I recently passed the AWS Certified Developer – Associate exam. Quite a few of my friends are also planning to take the exam and were curious about what I did to pass. So here is everything I did.
Read the Exam Guide
Everything begins by reading the exam guide. It will tell you what kind of knowledge you must have to pass the test. Pay careful attention to the topic percentages. You can expect the number of questions on each item to match.
Built stuff, lots of stuff
Only studying for the test is not enough. AWS must make sense to your brain. Make stuff using EC2, DynamoDB, and other services.
Read the AWS Whitepapers and FAQs
The whitepapers are a bit dry, but they are free and beneficial for the exam. I suggest reading them like a textbook and take notes. In fact, I downloaded them to my Kindle.
The Frequently Asked Questions are also a bit dry but also full of useful exam information. I like the FAQs since they, like the test, are in question and answer format.
Get Study Guides
AWS provides a series of guides on using AWS. They are usually relatively short, concise and free. I highly recommend
I am a bit of a knowledge hound, so I didn’t rely on just one source of guidance. My primary source was A Cloud Guru. It is a bit on the pricey side at $399, but it includes material for all of AWS Certification Exams. It is highly watchable and in-depth.
I also have memberships to Lynda.com (where I am also an author) and Safari Books Online. Lynda’s has content for DevOps, Solution Architects, and general AWS development but little right now for the Certified Developer – Associate.
Safari Books Online has quite a bit of content for every exam including Developer. Safari is a bit pricey at $399 a year, but it includes all of their books and videos. It includes books from O’Reilly, SAMS, Manning, and Packt (including my book, jQuery Essentials).
My final source was my Association for Computing Machinery membership. Joining the ACM only costs $99 per year, but it includes access to Skillsoft courses and books. Skillsoft has course covering DevOps, Solution Architect, and Developer. All of their courses include quizzes to take before and after the video lecture. Skillsoft isn’t perfect. The search function needs work., but if you know what you are looking for and are patient, you’ll it is usable.
Do Practice Tests
Doing practice test is mandatory. These tests give you the flavor of the exam. They are particularly useful if you, like me, haven’t taken a test in a while. Take the practice tests as though you are taking the exam. Pay careful attention to questions you miss. Don’t just learn the answer to the missed question, but understand the material.
I was able to pass the test first time, and I am now studying for Solutions Architect – Associate exam. The source I found most helpful was A Cloud Guru. More of their material matched what was on the exam from a strategic level. Skillsoft has good content, but it is more painful to filter through.
I know many of these sources cost money, but you can probably pass the exam if you only use the material AWS provides and take a $20 practice to help validate your knowledge. At $150 per attempt, $300 for professional exams, you don’t want to waste a test.