Passing AWS Certified Developer - Associate exam

Exam preparation tips

Sep 17, 2023·

3 min read

I recently passed my first AWS exam after spending approximately one month preparing (1 to 2 hours a day) for it. Since it is an associate-level exam with only multiple-choice questions, the exam is relatively simple.

I chose to take this exam because my recent projects revolved around creating AWS Lambda-based APIs and my company runs entirely on AWS EKS (Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service).

The AWS Certified Developer - Associate Exam at a Glance:

  • Duration: 130 minutes to complete the exam

  • Cost: $150 USD

  • Format: 65 questions, either multiple-choice or multiple-response

  • Delivery Method: Pearson VUE testing center or online proctored exam

Exam Preparation:

To aid in my preparation, I turned to Udemy, where I found two incredible courses:

  1. Ultimate AWS Certified Developer Associate 2023 NEW DVA-C02 by Stephane Maarek - To learn the concepts and lab walk-throughs.

  2. 390 Test Quiz Questions on DVA-C02 ! Practice the AWS Certified Developer Exam & ace the AWS Certified Developer Exam! by Stephane Maarek - 6 practice exams that are very similar to the actual exam questions.

These courses provided comprehensive coverage of the exam topics and included hands-on labs and quizzes that helped solidify my understanding. Stephane Maarek's teaching style made complex concepts easy to grasp.

Navigating the Exam Domains:

While the exam covers a broad range of AWS services, some domains were particularly prominent:

  • AWS Lambda: Understanding serverless computing was essential.

  • S3: Mastery over Amazon S3, the object storage service, was a must.

  • Load Balancers (ELB, ALB): Knowledge of load balancing techniques was crucial for high availability.

  • DynamoDB: This NoSQL database service was a hot topic. Learning the difference between GSI / LSI and how to optimize the queries.

  • IAM: Understanding Identity and Access Management was central.

  • AWS Cognito: Knowing the Use of Cognito user pools vs. identity pools (federated identities) vs. Cognito Sync.

  • SNS and SQS: Learning the difference and when to use SNS vs. SQS.

  • KMS Encryption: Security was a top priority, including different types of key management services.

  • Secrets Management: Both AWS Secrets Manager (expensive) and AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store (cost-effective) were emphasized.

  • API Gateway: Building and securing APIs was a common theme. Use of API Gateway to create different stages for testing APIs.

  • CloudWatch and X-Ray: Logging, monitoring using CloudWatch and debugging in production using X-ray were key skills.

Certification Benefits and Real-World Applications:

The certification helped me understand all of the important AWS services and how to configure and deploy them. It is useful to understand how misconfigurations in AWS can negatively affect a service or enterprise, which is essential for a InfoSec profeesional.

Future Certification Plans:

The AWS Associate certification is just the beginning of my journey. In the future, I plan to tackle the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) certification to further enhance my cloud and container orchestration skills.