Lu Liu

How I passed my AWS Certified Developer Associate exam

I passed my first AWS exam - Developer Associate exam on 22nd February 2020 (Woo-Hoo). Six months ago, I had zero experience in AWS or any other cloud platform. I am very lucky that my daily work provides me with the opportunities to get involved in a fair amount of hands-on tasks on AWS, which is helpful for my exam preparation. It’s been a challenging six months, and I want to share it with you.

The motivation for this post is to share my studying process and list some useful learning resources that I used while preparing for the exam, and hopefully, it will give you some insights.

My studying process mainly included the following four resources:

  1. The AWS Certified Developer - Associate 2020 course A Cloud Guru

  2. AWS official documentation: AWS Whitepaper & AWS FAQs

  3. The Practice Tests by Stephane Maarek Udemy

  4. The Practice Tests by Jon Bonso Udemy

I made lots of notes while studying A Cloud Guru course. I prefer taking notes which helps me better absorb new knowledge. Some topics I watched multiple times because it’s important to understand the key topics truly rather than just memorising the contents. Specifically, what services are exactly used for and how they can be linked with other services, etc. Additionally, I highly recommend the discussion forum on A Cloud Guru. For example, a useful post reflecting on someone’s feedback of passing the exam.

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####Some useful links:

I discovered this website after I finished my exam, but I still want to share it with you, because I found there are quite a lot of free quizzes that you can use as practice tests.

####Some topics I encountered and some notes:

Heavy topics: Lambda, API Gateway, DynamoDB, Elastic BeanStalk, CI/CD Pipeline (CodeCommit, CodeBuild, CodeDeploy and CodePipeline)

Lighter topics: IAM, S3, EC2, SQS, SNS, CloudWatch, X-Ray, Web Identity Federation (Cognito), KMS, Systems Manager Parameter Store, Kinesis.

Quite a lot of questions are about Lambda, some of the in-depth questions require a really good understanding of Lambda. For example:

  1. Lambda authorizer is an API Gateway feature that uses a Lambda function to control access to your API.

  2. The usage of environment variables.

  3. RDS can’t trigger Lambda directly, but it can be configured to send a notification to SNS so that we can use SNS to trigger Lambda functions.

  4. Use the API Gateway stage variable to manage Lambda functions.

Those notes helped me immensely in the exam (I apologise if the order seems a bit random), some of them are from AWS documentation, some are summarised by myself. In the exam, around 85% of the questions are scenario-based, and I found questions with multiple are harder than those with a single choice.

Based on different levels of experience in AWS, your exam preparation process might vary, and the topics you will encounter in the real exam might differ as well. But I do hope you find this useful and please feel free to share your experiences and thoughts after completing your exam. Good luck!