There are many paths to become AWS certified. When you are first evaluating which AWS certification to pursue first, you may make your decision on any number of factors such as a need for a certain certification at work, or your specific interests.  The great part about the AWS associate level certifications is they are very obtainable, especially if you are willing to put some time and effort into learning something new.

One path, which is relevant for many organizations is the AWS Certified Developer – Associate path. This certification path is key as organizations begin to develop applications within AWS

There are no pre-requisites to take the AWS Certified Developer exam. There is currently one level of this exam, which is the associate level. This exam is geared towards optimization of applications on the AWS infrastructure, and a core understanding of best practices for application design and deployment.

The Exam

The exam consists of multiple choice and multiple answer questions. The exam is 80 minutes long, and costs 150 USD. This is in line with other AWS Associate exams, such as the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate. Like other AWS associate level exams, there is a practice exam available for 20 USD.  In order to get a feel for what the exam is like, AWS also provides sample questions.  At the Associate level, AWS exam questions are usually very straight forward, and able to be answered quickly.  This is one of the reasons the Associate level exams are relatively short.

The Material

The AWS Certified Developer Associate exam blueprint is your guide to success as a test taker.  At 40% of the exam, Designing and Deploying is the largest section on the blueprint. This blueprint item mentions two areas specifically:

  • Configure an Amazon Machine Image (AMI)
  • Programming with AWS APIs

Configuring an AWS AMI is one of the first steps many take when they begin to work with the AWS environment. There are many ways to accomplish this, but many start by using the good old AWS web interface.

Programming with AWS APIs is a broad topic, but clearly central to the AWS Certified Developer Associate. Some of the best ways to get experience with this topic are to practice. There is a specific set of labs delivered by qwikLABS for this certification.  This can be a good place to start for those looking to learn AWS development skills. Some of the introductory labs are free, while others have a cost associated with them. One of these free labs is Introduction to Amazon API Gateway, which is a good lab to get started with for those new to Amazon APIs.

Another large area on the blueprint is Deployment and Security, at 30% of the blueprint. After applications are developed, deploying them in a secure manner is crucial to success on the AWS platform. One of the hardest concepts to understand for many new to AWS is the way AWS handles identity and access management. The good news is the policy based method
AWS implements these critical controls is powerful, and easy to use once you have a core understanding of how it works.

The other two topics are AWS Fundamentals at 10% of the blueprint, and Debugging at 20% of the blueprint. These blueprint areas are combined to illustrate what a successful AWS Certified Developer should be proficient in.

One often overlooked resource is the AWS Documentation. You can find material for all of the blueprint areas for the AWS Certified Developer Associate exam, as well as any other AWS exam. There are also a number of free AWS resources to aid you in studying for the AWS Certified Developer Associate exam.