Preparing for AWS Certified Developer

I have briefly mentioned about how I prepared for the other AWS certifications – Solution Architect and SysOps Administrator in other posts. I cleared my AWS Developer certification last week. It was indeed developer focused, which translates to heavy coverage of DynamoDB, CloudFormation, ElasticBeanstalk, SQS, SNS, Opsworks. DynamoDB stood out without any doubt.


Few interesting points – there were questions on command line, knowledge on hard limits and soft limits in AWS services, emphasis on usage of SDK (SDK user would be able to answer that question without a doubt). I am a developer not inclined to any particular platform but a more of a generic guy with bit of js, .net and python.

I have been working on AWS (and other random stuff – Azure, Office 365, Talend, Robotic Process Automation, devops) for around 6 years and I never really took a learning path to for AWS certification – associate level. I took my AWS Solution Architect by mid 2014, SysOps by mid 2015, solution architect recertification by mid of 2016 and developer certificate couple last week (end of 2016) (working on my professional level).

I would recommend the following learning path for someone who would want to face the AWS Certified Developer certification.

  1. VPC, Subnets, Security Groups, Elastic IP, Public IP, Private IP – have this by heart by all means. (although this is pretty much applicable for all the AWS certifications)
  2. EC2, AMI – try launching & relaunching in different AZ, different region, change size, change application version, snapshots – attach & detach
  3. S3 is really important – method of securing S3 items (ACL, IAM) – static web site, logging, storage classes and GLACIER [ I want to thank Craig Carl for his re:Invent session – please spend time in this video you would also thank Craig Carl when you face the certification)
  4. I would recommend ditching AWS management console for couple of weeks and using with AWS CLI and that should level up your skills in IAM Access Key – Secret Key, and understand the AWS API nature. Bonus points is when you try aws-shell.
  5. I remember watching one of the youtube videos by Matt Wood himself where he starts all the way from 101 in DynamoDB. I would recommend trying to build a web application using one of the SDKs with DynamoDB as backend + some CRUD application should help you get your hands dirty in DynamoDB. Please spend time, effort, money, social life on indexes in dynamodb.
  6. Try releasing the above application to the wide through OpsWorks and Beanstalk that would be help check lot of items in the exam blue print
  7. Try using RDS, SNS, SQS wherever and however possible
  8. If you are able to meaningfully represent the above stated items over a CloudFormation you are good to go here. I am bragging this.
  9. FAQs are super important for the services – I would do this multiple times before facing the certification exam
  10.  All the patterns and anti-patterns (When do you CloudFormation vs Elastic BeanStalk, AMI vs user data, RDS vs DynamoDB) would help filter the wrong answers. I felt this was a theme the whole time.

All the best


Preparing for Recertification – AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate

I took and successfully cleared the Recertification exam for AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate Level today. I am still regretting not attemting advancing to the professional level; anyway … here is the blog post about the recertification exam. I previously blogged about the Preparing for the AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate level, 2 years ago.

I felt a couple of questions having been repeated from the original Solution Architect exam which I wrote 2 years back; I completely understand and agree the importance & reason why those were repeated again (I abide by the NDA signed hence not disclosing which questions – they are).

  • It was a quick 80 mins and 60 questions test
  • VPC, IAM, EC2, S3 – the core services are still important and had lot of depth and count
  • Following the same Learning Strategy for the original exam would still be relevant
  • Amazon did a good job of drawing a line to determine what are the points and factors (costing, sizing, strategy, design, optimal solution) which would affect or effect an Architect
  • If you are continuing your day to day AWS operations after you have Cleared your original AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate Level, you be able to win hands down

I highly recommend giving it thought about NOT taking the recertification exam – Associate Level, and consider Professional Level, on clearing; you would be able to renew both the levels for next 2 years. I received a 50% voucher code almost a year back, I am sure you would have received one too for taking Professional Level (50% discount of $300).
PS : You get a new AWS-ASA XXX number instead of the same number renewed for next 2 years. It is good to know that lot of people are taking the certification exam – 2 years ago my certification number was in 2000s and now it is 20,000s; in short it is almost like a brand new exam but a discounted rate of $75 instead of $150.

Preparing for AWS Certified Solutions Architect Certification

The certification interests in AWS is picking up slowly and there are several people who are opting to take up AWS Certification. I recently took up AWS Solutions Architect – Associate Level  Certification and cleared it.

I am writing this blog post in the interest to spread info about the AWS Certification and general tips on how to get prepared for the Certification – Solution Architect – Associate Level. Even before we start the test, we will be taking an NDA – Non Disclosure Agreement that we wouldn’t share the questions and stuff; so abiding by that, I write this post to provide tips and pointer of how to prepare. This post is not about the question samples, dumps etc.

Solutions Architect-Associate
  1. First and foremost point, remember it is easy to understand the concepts of AWS than to search online for the dumps of the questions. If you are a hands-on guy on the AWS, that is the sufficient requirement to clear the test.
  2. Remember the Certification Title – Solution Architect so think in the aspects of what is the role of a Solution Architect and prepare accordingly.
  3. AWS – Documentation, AWS – SlideShare Channel, AWS -YouTube Channel are good places to learn about the certification. Again there is nothing like the hands on experience feel and learning you will get out of that.
  4. FAQs for the all services would be a very good place to refresh, recap, cover lot of ground and explore the topics you may need to concentrate.
  5. There are several courses and training materials offered by 3rd Party trainers like Udemy, CloudAcademy  are good; but in my opinion hands-on experience is sufficient to clear the certification exam.
  6. CloudAcademy provides very good quizzes and multiple choice Q&A. But that would cover the entire length and breadth of the AWS Services and Products which would cover topics like costing, size information, restrictions, negative scenarios etc. of which not all may contribute to the Solution Architecture Exam. Again CloudAcademy is a good place to test out skills but don’t lose heart if you don’t know many of the questions in that. If you are aligned toward the blueprint and curriculum provided by AWS then that is sufficient.
  7. Concentrate on the core services first then go to the add-ons and then deeper in to that.
  8. Think through the Scenarios and use cases; understand when to use what and where and how. Also the “why shouldn’t scenario” is also important.
  9. Think in the lines of the Certification titles viz. Solution Architect, Developer, DevOps; know their responsibilities and concentrate on the depth and breadth of the AWS Services.
  10. Look into the Sample Questions, Blue Prints, Curriculum fully end to end again after you get the feel that you have prepared. Those would be a good refresher.
These are my views and opinions after I took the test. Again these purely my personal opinions.
All the very best …