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How to pass AWS Certified Developer - Associate (and others) exam

meatboy profile image Meat Boy Updated on ・3 min read

About two weeks ago, after 4 months of preparation, I passed my AWS Certified Developer Associate (DVA-C01) with 921/1000 score. This short bullet article lists my tips for the exam. What do, and what you should avoid while preparing.

tl;dr

  • Paid Stephane Maarek Udemy Course if you never worked with AWS
  • Paid A Cloud Guru Course for summarizing and complementing missing knowledge
  • Paid Qwiklabs for hands-on labs
  • Free FAQ is a set of questions similar to those on the exam (by the content, not the form)
  • Free Whitepapers and User Guides if you want to know more than expected
  • Free AWS re:Invent videos with best practices and tips
  • Free AWS Learning Library is full of official short courses and tutorials
  • Exam is 130 minutes long and 65 questions
  • Questions are scenario-based
  • It's really exhausting
  • You will see result information immediately after test, details up to 5 business days
  • You can share results with a link, as a badge or simply print it

Preparation

Stephane Maarek Courses

I have started my way to cert with "Ultimate AWS Certified Developer Associate 2020 - NEW!". Before that, I had been working only with S3 from AWS. Stephane Course is full of great hands-on labs. His commitment to making the course as best as possible is remarkable, and I don't have anything from recommending them ;) Simply, I love way Stephane teaches.

A Cloud Guru

When I was looking for resources to learn AWS I found this is the most widely known course series for any of AWS Certificate. And it's really that good. Of course, making hands dirty with AWS Services is still better for long-term, but ACG is really good at summarizing and complementing missing knowledge. Like in the Stephane course, ACG summarize and put short tests at the end of each section.

Qwiklabs

Instead of just theoretical knowledge, Qwikilabs is focused on practice. Pick one of the real-world like scenario and follow the instruction. Most of the labs are long and require focusing on the topic. Personally, I have liked it, even if is one of the more expensive ways of learning AWS.

FAQs, Whitepapers and User Guides

Frequently Asked Questions is a section on the AWS official website which should be considered as a database with potential exam questions. User Guides are very well-written documents, describing AWS technologies and services. Everything from setup, tutorials, best practices and corner cases are described. To be honest, because they are so long (EC2 User Guide is over 1000 pages length https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AWSEC2/latest/UserGuide/ec2-ug.pdf) I haven't read them all. Instead, I look over sections specified in certificate requirements.

AWS re:Invent Videos

Every year AWS has its own conference for tech passionate. Event is full of breakout session lead by experienced AWS mentors. Videos from their public speaking are uploaded to YouTube. Some of the noticeable videos:
EC2 Best Practices https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0PKclqP3U0
ELB Best Practices https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIgAT7vjol8
S3 Security & Management https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvMCVFnLKnQ
DynamoDB Deep Dive https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaEPXoXVf2k
DynamoDB Performance Tricks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwnNbLXN4vA

AWS Learning Library

Official library with short courses, great for organising knowledge. Especially some like "Exam Readiness: AWS Certified Developer – Associate (Digital)", shows what you should know before taking an exam and how the exam will look like.

Exam

Questions at the exam are scenario-based, which means they usually set you in some situation and your task is to solve the problem. Sometimes it could be a problem with connecting to EC2 Instance, set up storage for an application with a limited budget, otherwise preparing secure architecture with many services for a large commercial bank. Answers are similar to each other, and they differ with the details.

You have 130 minutes and 65 questions to solve the test. It's enough, however, at ~~40th question, my mind slows down and I was very exhausted because every time, moving to the next question was a totally different situation with a problem to solve.

When you finish the test, you will see immediately if you pass or not. The detailed score, certificate and access to AWS Certified benefits are going to be send up to 5 business days.

After Exam

You can put a certificate badge in your LinkedIn profile with unique link and identifiers, share across your coworkers and with your boss or print them.

Good luck with the exam! :)

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Meat Boy

@meatboy

Software Engineer, AWS Certified Developer and Game Dev Enthusiast

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