Simple Secrets To Get AWS Developer Certified — Associate Level During COVID Pandemic Lockdown Time

First of all my sincere Thanks to all my readers for the overwhelming response for my first Article and I am grateful to some of your candid feedback, this made me honestly to start writing the next story during this weekend immediately post the publishing my first story on a rainy Saturday early morning 3.00 am sitting alone at my apartment in Reston.

Okay lets quickly jump into the business , basically this story is about my successful attempt of AWS Developer Certification on the first go and thought to share here as it might help folks.

Exam Name

AWS Certified Developer Associate

Exam Code


Exam Duration

130 minutes

Exam Cost

$150 USD

Exam Questions

Multiple Choice and Multiple Response Questions

Exam Scoring

Scaled score from 100 to 1000

Passing Score

70% — 75%

AWS Technology Fact

Average Salary of AWS Certified Developer & Strategy

The average salary for those holding the AWS Certified Developer — Associate certificate is approximate $112,984. To achieve this trending popular certification, candidates should have:

· Good knowledge on choosing the right AWS services for the application

· Command on software development kits (SDKs) to interact with services from your application

· Hands on experience on writing code that optimizes performance

· Knowledge in code-level application security

AWS Tutorial Point , very simple and easy guide to start exploring AWS.

AWS Certified Developer — Associate Exam Blue Print

AWS Documentation

Developer Learning Path in AWS

AWS has created a developer learning path which is designed for software developers who have a keen interest in developing cloud applications on AWS. This will help you build your technical skills and getting advanced in it.

The AWS CDA exam is one of Amazon’s three associate-level certifications for their cloud-based platform. As part of a certified developer, individuals must be able to:

· Demonstrate an understanding of core AWS services, uses, and basic AWS architecture best practices.

· Demonstrate proficiency in developing, deploying, and debugging cloud-based applications using AWS

What to Expect on The Exam?

The exam is updated from time to time; therefore, ensure that if you are taking an online course that its content is updated with material from the current exam version. Every test is different; therefore, the list below is a general idea of what may or may not be on your exam — nothing is guaranteed.

What You Should Expect to See ?

· A lot of S3, DynamoDB, and EC2

· How SQS works with visibility timeouts and message delivery.

· Optimizing DynamoDB and S3 queries for performance

· Dynamo partition keys, local/global secondary indexes

· S3 CORS and encryption

· Questions that ask what languages are compatible with a specific service

· SQS min/max timeouts (including long-polling)

· IAM users, groups, roles, and inline policies

· Different methods of restricting access to resources (policies, ACLs)

· A few questions on VPCs, subnets, routing tables, and NAT Gateways

· HTTP error codes

· Authenticating with LDAP and Web Identity Federation

· Launching and encrypting EC2 instances

· AWS infrastructure (regions, availability zones, edge locations)

What You May Not See ?

· Different types of EC2 instance types (ex. T2 micro)

· Questions on every single AWS service (focus on the main ones)

· EC2 options (Reserved, On-Demand, Spot, Dedicated-Host)

· OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) vs OLAP (Online Analytics Processing)

· Questions about shared responsibility

· Complex questions on setting up Route53

· S3 storage tiers (Glacier, Infrequently Accessed, RRS) and Snowball

· S3 storage gateways

· EBS storage types

Things to absolutely Know

Some courses do not bring this up, but there are a few questions regarding CloudFormation templates. Not only should you be able to read and understand a simple template, but you should also have an idea on the methods that are utilized within these templates like Fn::Join or Fn::GetAtt. A quick read of this AWS document should give a good foundational understanding on reading CloudFormation templates.

There seems to always be one question regarding what resources ElasticBeanstalk can provision: ASG, ELB, EC2, RDS, SNS, S3. Remember ElasticBeanstalk itself is free, but you pay for the resources you use per service.

Encrypting and taking snapshots of an EC2 instance seems to pop up often throughout practice exams. Once an EC2 instance is up and running, it can not be encrypted — the EBS volume must be encrypted upon creation of the instance. Also, EC2 instances can be launched only from AMIs created in the same region.

Understand how to calculate read and write throughput for DynamoDB. As well as under what circumstances would you receive a ProvisionedThroughputExceededException error.

Calculating Read Throughput — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — (Size of Read Rounded to nearest 4KB Increment / 4 KB * no of items) / 1 *For Strongly Consistent Reads

(Size of Read Rounded to nearest 4KB Increment / 4 KB * no of items) / 2 *For Eventually Consistent Reads

Calculating Write Throughput — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — (Size of Write Rounded to nearest 1KB * no of items ) / 1

**The number of items should be in items/sec, some problems are phrased differently where you might need to divide items by 60 minutes to get the right value. (ex. An application needs to read 750 evenly distributed items of 13KB in size every 30 seconds… => 750/30=25 items/sec)


· Get a good night’s rest before the exam

· Bring two sources of personal identification to the exam

· Schedule your exam with adequate time to study beforehand (2+ weeks)

· Write down notes to better memorize information

· Memorize the important API calls/queries to Dynamo and S3

· Read the FAQs for most services (S3, Dynamo, EC2 in particular)

· Take practice exams or try some sample questions

· The exam is 80 minutes with 55 questions (About 1.5 minutes/question)

· Pass rates fluctuate every day (usually around 65%-70%)

· If you’ve invested time in studying and preparing for the exam, chances are you’ll score higher than you think

· Read forums that discuss the exam to get an idea of what others saw on their exams and if there are any recommendations on what you should study in particular

Course Structure of AWS Certified Developer Associate

There are five domains covered in AWS Developer Associate,

  • Domain 1 — Deployment
  • Domain 2 — Security
  • Domain 3 — Development with AWS Services
  • Domain 4 — Refactoring
  • Domain 5 — Monitoring and Troubleshooting

AWS Developer Associate — Domain 1: Deployment

Deployment domain in AWS Developer Associate exams covers 22% of total weightage with topics covered such as,

  • Deploying the written code in AWS using CD/CI pipelines and patterns.
  • How to use Elastic Beanstalk for deploying applications.
  • How to prepare the deployment package application for deploying it to AWS.
  • Serverless application deployment.

AWS Developer Associate — Domain 2: Security

Security domain of AWS Developer Associate includes authentication and encryption methods with having 26% of weightage. It is considered to be an important section in this certification. This includes,

  • How to make authenticated calls to AWS services.
  • Implementing applications for authorization and authentication.
  • Implementing encryption using AWS services.

AWS Developer Associate — Domain 3: Development with AWS Services

This domain covers the 30% weightage in the exam that needs to be focused more when preparing. The section which are covered in this domain are,

  • How to translate functional requirements into application designs.
  • Writing code for serverless applications and code that interacts with AWS services using API’s and AWS CLI.
  • Implementing application design into application code.

AWS Developer Associate — Domain 4: Refactoring

This domain will provide deep knowledge about the AWS services and the features included in it. It covers 10% of weightage in exam and the sections covered in it are,

  • Migrating the existing application code to run on AWS.
  • Optimizing the applications for using best features of AWS services.

AWS Developer Associate — Domain 5: Monitoring and Troubleshooting

Monitoring and Troubleshooting domain covers 12% weightage in which you will develop skills to identify faults and how to monitor it. This section covers,

  • Writing code to get it monitored.
  • Performing root cause analysis on the faults found during testing or production.


There are many free and paid resources on the internet to help you pass the CDA exam; below are a few resources that I personally used to prepare me.

Linux Academy

AWS Certified Developer Associate Level Preparation Course

Udemy Course and Exam Blueprint

AWS Certified Developer — Associate | Udemy

Certified Developer — Associate Certification Preparation for AWS

Do you want AWS certification? Do you want to be an AWS Certified Developer Associate?

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Exam Structure

AWS Developer Associate certification Exam has MCQ type of questions. Exam has been divided into two types –

  • Multiple choice questions, in this you only have select one correct option out of four options.
  • Multiple response questions, in this there can be multiple correct answers from the options given.

Exam Scoring

  • For AWS Developer Associate exam, you must select one or more best suitable answers based on the type of questions.
  • Questions which are not answered will be marked as incorrect.
  • There can also be some content in the exam which has not assigned any score, or no score will be given on that.

Exam Objective

Candidates giving this exam are validated using the following structure,

  • Uses of AWS services and understand the cloud native applications to write code.
  • Knowledge in maintaining and debugging code modules on AWS.
  • Understanding the AWS core services, its use and having best practice in AWS architecture.
  • Using AWS security best practice which includes IAM roles to write codes.

Reference Books

Below are few reference books which are available for AWS Developer Associate exam and some of them are,

  • All in One AWS Certified Developer Associate Exam Guide
  • AWS Development Essentials
  • AWS Certified Developer Associate Guide: An Effective Guide for Developers

Conclusion Tips for AWS Developer Associate Certification Exam

The best preparation for this certification exam is a hands-on experience. We advise one or more years of hands-on experience using AWS, especially developing applications practicing AWS technologies and services.

1. Sign-up for Free Tier

The primary step to start preparing will be to acquire hands-on experience with AWS services. You can sign-up for the AWS free-tier account. This free-tier account gives you an introduction to virtually all the services AWS offers and it is an excellent method for you. The more you are easy with the AWS services, the more it is simple for you to pass the exam.

2. Read and Analyze AWS FAQs

The AWS Product and Technical FAQs reflects generally asked questions and issues. If you examine these FAQs, you could get answers to examination questions. We suggest at least read the following FAQS:

· Cloud formation FAQs

· Route 53 FAQs

· EC2 FAQs

· DynamoDB FAQs


· S3 FAQs





· And VPC FAQs

3. Study the White Papers

There are some AWS Whitepapers recommended examining. You can expand your technical knowledge about AWS services and technologies; those had been composed by the AWS team, freelancer analysts, and AWS partners. At least go through the following whitepapers:

· Overview of AWS Services

· Cloud Architectures

· Architecting for the Cloud: AWS Best Practices

· Amazon Virtual Private Cloud Connectivity Options

· Amazon Web Services: Overview of Security Processes

· AWS Security Best Practices

· Development and Test on AWS

· How AWS Pricing Work

4. Prepare with Recommended Books

Getting the right books for the AWS Developer Associate certification exam will benefit you in the preparation. Good books are the key to excellent preparation and add meaning to what you have already grasped. AWS has suggested several books for AWS Developer Associate exam. There are some other books that will solve the objective of presenting a study guide for you.

5. Take a Practice Tests

Test your knowledge online in clocked conditions. Once you have study the white papers, FAQs and official documentation given by AWS Amazon, it’s time to solve some practice questions and exam simulations. We recommend giving practice tests at; they can test your knowledge acquired.

6. Read Blogs and Participate in a Community

Make a study group, join a community or read blogs for advancing your knowledge. For instance, you can find appropriate knowledge browsing the vmexam blogs; it has a lot of additional and important information to take and clear your AWS Certification exam with an excellent score.

All the very best for your exam. Leave note your success story in this story under write response section below.

Enterprise Architect — Certified Cloud Specialist (Azure, Google, AWS and Alibaba), AI/AR SME, Cross Platform Mobile Development (React Native, Xamarin, iOS)