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.

Solved: Restore root disk of EC2 without changing IP or Hostname

If the root volume of your EC2 instance got corrupt, instance won’t come up. Since you don’t have access to console of EC2 instance so you can’t do much.

In this post we will discuss options to restore an EC2 instance from snapshot backup. Prerequisite for the below guide is that you already have snapshot of the volume which you want to restore.

Option 1 – Different IP and Hostname 

Easiest option to restore an EC2 instance is to launch a new instance with the available snapshot. Refer this AWS doc to launch an instance from backup.

But, an instance launched this way will have both hostname and private IP different from original instance. If this is a problem for you go to option 2.

Option 2 – Same IP different Hostname

So, as per option 1 you have created and instance with an AMI but now you need the IP to be same as old one. To go around this you can detach the network interface of old instance and attach it to new instance.

This option will give you same private IP as old one but you will still have new hostname.

If you need both hostname and IP to be same go to option 3.

Option 3 – Same IP and Hostname

In this option we will discuss how you can restore an EC2 instance and keep both hostname and IP same. This can very important if your EC2 instance is in Active Directory(AD) domain, as change in IP and hostname mapping will cause conflict in domain. Because of this conflict the domain server can block login to the EC2 instance.

Let’s see how we can get around this.


  • You already have snapshot of the root and other volumes of instance.
  • Keep a screenshot of your Instance description from your AWS console, this can be used to refer instance configuration later.


For the eager one’s, plan is to follow the below steps.

  • Stop the instance
  • Detach the current root EBS
  • Create a new volume from the old snapshot
  • Attach the new volume to instance
  • Boot the instance

Now let’s see the steps in detail.

Stop Instance

Stop the instance if it’s up.

Detach the current root EBS 

  • Select the root volume(/dev/sda1) mentioned as “Root device” from instance description and click on EBS id of the volume.
  • You will now come in “Volumes” window.
  • From the “Actions” drop down select “Detach Volume”

Create a new volume from the old snapshot

  • Create a volume from the snapshot you have taken earlier.
  • Select the snapshot of the volume and from “Actions” drop down select “Create Volume”.
  • In the “Create Volume” window ensure that you select the Availability Zone to be same as the AZ in which your instance is located.
  • Leave the other options as default. (refer image)

  • Finally hit “Create Volume”.

Attach the new volume

  • Once your volume is created select it.
  • From the “Actions” drop down select “Attach”.
  • While attaching the volume in the device field mention volume name as /dev/sda1 since we are attaching it as root volume. This is same as your old root volume name.

  • Hit “Attach” .

Boot instance

  • Once the volume is attached start the instance normally. You should now see that the instance has the data from your old backup. Also, it’s hostname and private IP will remain same as before.

Note:- If you want to keep the public IP to be fixed, you need to assign an Elastic IP to the instance. Public IP assigned by default, by AWS keeps on changing with every reboot.

That’s all folks!

How to prepare for AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional


In this post we will discuss how to prepare for AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional certification.


Only pre-requisite to appear for the professional exam is that you clear  AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification.  You can check here about how to prepare for associate certification.

Once you have cleared the associate exam you can start preparation of  AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional certification.

Many of the topics in the professional exam are same as that of the associate exam. So in professional exam you may actually see few questions are repeated from associate exam itself.

But still it has a lot of new topics also. Below are the topics on which you can expect most questions in exam.

Exam Topics

  • VPC
  • EC2
  • S3
  • Amazon Elasticache
  • Redshift
  • Cloudfront
  • Elastic Transcoder
  • AWS Data Pipeline
  • RDS
  • Cloudsearch
  • EMR
  • DynamoDB
  • SQS
  • CloudTrail
  • KMS
  • Kinesis
  • Opsworks
  • Auto Scaling
  • ELB
  • VPC peering
  • Direct Connect
  • Cross Account Access


As you can see the list above contains a wide range of topics and reading about them can be overwhelming. You can also see the official exam blueprint here . It is good if you have at least 1 year of experience with these AWS technologies.

You can start your preparation by attending AWS  classroom training or you can go for online courses. I personally liked the contents of two online courses one was from acloudguru and  other from linux academy .

Both the courses are good but I chose acloudguru course as the course allowed you lifetime access. While for linux academy you have to pay monthly fee. I knew that with full-time job it may take me more than a month to prepare for this exam so I decided to opt for the acloudguru course.

The acloudguru course is comprehensive and the trainer Ryan covers the topics in a decent way. The course alone is not enough to clear the exam but it will give you a good understanding of the exam topics.

Apart from the course you should also refer to the AWS FAQs  which are very helpful during scenario based questions.

Also Linuxacademy gives you 7 days free trial so you can use that period to do their practice exams which also has lot of good questions.

Exam pattern

  • Multiple choice and multiple answer questions.
  • You will be given scenarios and questions will be based on that. Only few will be direct questions.
  • Exam will be of 170 minutes
  • And you can expect approx 80 questions


Exam cost is USD 300

You also have an option to appear for practice exam from Amazon. It costs you USD 40. Many people have told me that the actual exam is easier in comparison to the practice exam. So, if you score good in practice exam you can be sure about your preparation.

Sample Questions

You can refer to some sample exam questions here and on Udemy.

Hope the above info is helpful to you. Do let me know if you have any query.

Best of Luck for the exam!

Solved: ERROR: current transaction is aborted – Redshift


[Amazon](500310) Invalid operation: current transaction is aborted, commands ignored until end of transaction block;


If you are getting the above error while you are connected to Redshift, ensure that you have checked the “Autocommit” box below the “Password” box in SQL Workbench/J connection window. (refer image below)

Once you check the “Autocommit” box try connecting to the Redshift cluster again.

Review of acloudguru course AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

In this post we are writing a review of acloudguru course  AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate on Udemy .

When I decided to go for AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam I was confused about how to start with preparation. Syllabus of the exam is vast and covers a lot of topics. I needed someone to guide me for this exam.

After going through many forums I came to the conclusion that I’ve two options.

  1. To attend the course at one of the training institutes. The official training cost range from $800 to $1500. Even the institutes offering non-official training quoted $400 to $900. This was huge money considering that my last company was not sponsoring this course and I have to pay for it myself.
  2. Second option was to look for online courses. These course are cheap ranging from $10 to $100 but I was not sure about the quality of content and how much I can learn with just online training.

After going through multiple forums and blogs I ended up listing online courses from two vendors  Linux Academy and acloudguru.

Linux Academy has good material and people have written some good feedback for them. But the problem with them is that you have to buy their monthly subscription with plans starting from $29. I knew that with a full-time job I won’t be able to complete the course properly in 1 month.

So I checked on acloudguru course.  Many people have given good feedback for this course too. The course was listed on website for $29. But I found the same course on Udemy for $10 in a special offer at that time. Udemy also provides you free lifetime access to the course. I found this was most suitable for me so purchased it. Also once you buy the course from Udemy you can get free access to the same course on website also.

Now coming to the acloudguru  AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate course itself.

As of Apr-2018  course has around 22 hours of on-demand video.

The course is very comprehensive and it gives you a good understanding of topics. Instructor(Ryan) is very energetic and he tries to teach you the topic in a very simple way. So even if you don’t have background in AWS then also you will understand the topics with not much effort.

It covers a lot of practical labs which you can follow by creating your own AWS free tier account.  It covers almost all topics of the exam. So you don’t have to worry about the syllabus.

It also has quizzes in between the course for knowledge check and also full length mock exams to test your understanding.

One of the recommendation for the exam preparation is to go through the white papers. Each of the white paper is a big pdf of 50 to 200 pages. And for the associate level you are supposed to read around 6 to 7 of them. This can be overwhelming but Ryan cover the gist of these whitepapers in his course.

The course is very useful to get you started on the AWS journey.  But the course alone is not enough to clear the exam.  You need to have good practical knowledge of AWS for clearing the exam and this course give you the correct direction.

You can get good sample exam questions for practice from another course of acloudguru on Udemy  Exam Questions – AWS Solution Architect Associate or from Jon AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Practice Exams for which most students have written great feedback.