How to Pass Your AWS Developer Associate Exam.

I recently passed my AWS Developer Associate cert – which means that I am now 4x AWS certified and fully certified as an Associate across the board! It took a lot of studying, but in retrospect I earned my Associate certs very rapidly – I passed the Solutions Architect exam in August 2020, then SysOps Admin in December and Developer a few days ago; a span of 8 months. I took a bit of break between SA and SysOps, otherwise I could have likely cert’d on all within a span of 3 to 4 months.

In my humble opinion, the Developer exam was the most difficult of the three Associate certifications. The more infrastructure-focused questions on the SA and SysOps exams tapped into my traditional IT background – whereas I have very little dev experience, so the Developer exam required building some new competencies entirely. In addition, I felt like the SA and SysOps exams covered a lot of the same ground, just from different angles. The Developer exam was it’s own different plane of knowledge.

Nevertheless, I passed the Developer exam on the first try. Want to do the same? Allow me to share my top three tips to maximize your chances of passing the AWS Developer Associate exam:

1. Know how to differentiate the CI/CD services.

AWS hosts it’s own suite of very useful Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) tools – namely CodeCommit, CodeBuild, CodeDeploy, CodePipeine, and CodeStar. There were a decent number of situational questions asking to select the proper service for a given CI/CD function, and it was necessary to know how to pick between the aforementioned services.

I’ll go over these differences in an article later this week, but in the meantime: you need to know those differences and how to apply them to dev situations.

2. Know the basic CLI commands pertaining to dev services.

You do NOT need to know any actual code for the Developer exam, and you don’t need to memorize a ton of AWS CLI commands either. You do, however, need to know and understand the CLI basics.

I recall a number of questions asking to select the correct CLI command for a given function from a list of 4 choices – with two choices being “for dummies”, one choice being correct, and one choice being close to correct. If you don’t know the basics of CLI syntax and the most common commands, then they will manage to trip you up. No cheap shots – “It’s ‘get’, not ‘geht’!” – but they’ll place commands out of order, or use subtly similar but incorrect commands.

3. Understand how services fail, and how to remedy or redesign.

There were also a handful of questions which presented scenarios of a failing application or errored services, in which you needed to be able to ferret out the correct way to either fix or redesign an AWS application service architecture to be more robust. These questions were not ridiculously complex, but you need to be able to logically deduce the correct answer thinking through what you know about the various AWS dev services.

Similar to #1, the best way to achieve this is to know your AWS service terms, what each service does, and how to differentiate them. If you can do that, you’re 80% of the way there.


Behold! To help provide direction to the unwashed masses of those yet to pass the Developer exam – a group to which I belonged until only recently – I will provide a rundown of all the resources I used to prepare:

Ultimate AWS Certified Developer Associate 2021, produced by Stephane Maarek

AWS Certified Developer Associate : Real Tests (2020), produced by Get Certified

AWS Certified Developer Associate Practice Exams, produced by Jon Bonso

…And provided through my employer, I took the AWS Certified Developer – Associate 2020 as produced by A Cloud Guru.

If you have any questions on this, do not hesitate to get in touch with me on LinkedIn!

Categories: Tips

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