How did I Pass AWS Certified Developer Associate (AWS CDA) Exam?

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Pass AWS Certified Developer Associate (AWS CDA) Exam
Pass AWS Certified Developer Associate (AWS CDA) Exam

The AWS Certified Developer Associate exam is one of the three associate-level certifications offered by Amazon Web Services. It helps the candidates to demonstrate their

  • Understanding of core AWS services, their uses, and basic AWS architecture best practices
  • Proficiency in development, deployment, and debugging cloud-based applications using AWS
AWS CDA Result

Preparation for the AWS Certified Developer Associate Exam

My main preparation resource for the AWS developer associate certification exam was the Whizlabs AWS CDA online course that provides a focused content to pass the AWS CDA exam in the first attempt. The course provides 15+ hours of training videos with few interactive labs along with hands-on practice labs to gain real-time experience.

I completed the online course for the AWS developer associate certification exam that covers a comprehensive set of videos under the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Getting Started
  • Core Services
  • Command Line Interface
  • Serverless
  • CI/CD and Developer Tools
  • Security
  • Additional Key Services

After the completion of the online video course, I also tried Whizlabs AWS CDA practice tests to check if I’m well-prepared. I tried practice tests 2 times, scored 80% above in the first attempt while 90% above in the second attempt and so in the real exam.

Most important Concepts and Topics for the AWS CDA Exam

As I found myself well-prepared for the AWS Certified Developer Associate exam, I scheduled the exam for March 24, 2019. Now, I’m an AWS Certified Developer Associate, I’d share my experience of taking the AWS CDA exam with you all. So, here is a description of the important topics and subtopics from which I found the questions in the exam.

1. Serverless

  • Lambda – Many questions were asked from this
  • A lot of questions were either directly on Lambda or combination of Lambda with other services

          – Lambda – Version-related questions

          – Lambda – Alias-related questions

          – Lambda – SAM-combination questions

          – Lambda – SAM and CodeDeploy combination

  • SAM – Parameters in SAM code related questions – Which parameter does what in the YAML code
  • Lambda for solving Complex architecture

2. KMS

  • Encryption at rest, Encryption in transit
  • KMS Questions are asked in combination with a lot of other services
  • S3 Encryption

         – Encryption while Transferring data from Kinesis

         – Lambda function to process data and encryption before transferring data to S3

         – Default S3 Encryption

  • Keys related questions – Master Key, Envelope key, Data Key, GeneratedDataKey, etc

3. DynamoDB

  • Complete understanding of DynamoDB is a must for Developer exam
  • Understanding RCU, WCU and Calculations based on this
  • Local secondary index, Global secondary index
  • Scan vs Query
  • Projection expression
  • DAX
  • Using DynamoDB in combination with ElastiCache like Redis and Memcached
  • DynamoDB combination with Lambda and S3
  • DynamoDB session related questions
  • Fetching data from DynamoDB – Lazy loading, Write Through
  • How to solve ProvisionedThroughputExceededException
  • DynamoDB TTL

4. ElasticBeanstalk

  • Understanding of different ways of the update is needed – rolling, all at once, rolling with batch, immutable, etc
  • Combination of CloudFormation and ElasticBeanstalk
  • Understanding clearly how configuration in ElasticBeanstalk works
  • How to change the Instance type
  • How RDS can be saved while deleting ElasticBeanstalk
  • Deploying different versions of the application in ElasticBeanstalk

5. CloudFormation

  • This is also one of the important topics
  • Understating parameters inside Cloudformation Template
  • CloudFormation template stored in S3
  • CloudFormation, Lambda, CodeDeploy, S3 combination Question
  • Pointing to the right version of the Lambda function in CloudFormation

6. CodDeploy, CodeBuild, CodeCommit, Code Pipeline

  • Complete understanding of Code Deploy Configuration file and its parameters – appspec file
  • CodeDeploy errors and reverting back to previous versions
  • Run order of hooks
  • CodeBuild in combination with SAM
  • Understanding CodeBuild Configuration file and its parameters – Buildspec file
  • CodeCommit – Even though there were not many direct questions on this, I saw it in many options
  • Using Codepipeline to automate the process
  • Errors handling in Codepipeline and what happens when one of the processes fails in Codepipeline

7. SQS

  • Visibility timeout
  • Long and short polling
  • SQS for solving complex scenarios
  • SQS combination with EC2
  • Fifo and Standard Queues

8. ElasticCache

  • Understanding Redis and its use cases
  • Understanding Memcached and its use cases
  • Redis Vs Memcached
  • How ElastiCache is useful with RDS

9. API Gateway

  • Many questions on this as well
  • Understanding different staging
  • Deploying multiple stages
  • Uses of API Gateways
  • API Gateway and Lambda Combination Questions
  • API Gateway and CORS
  • API Gateway Caching

10. S3

  • Bucket Policies
  • One question on bucket policy details for CodeCommit (I didn’t expect this. They should never ask these kinds of questions. However, they did and it’s sad)
  • S3 Optimization related questions – Random prefix
  • S3 combination with Kinesis
  • CloudFront, Cloudfront Edge
  • CloudFront – TTL – how to do it

11. Elastic Load Balancer, EC2, and Autoscaling

  • SSL on ELB and EC2 related questions
  • Traffic diversion based on the scenario
  • How to allow traffic from ELB and EC2
  • Health check related questions
  • Combination with Route53 Questions

12. Elastic Container Service

  • How it’s used
  • Docker images
  • Combination of this with CodeDeploy
  • ECS deployed on EC2 instances
  • There are many complex and confusing questions from this. You have to be very careful while selecting an option for the questions from this topic

13. IAM

  • Mainly understanding IAM Role and how it is attached to other resources
  • How IAM role used instead of AccessKeys in a scenario
  • IAM Policy related questions – one questions was how to make common IAM policy for 10 users

14. Kinesis

  • Understanding different Kinesis options – firehose, data analytics etc
  • Understanding how kinesis works
  • Shards related questions
  • Streaming data to S3
  • Processing streaming data from kinesis with Lambda, moving data to S3

15. AWS Cognito

  • Many questions with Cognito related Concepts
  • Data Sync
  • Assume assumerolewithwebidentity
  • Question on unauthenticated users
  • Understanding Cognito steams, events, data, etc

16. Route53

  • StaticWebsite
  • Routing policies – understanding when to use which policy
  • Route53 Health Checks

17. CloudWatch, CloudTrail related questions.

  • It is important to understand CloudWatch and its capabilities
  • Usually, questions will be should I choose CloudWatch or CloudTrail or some other service

18. AWS Parameter Store

  • Few Questions in combination with other services and the scenarios on how to use this

19. Step Functions

  • How it is used to solve complex architectures and make them easy to manage

20. RDS

  • I did not see any direct questions, however, some questions had RDS in combination with other services in use cases

21. SNS

  • In combination with other services

These are the topics I remember. I will update further if I remember something else.

Note that AWS CDA exam is more focused on hands-on experience on using the AWS Services to build an application for real-time rather than understanding theoretical concepts. You will find a lot of questions based on the hands-on scenarios. The questions are concentrated on Application development and deployment. So, while preparing for the AWS Developer Associate exam, don’t forget to get your hands dirty on the AWS platform with AWS services.

Fortunately, I’d covered all these topics in the online course and few I remembered as I have also taken other AWS certification exams. Overall, the online course covers all the domains of the AWS CDA exam, along with some additional topics that may help you in your AWS developer associate exam preparation.

Topics that You Won’t Find in the AWS CDA Exam

I’d like to share my experience with the topics that you won’t find in the AWS CDA exam.  So, you can skip these topics, and prepare with the important topics that will help you pass the AWS Certified Developer Associate exam in the first attempt:

  • CDA exam has the least number of questions related to networking concepts like VPC, On-premise, and VPN.
  • You shouldn’t expect questions on Storage Gateway, Route Table, and any configuration w.r.t. It.
  • You won’t find any questions on EC2 w.r.t. EBS volumes, Subnets, Availability Zones, and Regions like high availability, disaster recovery, etc.

Whizlabs AWS Developer Practice Tests w.r.t. The Real Exam

Whizlabs AWS Developer online course is good enough to prepare for the AWS Certified Developer Associate exam. Now, let’s find out what is the status of Whizlabs AWS developer practice tests with respect to the real exam.

Observations:

  • Existing practice test questions are helpful to understand all the right topics.
  • I always saw questions which are similar to Whizlabs practice Tests.
  • Remember that questions, as well as options, are twisted in some way. Be careful while picking the correct option.