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Thought Leadership

AWS Certified Developer Associate Tips

By Victor Sosa, Director of Service Delivery at IO Connect Services
November 27, 2020

I may not include a lot of information, but I wanted to share my experience of how I passed the AWS Certified Developer Associate certification with a score of 94/100.

I posted initially this on my personal blog, but I thought this is a good read for a more serious blog site such as IO Connect Services blog so I decided to re-post it. You can find the original here

A week ago, I presented and passed the AWS Certified Developer - Associate exam. I found it difficult even though it is an associate level, with due dedication, one can pass it. I'd like to share my experience with you. I got into AWS as part of my work at IO Connect Services with one of our customers. It's exciting as it's my first time doing Serverless and Cloud computing with AWS Lambda and other AWS technologies. Because of this, and other plans on my list, I decided to prepare for the AWS CDA exam. One thing I wasn't aware is that there's a lot you have to learn for this. In my opinion, this certification is not an associate level and I'll tell why.

First of all, the topics you have to learn, and mostly memorize are:

  • AWS Cloud computing fundamentals.
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM).
  • Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2).
  • Elastic Block Store (EBS).
  • Simple Storage Service (S3).
  • Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).
  • Elastic Load Balancer (ELB).
  • DynamoDB.
  • Simple Workflow Service (SWF).
  • CloudFormation.
  • Simple Queue Service (SQS).
  • Simple Notification Service (SNS).
  • Elasticbeanstalk.

All these services are spread in the following 4 categories in the exam:

  • AWS Fundamentals.
  • Designing and Developing.
  • Deployment and Security.
  • Debugging.

The format of the exam is questions with multiple choices, where in multiple times you have to select all that apply, increasing the difficulty of selecting the right combination of answers. In my experience, from these topics, you have to go in detail with IAM, VPC, EC2, DynamoDB, SQS, and S3. The exam is bloated with questions about these services in deep, so you better get familiar with them and make sure that you can master how to build and deploy an application without many supporting references. Also, I haven't mentioned SDKs yet. They are not covered in deep. As long as you can identify the supported SDKs you'll be mostly fine. This means that you will not be questioned about a particular API or routine from the SDKs. Bear in mind that you will be questioned about how to interact with the REST APIs of the services though, mostly the common aspects like authentication, token management, HTTP response codes, among others. Like I said, it's difficult but not impossible. I used the resources listed below to prepare myself.


I took AWS Certified Developer Associate courses from Udemy. They are video tutorials and the instructor really does a good job at explaining each of the topics and scenarios that are covered in the exam. Also, the practice exams gave a lot of chances to improve as you can see explanations of the answers. You can retake the exams to train your knowledge.

Even though I also looked at different resources, I think these links will give you a good understanding of what this exam entails.

Safari Books.

Also, as I have a subscription to Safari Books through IO Connect Services, I used these video tutorials too. You can find the same videos in Packt Publishing.

Test King

Here you will find questions that are a lot like the ones in the exam. Really useful resource. I encourage you to go through all questions and read the comments, as some of the answers are wrong but the people in comments give you a really good hint of what answers are the good ones.

Mobile app

These are mobile apps with a variety of exam-like questions. I bought it for under $10 USD. Available on Android and iPhone.


Last but not least, make sure you read the FAQ, particularly for S3, DynamoDB, EC2, and VPC. A lot of the questions are about things that do not come up often in normal scenarios of development like limits, region support, and corner cases.

Is it an online exam?

Yes but it's proctored. Have in mind that this exam can only be applied by authorized proctors and probably you or your employer will have to allocate budget for your travel like in my case. When you schedule your exam, you will see the authorized centers close to you. I would love to read your comments or questions. Happy reading!

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