for PAS-C01 exam. As previously stated, I got this certification 3 years ago and I reviewed/refreshed all the material from that time, this helped a lot.
H. There is a finite number of ways to migrate to AWS as well as how to move the files from onpremise to the cloud, so will not be too stressful to memorize all them and their requirements/features. This is 26% of the exam.
I. You must be very clear of the requirements to install and use Backint, Data Provider, Clusters. Play with them, invest some money in creating scenarios of them just for testing, review the troubleshooting info.
K. Leverage the training available in AWS’ Skillbuilder. There is a 4 hour training “SAP on AWS (Technical)” that has good pointers to the topics that will be asked as well as questions that have similar difficulty to the test. The training is not very detailed but will allow you to organize your starting point for self-learning deep dives. Thanks to Fabian Lober for mentioning this topic that I had forgotten.
L. Finally, this is a new exam, launched officially in April 2022, then no preparation books are available yet. But your experience and study will allow you to succeed.
If I have to summarize I would say: prepare like you are certifying for AWS Architect Associate and add the SAP flavor on top. Practice as much as you can. Learn in detail, in documentation, the topics that you can’t practice and make mental scenarios.
I hope this blog post provides you more tools to be able to pass the exam. Your feedback will be appreciated as well as comments and share of this blog post. If you have any question, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Best luck in your test!
PS1: If you are interested in certifications, you can find a collection of blog posts about the topic at https://blogs.sap.com/tags/222877341567121072788807155782117/ and Q&As regarding certification at https://answers.sap.com/tags/222877341567121072788807155782117