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I recently passed the AWS Certified Developer Associate exam, and am hoping I can help others who are interested in passing. I’ve laid out a summary of why you might want to do the course, and how to get started with my guide if so.
Benefits to having the certification
I’ve linked to a more comprehensive answer here from Whizlabs but in short it can have some great benefits for your career.
- If you’re a freelancer, you might attract more gigs with a professional qualification.
- It displays commitment to your current employer, or new employers if you’re on a job hunt.
- Also for a job hunt, it might be the point of difference for your next role.
- According the article “recent estimates from the Global Knowledge survey, AWS certification can improve the salary of a certified professional by almost 25.9%” – sounds a worthwhile investment.
There’s no quick way to pass, but there is a smart way
I tried doing things the quick way first. I looked at some exam guides from Whizlabs and then working out the sort of questions that were gaps in my knowledge. Better to do that first right?
No, not really.
After doing a couple of these papers upfront I realised that I needed to understand underlying principles first. Otherwise a question that even slightly different to what I’d practiced would trip me up. There simply aren’t that many marks free to drop.
Focus on learning the fundamentals
Then focus on learning them some more.
If you do this, and direct your efforts at the the relevant subjects, then you’ll be able to answer the essence of the question, no matter what form it takes.
It’s a few months of study – but I’ll help you make that more efficient
In my case, I had daily exposure to AWS and cloud concepts in my day job, but I still put aside an average of 1 hour a day for 5 days a week for 6 months.
Your own timeframes depend completely on how much time you can put aside weekly, what exposure you’ve already had to AWS and how deep you want to go into learning the principles of AWS in addition to content that’s likely to come up in the exam.
Sound a lot? Well it is, but bear in mind the following:
- That time included reading the concepts, ‘searching for the meaning’ and distilling that into flashcards – I’ve done that work for anyone interested.
- I learned/found the principles – not just learned by rote.
- The exam is scenario based – without knowing the principles, you might come unstuck.
- The time also included a month of refining flashcards following taking practice exams.
You may be ready quicker than that. But I wasn’t, so I took the extra time, and personally I was glad I did. I scored 856 out of 1000, where the pass mark was 720, so I felt justified at least.
How will I know what to study – there are so many AWS technologies!
- The first thing to do understand how the exam is structured and why that matters. You can find the first step here.
- After that, you need to understand what there is to learn in the overall ecosystem of AWS. It’s vast and ever-expanding, so you need to narrow down what relates to your exam. The exam guide helps here.
- To make that practical, you need to convert that into a training plan.
What tools and tips are there?
As you’ve probably guessed from the title of this site, I have a few trusted techniques
- Learn on a schedule
- Code or script to help you reinforce certain lower level concepts
- Retain high level concepts with flashcards, and low level ones with code repos of your own.
For this specific training, there are some upfront tips I can give. If you’re interested, then we can get started.