March 4, 2020

AWS Developer Associate - Tips

AWS Developer Associate - Tips

After passing Solutions Architect Associate in January, I started on studying for the Developer Associate (DVA-CO1), which I passed in March.  I was advised there is a lot of overlap with Solutions Architect, and hence will make studying easier. The day after writing Solutions Architect, I took the Tutorial Dojos Jon Bonso Developer Associate practice exam, to see how much I will need to study. I got 53%, so that gives a good view of how much overlap there was, without any studying. I got busy with work, thats why it took about two months to write the exam, which included about 15 - 20 hours of watching the Cloud Guru course, and another 30 hours doing exam practices, and then referring to the relevant FAQ or technical AWS document. Having said that, I though the Developer exam was harder than SA - it took me the full 130 mins to complete it, including going back to the flagged questions to recheck. In the end, I was lucky to achieve 91%.

For the Solution Architect exam, I spent 30% on lectures, and 70% on practise tests and reading the relevant FAQs and tech docs, which was about 10 consecutive days in total of dedicated studying time. However for this Developer exam, I was back at work, so preparation was spread over 2 months, which means you lose some knowledge/data that was in short term memory, and need to spend additional time on refreshing sections you already studied. Like this review mentions, the Spacing Effect is real.

The learnings was very useful, especially the CI/CD topics on CloudCommit, CloudBuild and CloudDeploy, of which I have work experience on (although using other CI/CD tooling, not AWS). Doing the practice exams really forces you to study the FAQs and other AWS docs. I guess I could have passed with just doing the practice exams (I did almost 10), but then I would have only had enough knowledge to pass the exam, and not to really build skills. By doing the Cloud Guru course, you also do the hands on labs, and thats what you really after - gaining hands-on experience.

Here is what I used to prepare:

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