AWS Certified Developer Associate – 2019 | Exam Experience

The AWS Certified Developer exam is AWS associate level certification for Developers and I recommend having any foundation/associate level certification in AWS before preparing for this exam. Although, I do not have any experience in core AWS but have started using AWS services which has scope of DevOps like Code Commit, Code Deploy, Code Pipeline, Elastic Beanstalk, Cloud Watch etc. I recently took this exam and have scored 885/1000.


This exam validates skills for:

  • Understanding of core AWS services, uses, and basic AWS architecture best practices.
  • Developing, deploying, and debugging cloud-based applications using AWS.


Exam Preparation Courses:

Exam resources are very important for preparation and I have attended online course AWS Certified Developer Associate 2019 by Faye Ellis and Ultimate AWS Certified Developer Associate course by Stephane Maarek. Faye Ellis from a cloud guru has explained some additional scenarios which directly came into exam. Stephane has also explained aws services in-depth with good hands on lab training.


So, here I am sharing below Service wise breakdown of important topics on which you can focus after you have completed the deep dive courses:


  • AWS Lambda : Memory allocation to Lambda function, Lambda Layers and Runtimes used for what purpose, Environment variables encryption, Version and aliases, Synchronous and asynchronous invocation, Establishing Lambda connection in VPC, Lambda@Edge, configuring cloud front with lambda for viewer and origin requests and responses, Lambda concurrent executions, DLQ’s, Deploying package of lambda function.


  • Elastic Beanstalk : Worker environment, Integration with Amazon RDS, Security : Service Roles and instance profile, Storing server log files in Amazon S3, configure Docker containers in Elastic Beanstalk, DNS switch with Blue/Green Deployment, Load balancer change possible or not in existing environment.


  • AWS SAM : JSON/YAML configuration template, SAM CLI to deploy applications, SAM syntax for API, application, layer version, simple tale and their uses, SAM CLI commands, controlling access to API’s using Lambda authorizer and Cognito, Transform section for cloud formation template.


  • AWS ECS : Task Definition, IAM task role, Launch Types, Task scheduler, Use of container agent, Rolling update and Blue Green Deployment with code deploy, how Fargate supports container Images in ECR or Docker hub, Task Definition for EC2 Launch type.


  • Amazon S3 : Bucket control access, configuring bucket for website hosting, Glacier retrieval options, Access control list , setup CORS, set up deny policy using x-amz server side encryption, Versioning, give more focus on Server Side Encryption : SSE-S3, SSE-KMS, SSE-C, AWS manages customer master key and client side master key.


  • DynamoDB : Choosing Partition key and Sort key, Understand secondary indexes deep dive ( Local secondary index and global secondary index), DynamoDb streams integration with lambda, calculation of eventually and strongly consistent Reads and writes, handling request throttled, how to improve performance for table, DynamoDb items : atomic counter, projection expression, condition expression, TTL, scan vs queries, global tables, DAX, compare both GSI and LSI.


  • Amazon Elasticache : in-memory cache, compare Redis & memcached deep dive, storing session state, memcached for multithreading, Caching strategies : Lazy Loading and write through, TTL.


  • API Gateway: Understand the concept of API deployment, API endpoints, API key and API stage, Proxy integration is very important: HTTP proxy and non-proxy, Lambda proxy and non-proxy for Lambda function, Usage plans, how to authorize API.


  • AWS KMS : Customer master key and how much data it can encrypt/decrypt, Data Keys, Understand the Envelop encryption process in detail, Grant tokens, automatic key rotation, how KMS supports AWS Cloud HSM, KMS API calls.


  • Cloud Formation: Cloud formation template and remember its mandatory/optional sections, change sets in cloud formation, using Stack Sets, AMI related scenarios in cloud formation.


  • Code Deploy : Types of deployment, Understand code deploy for : Amazon ECS deployment, AWS lambda deployment, In EC2/On-premises deployment. Use of revision in code deploy, remember deployment lifecycle events, Rollback techniques, Code deploy agent, Deployment configurations like Canary and Linear.


  • Code Pipeline : Understand where artifacts are stored, approval action in code pipeline, implement manual approval action configuration in code pipeline.


  • Code Build : Caching strategies in Code Build, encrypting artifacts, configure cloud watch with code build.


  • AWS X-Ray : Understand the concept of Segments and Sub-Segments, API calls to get traces and trace ID, filter expressions, use of annotations, X-Ray daemon, X-Ray integration with Lambda, API gateway, Elastic Beanstalk.


  • AWS SQS: Use of long pooling vs short pooling, understand the concept of Visibility timeout and delay queue, minimum and maximum time interval.


  • Cloud Watch : Cloud watch monitoring, Default time interval and detailed monitoring time interval, Evaluation period, by default timeout values, graphical representation, cloud watch agent.


  • Miscellaneous : AWS Kinesis Resharding process deep dive, AWS Cognito user and indentity pool in detail, AWS SWF vs Step functions, SSM Parameter vs AWS Secret Manager, AWS IAM, AWS WAF, Understand high level of other services like AWS Config, AWS Inspector, AWS QuickSight, AWS Ops Work, Elastic container registry.


Exam Tips: As you know this is a MCQ exam, so keep your strategy to eliminate the wrong answers first and then choose the right one. Elimination will help you to easily identify the correct one.

If you have gone through all the topics that I have mentioned in each service then you can easily pass the exam with a good score.




DevOps Engineer

AWS-CSA | AWS-CDA | Cloud Practitioner