How to prepare for AWS Certified Developer – Associate certification exam

In one of our earlier post we have detailed about which AWS certification is suitable for you ?

If you have decided to go for AWS Certified Developer – Associate certification this post is for you.

If you are  an absolute beginner you can start with free labs from AWS . To practice further you can create free AWS account. These two actions will get you started on AWS.

Beware that if you go beyond free tier limits you will be billed. Best practice is to create a billing alert.  This alert can save you from unexpected bill shockers.

To further hone your skills you can either go for AWS classroom training or go for online courses. The classroom training will cost you from USD 800 to USD 2000. While the online courses can cost you from USD 10 to USD 300, depending on which course you choose.

Our personal opinion is that you should go for online courses as they are cheaper and if you follow their labs honestly they can be as good as classroom training.

In online courses we recommend two providers acloudguru and Linux Academy.  Both have monthly plans to buy the courses but they can become bit costly if you can’t complete the course in 1 month.

We have observed that acloudguru also provide the same course on Udemy where you get lifetime access to course with just one time payment. Also, Udemy provide heavy discounts on courses during sale which can get you a good bargain.

Thus, we recommend this AWS Certified Developer – Associate course  of acloudguru on Udemy . Also, once you buy this course on Udemy you will get access of the same course on acloudguru website also.

The acloudguru course instructor Ryan is an industry expert and deliver the course really well. The course will cover almost all the main topics which are asked in exam.  (Though we have observed that as of Apr-18 it was missing a session on AWS lambda for which the questions have started appearing in exam. Hope they update the course soon.) Currently you can learn about lambda from Ryan’s other course on AWS Lambda .

It’s a good idea to follow all the labs with the instructor and once you get confidence redo the labs independently. Don’t forget to complete the practice quizzes to check your knowledge.

This course will give you good base for the exam. But, the course itself is not enough to clear the exam.  You should go through whitepapers and FAQs of atleast below service .

  • EC2
  • S3
  • SQS
  • RDS
  • DynamoDB
  • Lambda

Exam pattern

Exam has Multiple-choice and multiple-answer questions. Exam is of 80 minutes.

Practice Exam Questions

To get a good evaluation of your preparation you can go through another course of  acloudguru sample exam questions on Udemy  .  Many test takers have said that they got similar questions in exam.

Exam Cost

Exam will cost you USD 150. AWS also gives you an option to book a practice exam for USD 20 before you go for actual exam.

How to book exam

To book an exam you will have to create an account in AWS Training and Certification Portal .

Passing score

AWS doesn’t reveal minimum passing score and it keeps on changing. But we have observed that generally people who score above 80% passed the exam. You will immediately see the score on you screen once you finish the test and will also get a report on your mail within 1 hour.

Exam Tips

  • Get good sleep and keep calm during the exam.
  • You won’t get more than 3 mins per question.
  • You may find some very long questions in exam. Best strategy to tackle them is to read the answer options first and than check for relevant info in question.
  • Since it’s an AWS exam so look for AWS related options in the answers.  Chances are high that  Non-AWS related option in answer will be wrong.
  • AWS exams generally don’t focus on mugging their datasheets. So you won’t get a question like “How much RAM does a C3.xlarge offer?” .

That’s all folks! Best of luck for the exam!

Do let us know in comments section if you have any query.

Which AWS certification is suitable for me?

Many people have asked me which AWS certification should they do that can help in their career in near future.

AWS provides below certifications


AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

Associate level
AWS Certified Developer – Associate
AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Professional level
AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

Specialty Certifications
AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty
AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty

Now coming to the point which AWS certification is best for you.

If you are a fresher you should go for either AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner or  AWS Certified Developer – Associate . These are easiest of all AWS exams and will give you a good base.

If you have less than 5 to 6 years of experience in IT industry and you are from development background in that case you should go for AWS Certified Developer – Associate certification.

Similarly, if you have less than 5 to 6 years of experience in IT industry and you are from system admin background you should go for AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate certification.

If you have 8 to 9+ years of experience in IT industry you can go for AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification. Reason for more experience in Architect certification is that generally you can’t send a 2-3 years experience person in front of the client as an Architect. Because client may not accept such a young person to be given responsibility of designing their environment. However, exceptions are always there but this is generally the trend we have seen.

Also, if you are from pre-sales and sales background you can go for AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner and later to Architect exam.

If you are from Database Admin background then going for AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty certification will be a natural progression and a big plus in your resume.

If you are from networking background then AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty certification will be a good choice and natural progression for you.

Once you have gained approximately 2 years of experience with AWS you can go for professional certifications. Dev and SysOps guys can go for AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional and Architects can naturally move to AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional.

Learning about all of the above certification will be a huge advantage but to start with above approach should be a good beginning.

We have recently seen a trend where jobs are being posted only for Redshift Architect or IAM Architect so things may change in future when people will look for specialists in only one or two AWS services.

If you want to have a quick snapshot of AWS services you can refer to our free AWS Crash Course.

Do let me know what you think about this and if you have any query or suggestions ask in comments section.