Preparing for AWS Certified Developer Certification Exam

January 22, 2014 | Comments(2) |

Amazon has now released certification for AWS Certified Developer at Associate level and AWS Certified SysOps at Associate Level. Until now only the AWS Certified Solutions Architect was available at the Associate Level. But Amazon is aggressively working on their certification program and adding more certifications at a good pace. Below is the chart Amazon has published for current and future certifications in the pipeline. As you can see many more are coming soon.



I cleared the AWS Certified Developer Certification Exam and am sharing my experience about the certification in this blog post. We will talk bout the AWS certified Sysops in a later blog post.

The AWS Certified Developer certification at Associate Level is now available through Kryterion testing centers. The cost of the certification is $150. The certification has the number of questions and results are not provided immediately. AWS says that the results will be provided upto 8-10 weeks post the beta start date. Also if you fail the beta, you get a free voucher to give the exam again when it comes out of beta. So overall it’s a good deal, and I highly encourage giving the beta.

Below is the summary of difference between AWS Certified Solutions Architect and AWS Certified Developer exams.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect AWS Certified Developer
Cost $150 $150
# of questions 40-60 40-60
Time allocated 80 min 80 min
Certification Result Immediate Result Immediate Result
Passing percentage 65% Not Published.
Percentage weightage of Domains – Designing highly available, cost efficient, fault tolerant, scalable systems: 60%- Implementation/ Deployment: 10%- Data Security: 20%- Troubleshooting: 10% – AWS Fundamentals: 10%- Designing and Developing: 40%- Deployment and Security: 30%- Debugging: 20%
Validity 2 years from date of certification 2 years after certification comes out of beta
Retake policy Retake after a month. Up to three attempts in one year. Have to pay each time. Retake after a month. Up to three attempts in one year. Have to pay each time.


As the AWS Developer Certification exam is designed for developers who has experience coding solutions that run on AWS infrastructure using AWS services, it has 40% weightage for “Designing and Developing” and 30% for “Deployment and Security”.

This is quite different from the AWS Certified Solutions Architect exam which had more emphasis on designing applications on AWS and thus 60% of the questions are from “Designing highly available, cost efficient, fault tolerant, scalable systems” section.

Below are the high level sections provided by AWS and my experience with these sections.

Topics for AWS Certified Developer Associate Level Exam


1. AWS Fundamentals (10%)

This section will test basic knowledge about AWS Services. If you have programmed with AWS, most likely you will be able to answer these questions. The challenge will be to have knowledge about all the services involved as part of this exam. AWS blueprint says that the following services are part of the certification:

  • Core AWS Services (S3, IAM, RDS, EC2, ELB, EBS, VPC, etc.)
  • DynamoDB
  • Simple Queue Service (SQS)
  • Simple Notification Service (SNS)
  • Simple Workflow Service (SWS)
  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk
  • AWS CloudFormation

2. Designing and Developing (40%)

This is the section with highest weightage at 40%. You will be required to know the general architecture and use cases for all the AWS services mentioned above. There can be questions on feasibility of using a particular service for a particular use case, or which service (or group of services) will be best suited for a given use case. Another consideration is how to most efficiently use a service. Some types of questions might be:

  • Given a dataset what will be the best indexing strategy for DynamoDB for a given use case.
  • The best strategy for designing S3 key space and ACLs given a particular type of dataset and use case.
  • Consistency model of each of these services. For example S3 is eventually consistent while DynamoDB has a consistent read option.
  • Various limitations of the Services. For example in S3 how many buckets can you create for an account, in Dynamo how many indices can you create, size limitations on hash-partitions, etc.

Also there will be questions on the most common APIs for these services. For example, some of the most popular S3 APIs are GetObject, ListBucket, PutObject, etc. and for SQS it is CreateQueue, SendMessage, DeleteMessage, etc. One will have to know all these basic APIs for all the AWS services mentioned above. This is quite a big task, as S3 itself has hundreds of APIs. I would recommend going through all the APIs, but if you are short of time, go through the most common ones. (I might have a post later about most common APIs for each of the service above, so keep checking back or like us on Facebook/Twitter to get latest blog post updates).

There can be questions on various SDKs available for AWS too. For example AWS officially supports the Java and Php SDK along with others and there can be questions on these SDKs. Hands-on experience with coding using at least one of these SDKs is a also must

3. Deployment and Security (30%)

This section will have questions on various ways infrastructure on AWS can be secured. There could be multiple ways infrastructure can be secured and knowledge of these methods is necessary. For example, VPC public & private subnet, EC2 Security Groups, S3 bucket policies and ACLs, IAM user & groups, etc.

Deployment part of this section has more developer centric deployment questions. For example, given a use case, will it be better to use pre-configured AMI or CloudFormation for deployment, integration of deployment management tools like Chef with AWS services, and so on.

4. Debugging 20%

This section has questions on the most efficient ways to debug applications deployed on AWS. Questions range from some of the most common mistakes like launching public facing servers in private subnet, improper ACLs for S3 objects, improper IAM policies, etc.

Preparing for the Exam

Overall the exam is comprehensive and hands-on experience programming with AWS is a must. I recommend writing at least one sample application in any language of your choice that uses services like S3, DynamoDB, RDS, SQS, EC2, etc.

There are quite a few white-papers on AWS website and those are a good sources of reference too.

If you need to get ramped up quickly for the certification, you can consider our Developing Cloud Applications with AWS course. If you would like to get further information about this course please fill out this form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

I recently also added sample questions for AWS Solutions Architect Certification. Try it out here.

How to Register

To register, click this Kryterion testing center link. You will need to create an account before you register for the test.

On Getting Certified

You get this below badge of honor when you get certified, which can be used on your business card, signature, etc.



Good luck!! If you have any questions, please mention them below and will try to answer them. Also if you like the article please share it with others.

2 Responses to “Preparing for AWS Certified Developer Certification Exam”

  1. NITIN

    hi ,

    I am into IT presales software development services and lookig for transition into Amazon infr presales . How this certification could help me? solution architect associate level

  2. Rugved

    Hi, Bhavesh. Congratulations for clearing the AWS Developer associate exam. I wanted to know the scope of this certification. How good of an opportunity can you get based aon this certification ? Also are there plenty of openings for this technology in India ? Will this certification help me get a good opportunity in the US ?


Leave a Reply