2022 is shaping up to be an extremely busy year for our team and for AWS certifications! So far this year, we’ve already refreshed our Certified Cloud Practitioner Learning Path, released a learning path for the brand new Certified SAP on AWS – Specialty (PAS-C01) exam in April, and are actively working on updating our learning paths for both the updated Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty (ANS-C01) exam coming out in July and the updated Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA-C03) exam coming out in August. And to top all that off, AWS has just announced an update to their Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C02) exam to be released this November!

AWS Certification BadgesAWS Certification Badges

The current version of the Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C01) exam has been around since October 2019, so it’s no surprise that this exam was due for a refresh. There have been many significant changes and updates to key AWS services and features over the past three years and it’s important for a flagship exam like the Certified Solutions Architect – Professional to reflect these changes to ensure the exam remains relevant and valuable to organizations and individuals alike.

In this blog post, I’m going to answer some questions you might have about this updated exam, including:

  • Can I still take the current SAP-C01 exam if I’m currently studying for it?
  • I recently passed the current SAP-C01 exam. Will it still be valid for three years or will I need to take the new exam?
  • When will the new SAP-C02 exam be available?
  • What are the changes between the SAP-C01 and SAP-C02 exams?
  • Where can I learn the new materials for the new SAP-C02 exam?
  • Where can I find more information on the new SAP-C02 exam?

Can I still take the current SAP-C01 exam if I’m currently studying for it?

Cloud Academy Learning Path on SAP-C01Cloud Academy Learning Path on SAP-C01

The short answer is yes, absolutely! In fact, I strongly recommend that if you have already started to study for the current SAP-C01 exam, you continue to do so. You still have plenty of time to finish your preparation, as the last date to take the current SAP-C01 exam is November 14, 2022. Also, if you haven’t started studying yet but still want to take this exam, with enough effort and dedication (and depending on your existing experience as an AWS Solutions Architect) you will likely still have time to prepare and pass the current exam before November 14th.

If you’re looking for study guides and material for the current SAP-C01 exam, check out our current SAP-C01 learning path, which covers all of the assessment points in the current SAP-C01 exam guide.

I recently passed the current SAP-C01 exam. Will it still be valid for three years or will I need to take the new exam?

This is always a concern when AWS announces an updated certification, and for good reason! It’s likely you just spent months studying for this exam, only to find out that AWS will be updating it in the not-too-distant future. Well, I have some good news for you: you do NOT need to pass the updated certification exam in order to keep your credentials!

Even if you passed the current SAP-C01 exam on the last possible date (November 14, 2022), your certification will still remain active and valid for three years from that date-or until November 14, 2025! There is no need to pass the newly updated exam until it is time to renew your certification. The certificate and digital badge you get for achieving the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional certification does not include the version of the exam you passed.

When will the new SAP-C02 exam be available?

The new exam will be available to take beginning November 15, 2022. If you want to be one of the first to take this new exam, you can register for this exam beginning on October 18, 2022. There is no beta exam as part of this update.

What are the changes between the SAP-C01 and SAP-C02 exams?

After reviewing the differences between the exam guides for both exams, there is a fair amount of overlap between the SAP-C01 and SAP-C02 exams. The new SAP-C02 exam guide references some of the latest services and newer features within existing services that were not covered on the SAP-C01 exam, such as AWS Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine Learning services. From a domain perspective, the five domains from the SAP-C01 exam content outline have been reduced to four domains covered by the SAP-C02 exam. The domain breakdown from both exams are shown in the tables below.

SAP-C01 Domains

Domain % of Exam
Domain 1: Design for Organizational Complexity 12.5%
Domain 2: Design for New Solutions 31%
Domain 3: Migration Planning 15%
Domain 4: Cost Control 12.5%
Domain 5: Continuous Improvement 29%
Total 100%

SAP-C02 Domains

Domain % of Exam
Domain 1: Design Solutions for Organizational Complexity 26%
Domain 2: Design for New Solutions 29%
Domain 3: Continuous Improvement for Existing Solutions 25%
Domain 4: Accelerate Workload Migration and Modernization 20%
Total 100%

Domains 1 and 2 remain essentially unchanged between the two exams, although the percentage of the exam content associated with “Design Solutions for Organizational Complexity” increases from 12.5% to 26%, while designing for new solutions decreases slightly, from 31% to 29%.

Domain 3 of the SAP-C02 exam–“Continuous Improvement for Existing Solutions” –matches Domain 5 from the SAP-C01 exam, but with its associated percentage of the exam content dropping from 29% to 25%.

Finally, Domain 4 of the SAP-C02 exam–“Accelerate Workload Migration and Modernization”–matches most closely to Domain 3 from the SAP-C01 exam with its associated percentage increasing from 15% to 20%. You’ll notice the “Cost Control” domain from the SAP-C01 exam appears to be absent from the SAP-C02 exam, but a deeper analysis of the SAP-C02 exam guide shows that Domains 1 through 3 all include Task Statements that involve determining a cost optimization strategy and one of the Task Statements in Domain 4 calls out the need for skills in “evaluating total cost of ownership (TCO).”

Let’s briefly discuss what’s covered within each of these four domains in a little more detail.

SAP-C02 Domain 1: Design Solutions for Organizational Complexity (26%)

This domain focuses on complex solutions that may span across multiple availability zones, regions, VPCs, and AWS accounts, as well as hybrid connectivity scenarios between on-premises data centers and the AWS Cloud. You’ll need to know which AWS services to use in order to architect the most cost-effective solutions for disaster recovery based on stated recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) requirements.

You’ll also need a thorough understanding of security across all services in AWS, including everything from IAM and single sign-on, to encryption and certificate management, to route tables, security groups, and network ACLs within your VPCs.

SAP-C02 Domain 2: Design for New Solutions (29%)

This domain will require you to design solutions from scratch that run in the AWS Cloud in the most performant and cost-effective manner. You should understand how to use Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools such as AWS CloudFormation, as well as AWS tools and services that support continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) and configuration management.

Much like Domain 1, this domain will also require you to define solutions that meet performance objectives and reliability requirements while also maintaining security and business continuity in the event of a disaster.

SAP-C02 Domain 3: Continuous Improvement for Existing Solutions (25%)

This domain will test your ability to examine an existing solution and determine the best approaches for continuous improvement across the areas of performance, reliability, security, and operational excellence. You’ll need to know how to leverage logging, monitoring, and auditing tools such as Amazon CloudWatch, AWS Config, and Systems Manager to diagnose, troubleshoot, and ultimately resolve issues that may arise in operational environments.

You’ll also be asked to determine strategies for improving the performance and reliability of existing solution architectures, again with an eye towards cost optimization. Knowing how to configure cost management alerts and reports is a key component of identifying resources that may be underutilized, overutilized, or unused altogether, and all of these scenarios present opportunities for cost savings.

SAP-C02 Domain 4: Accelerate Workload Migration and Modernization (20%)

This final domain requires you to examine existing workloads and identify opportunities for potential migration. When a migration is required, you’ll need to define the best approach for architecting and migrating these workloads to the AWS Cloud. This includes knowing when architectural approaches may be improved by decoupling legacy application components and introducing new technologies into your solutions architectures such as serverless compute, containers, AWS managed database offerings, or other AWS services including SNS, SQS, or Step Functions.

Where can I learn the new materials for the new SAP-C02 exam?

As soon as the updated Certified Solutions Architect – Professional exam was announced, we here at Cloud Academy began to assess the content in our current AWS Solutions Architect – Professional Certification Preparation learning path to ensure we will fully cover all aspects of the updated SAP-C02 exam guide.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will be refreshing this learning path to include new and updated courses, hands-on labs, and assessments covering topics that are emphasized in the new SAP-C02 exam.

Where can I find more information on the new SAP-C02 exam?

To find out the latest information about this exam, as well as to learn more about updates to other AWS certification exams, you can visit the Coming Soon to AWS Certification page. From there, you can review the exam guide and sample questions for the new SAP-C02 exam. You can also learn more about the upcoming August 2022 update to the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA-C03) exam, which our very own Stuart Scott recently blogged about here.

For training preparation on all AWS certifications, I encourage you to take a look at our entire library of AWS certification content.

Best of luck with your studying! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me and I’ll be happy to help!

Danny

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