How to become an AWS Certified Developer

AWS Certified Developer AssociateBecoming an AWS Certified Developer Associate will allow you to showcase your conceptual knowledge of AWS services with others, and give you an edge in today’s modern era of cloud computing. The weighted, multiple-choice exam which lasts 130 minutes, contains 65 questions that test your understanding of the AWS Platform, from a Developers perspective. (See the “Exam Resourceshere for more info). You should be familiar with:

  • How to encrypt / decrypt secure data
  • Using IAM policies, identities vs ACLs
  • Why and how to utilize KMS
  • Web Identity and SAML Federation
  • User authentication & authorization
  • What a VPC is and how it can be used
  • Shared Responsibility Model
  • Important Service limits
  • Horizontal (auto) and vertical (compute) scaling
  • Deploying services through CI/CD systems
  • Elastic Beanstalk deployment strategies
  • How to achieve redundancy
  • Best practices in design and refactoring
  • Read/Write Dynamo Capacity Unit calculations
  • Service APIs
  • The following services and how they can be used together:
    • API Gateway
    • Elastic Beanstalk
    • CloudFormation
    • CloudWatch
    • Cognito
    • EC2
    • ELB
    • Elasticache
    • IAM
    • KMS
    • Lambda
    • Kinesis
    • DynamoDB
    • Code Commit / Build / Deploy / Pipeline
    • Step Functions
    • S3
    • SNS
    • SQS
    • SWF
    • STS
    • X-Ray

The exam is not easy and rote memorization without experience and understanding of AWS services will guarantee failure — you need a 740 / 1000 to pass. If there is a particular AWS service you have not used, it is highly recommended to dive in and experiment with using it, while also taking into account how it can be used with other services. For example:

A) As a  developer you could use CloudFormation to provision a stack with a DynamoDB NoSQL DB, and an EC2 M5 instance as the server hosting your web service instrumented with X-Ray and using Cognito to manage user identities. All with the proper IAM policies in place.


B) As a developer you could deploy a Lamda package stored on S3 with API Gateway as the primary endpoints/event triggers and configure CloudWatch to send a message to SNS topics that will notify subscribers if certain a certain metric threshold has been reached. All with the proper IAM policies in place.

When preparing for the exam, it is recommended to take the practice exam from the AWS training site to familiarize yourself with the question format. This method is in contrast to taking practice exams from other 3rd party training sites — whereby the questions are limited to the course’s range and are often of insufficient difficulty. If you encouter any questions that don’t know or are too broad (there are often multiple answers but 1 “best” answer) take a step back and review that area to gain a better understanding.

After you pass the exam, you can share your recognition with the world by generating a badge, email signature, or transcript in the AWS Certification portal (Certmetrics). Additionally you can buy branded swag, gain access to AWS Certification Lounges at events, recieve discounts on future exams, and more

Good luck on your journey to becoming AWS Certified Developer Associate!

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