I recently got my AWS Developer Associate certification. In this article, I will explain what I did to prepare for my exam.
What is Amazon Web Services? (AWS)
Amazon Web Services is a cloud computing platform that you can use to develop and deploy your (web) applications. AWS is the biggest cloud platform of them all, and many of the services you might use are built on using AWS.
Why should you get AWS Certifications?
You can study for AWS exams to get certified. AWS certifications show that you know how to use AWS professionally. The certifications are official and they are recognized in the industry.
Getting certified is a great thing to do if you want to easily show people you know enough about AWS to use it effectively and professionally. If you want to get a job focused on AWS Cloud, then becoming certified can set you apart from other candidates.
What kinds of AWS Certifications are there?
There are four different levels of AWS certifications:
- Foundational (no prior experience needed)
- Associate (prior cloud and on-premise experience is recommended)
- Professional (2 years of AWS Cloud experience or more)
- Specialty (requirements depend on the specialty)
You can find all the available certifications on the AWS website: https://aws.amazon.com/certification/
Getting the foundational AWS Cloud Practitioner certification
Before trying to get a AWS Developer Associate certification, you should get the AWS Cloud Practitioner one first.
I did this, and I found that this helped me with my other AWS Developer Associate certification in a few ways:
- I knew more about AWS, which was helpful
- I was familiar with the exam process by doing Cloud Practitioner first
To prepare I followed an official AWS Partner Cloud Practitioner Essentials training. It was useful, but you can achieve similar results with this Free AWS Cloud Practitioner course on YouTube which I also used.
In total, I probably spent about 30 hours studying for the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification.
The AWS Developer Associate certification
My AWS experience before the exam
Before starting to learn for the AWS Developer Associate exam I already had some experience using AWS.
I had some minimal experience using AWS in real-world projects:
I uploaded a docker image to Elastic Container Registry (ECR) once. Then I loaded it up on an Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) container to run the application manually.
I worked on study projects using serverless AWS resources like Lambda and API Gateway. I also used infrastructure-as-code to deploy these AWS resources.
These experiences helped me better understand how AWS works.
How to study for the AWS Developer Associate certification
I did some small study coding projects to get more familiar with AWS. These aren’t open source but they were pretty minimal so you’re not missing out on much.
For practical information about developing on AWS, I really like Be a better Dev on YouTube.
I watched parts 1 and 2 of this free AWS Developer Associate course on YouTube This took over 30 hours, because I was taking notes and I looked things up in the official AWS documentation and other resources while I watched it.
I did 5 practice exams on Udemy which each took about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. I also reviewed my results and took notes which I studied again to prepare for the next practice exam. reviewed. For the questions I didn’t get right, I looked at official AWS documentation and other resources to learn more.
I probably spent about 100 hours studying for the AWS Developer Associate certification. That includes the study projects I did.
Looking back, it took me about 6 months to get both the AWS Cloud Practitioner and AWS Developer Associate certifications.
Sign up for a free AWS account
You can sign up for a free-tier AWS account to build projects.
AWS offers a lot of services for free in the first year of you having an account. It is important to set up budget alarms for AWS. The free tier has limits, and not every AWS service is completely free with the free tier.
What can you expect in the AWS Developer Associate exam?
The exam is multiple-choice. There are no open questions. The questions were like the practice exams I did online. None of the practice exam questions were in the real exam, but the structure was very similar. The question is about a scenario with a technical or business problem and you can choose the answer which would be best for this scenario.
Getting AWS certified can be worth it. You need to study a lot, but you do learn a lot about AWS in the process. Combining your studies with real projects is the best way to learn. Building projects helps you gain real-world experience using AWS.