I recently passed the AWS Security Specialty exam (exactly a week ago). It is the 6th AWS certification I earned as of date. Both my sisters had a nonchalant reaction when I told them about it. "Again!?" I guess the law of diminishing marginal returns applies here, they're no longer as impressed as they were when I took my first exam. 😆
Well to me, it was still scary, going to the exam center with the fear of failure at the attempt. It was my first specialty exam after all, and I had news that it was one of the difficult ones. I did fail an AWS certification exam before having gone to it too confident with not much preparation, and I do not want to experience that ever again. The exam length alone is a big waste (Professional and Specialty exams run for at least 3 hours).
Okay, enough with the plug. Let me tell you another reason why you don't want to fail, and why some even don't want to risk taking the exam.
Cloud Practitioner - $100
Associate Level - $150
Professional or Specialty - $300
Talk about expensive! Aside from the one exam I failed, and one which was company sponsored, all my AWS exams were 100% free. Listing down some of the ways you can get these vouchers too!
AWS has a thriving user group community. They have developer advocates whose main job is just that, empower AWS users. To help aid in training, they provide free training, and lots of times, they give away these free vouchers during the training events. Attend community events, and you might just earn yourself a free certification exam, or AWS credits!
AWS create programs to give you just that...free vouchers.
Since a few years ago, AWS had a mission--to get people certified. To make this happen, they have been actively giving out free training materials (improving the skill builders website), and giving away promotional AWS vouchers to take the exam at a discount, or 100% free. You just have to skim through the forums for the announcements.
As mentioned prior, the user group community is thriving and it's not without the help of volunteers who make this happen. If you have enough contribution to the community, not just as an "attendee", try to apply for the AWS Community Builders program. Applications open twice a year and is a seamless process of submitting links to your contributions (blogs, vlogs, live talks, online talks, and other community volunteer initiatives).
Being a community builder is a true testament of "giving back". You are not paid for it, but you get the chance to give back to a community that empowers you in your role. Did I mention it comes with swags, access to the community builders network, AWS credits, and drumroll an AWS certification voucher.
If you haven't taken an exam yet, you probably don't know that AWS gives you a 50% discount voucher to your next exam. It's one way to encourage you to keep on learning, and support you on the journey.
That said, there is an ongoing free retake promo (in case you need it): https://home.pearsonvue.com/aws/free-retake
The AWS Certification Free Exam Retake promotion is available March 15, through May 31, 2023, to candidates attempting a retake of a failed exam. The first exam attempt should be taken by May 31, 2023, and if needed, the free retake exam must be completed by August 1, 2023. Re-takes completed after August 1, 2023, are not eligible for the promotional retake discount. Make sure you utilize this if you're taking an exam soon!
I also got renewed today for a second year to the AWS Community Builders program! Looks like I'm gonna need to study to take another free exam! 😆