My Thoughts On the SysOps Administrator Associate BETA Exam — (SOA-C02)

Adrian Cantrill
8 min readFeb 16, 2021

Today I sat the brand new AWS SysOps Administrator Associate exam (SOA-C02). I think I had the first time slot available in the world — 10am on Tuesday morning (Australia Time). I’m creating a brand new course which is specifically designed to pass this exam at so I wanted to do a little recon and make sure that the topics I’m covering are aligned with the exam.

You can find my detailed thoughts below, but at a high level

  • It’s a great exam
  • It has some good labs, which test real skills, it’s going to be harder to fake pass from now on
  • The presentation of labs needs real work, I had functional problems which I’ve detailed below

(Full disclosure, I create AWS courses at which are focussed on teaching real in-depth theory and practical skills, rather than solely concentrating on exams)

My course based on what I saw is spot on, there are a few topics I might add for completion, but otherwise I think students are going to be running a 100% pass rate with it as is. I think anyone can take and pass this exam with what’s in my course right now.

Also posted to

Testing Vendor Experience

I sat the exam with Pearson Vue, and it was set to start at 10am with a check-in time of 9.30am. I’d already ran the system checks a few days before, and was sitting the exam on a Macbook Pro (Intel), in a small separate room I had cleared especially.

I first had to checkin and perform the system check again. Initially it failed because it couldn’t ‘hear’ any sound from my internal microphone. It felt a bit silly saying test test 1 2 3 4while the check was running ....but nobody will ever know how stupid I sounded.

Next I had to use my mobile phone to scan my ID. Logically, I'd switched my phone off and put it out of arms reach, so after a minute or so I was good to go, IDs and things scanned.

Then, i had to take four pictures :-

  • Direct at my desk — from the front



Adrian Cantrill

Technical Trainer, Cloud Architect, Tech, Productivity & Efficiency Obsessed wannabe minimalist.