He did it!
Our Cloud Expert Alessandro Gaggia got his sixth (!) AWS Certification (the 58th AWS Certification for beSharp): the AWS Certified Machine Learning Specialty!
Alessandro is considered a backbone of our company: he joined the team as a Front-end developer back in 2012, a few months after beSharp’s establishment. Today, he is the dean of our development team. He first approached Machine Learning one year ago while participating in the AWS DeepRacer League held during the AWS RE: Mars in Las Vegas. From that moment onwards, it became a real passion for him. After the rush, which took him towards the certification, Alessandro threw himself into a precious retrospective study on the winning path that led him to obtain this excellent result in a few days. So it’s time to leave the floor. Ready to become AWS Certified?
— beSharp (@beSharpsrl) June 8, 2020
AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty is an advanced certification a bit different from the others, because it is the only one which focuses on specific sector knowledge not strictly tied to AWS services. In fact, in order to pass the exam and obtain the certification, it’s fundamental being able to recognize, analyze and optimize different machine learning problems starting from use cases’ descriptions, without them being exclusively linked to peculiar AWS’ solutions.
This is my point of view and it diverges a little from what I have read in many articles, where authors consider SageMaker as the main focus of the exam. I believe, instead, that this exam tested mainly me being familiar with Machine Learning in general.
On the other hand, many testimonials – given by expert data scientists – say that, before taking this certification, many years of on-the-field training are required. Personally, I don’t believe this is entirely true: experience always plays a fundamental role however, like many other certifications I’ve obtained, what you really need is dedication to study, a strong desire to deep dive in all the arguments and logic ability to make it through. Also some understanding of Big Data concepts can help.
Disclaimer: information gathered here repòresent my personal experience on preparing the exam and it is by no means to be intended as a substitute, more over exhaustive, of studying material proposed by Amazon Web Services. I believe though, that they are an excellent reference material to follow in order to optimize your learning path, containing references to many different sites about Machine Learning and on AWS’ FAQ.
Be also extra careful about the different questionnaires available for testing, for which you’ll get the link, in particular the Certbolt executable, which allows to simulate a complete test of 65 questions with solutions.
With a study full immersion session of about 8 hours a day, certification can be achieved in 1 days… or at least, this was my strategy, which gave me the ability to pass the exam with a score of 800/1000 on a minimum of 750/1000.
The exam is 170 minutes long for 65 questions, personally, I managed to finish in 9 minutes, which gave me plenty of extra time for checking. One positive note is that, unlike other advanced certifications, this one has short use cases, which means less time to read and more time to think.
I’ve put a list of all the main topics i found in both exam readiness test and in the official one:
In some cases we also have a combination of Managed Services and SageMaker, but in these specific cases it’s usually trivial to exclude wrong answers.
To resume all the projects in details, some “must” are:
This list covers the majority of questions you’ll likely to see in an exam. Following I will propose a study guide, making it possible to manage all the topics in a tidy and organic way.
Reference links about topics here described are mostly from AWS official documentation, in particular for SageMaker and others managed services. Also, regarding topics more related to Machine Learning, I want to propose some sites that I found particularly complete, well explained and exhaustive.
< DROPOUT + > REGULARIZATION + > FEATURE INCREASE = < OVERFITTING
Sono i parametri da modificare per ridurre l’overfitting. Inoltre:
> DROPOUT = > NOISINESS
In general, because of AWS’ NDA about exam’s questions, its difficult to obtain official material (or at least officious and reliable)…This list of links points to resources personally selected by me as proven to be verified, trustable and functional to certification’s preparation:
The remote exam involves accessing the Pearson/VUE panel and registering for a date when online proctoring is available, necessary to ascertain the validity of the exam. Given the emergency situation this year, it is advisable to book the session well in advance, to be sure of finding a convenient date and time.
You must have a valid ID card or driving license or passport, of which clear and understandable photos will be required. A damaged document or an illegible photo will cause significant delays in the scheduling due to telephone inquiries.
Software available for all Windows, Mac and Linux platforms will be downloaded, which will be used to take the exam and which will verify the room in which the test will take place by means of photos from the mobile phone. Also in this case it is necessary to scrupulously follow the instructions received via email upon registration, to carry out the validation tests before the exam date.
During the examination, a proctor will follow you from your webcam and the software downloaded will run in fullscreen to prevent the use of other programs.
Should any problem occur, the proctor will notify you via internal chat.
To conclude, if you were wondering if it was possible to prepare the AWS Certified Machine Learning Specialty – or an AWS specialty in general – on your own, now you know that the answer is … technically yes 🙂
However, for those who are beginners with AWS certifications or those who need structured training, it is important to know that AWS puts official courses at your disposal by delivering them through recognized APN Training Partners. Amazon Web Services has selected beSharp as one of the few APN Training Partners authorized to provide official AWS courses. Our training classes are developed and managed by AWS multi-certified Cloud Experts to ensure that content reflects the latest best practices. The classroom training offers participants the opportunity to receive live feedback and answers to questions directly from an expert instructor. They also include practical workshops designed to consolidate your knowledge.
Good luck with your next AWS certification and see you soon!