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
To aid in my preparation, I turned to Udemy, where I found two incredible courses:
Ultimate AWS Certified Developer Associate 2023 NEW DVA-C02 by Stephane Maarek - To learn the concepts and lab walk-throughs.
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.