Took some hard work to get this one done! The AWS Developer Associate (Released June 2018). It is a difficult one and requires a lot of AWS console practice on multiple complex topics.The blueprint of the exam is a must read. Make sure you have a clear understanding of all topics you will need to know during the exam session. There are no prerequisites for this exam but I would strongly recommend to sit first the SSA (Solutions Architect Associate) and after the CDA (Certified Developer Associate).
During the exam session you will have to demonstrate proficiency in developing, deploying, and debugging Serverless applications on AWS. The main technologies covered are: IAM, Cognito, S3, CloudFront, ECS, CloudWatch, CloudFormation, Lambda, API Gateway, X-Ray, DynamoDB, KMS, SQS, SNS, Kinesis, Elastic BeanStalk, CodeCommit, CodeDeploy, CodePipeline.
What I found really challenging is the shift of mindset I had to go through during the preparation to the exam. Serverless is a new way of architecting cost effective, reliable, scalable and secure applications. But this is not it, Serverless enables innovation, fast development and experimentation!!! As a DevOps/Developer/Automation Engineer is crucial to concentrate on a couple of things in my opinion: first the process to automate/codify, second is writing the code that will automate that process. You shouldn’t worry about the rest!
In terms of productivity a DevOps/Automation Engineer/Developer should spend most of the time coding. My recommendation for the CDA exam is to focus on experimentation and creativity, from each topic you will notice that the more you practice the more your ideas will grow into new experiments that will help you to understand better the platform and in the future build awesome products.
To prepare for the two hours exam session you will need a good understanding of a variety of technologies, my advice is to practice a lot and create small projects. The projects can be very small in size, just simple script to try out single services and grow them into more complex applications. For example studying SQS I wrote a few simple scripts to understand the differences between Standard Queues and FIFO Queues, check them out here, some others to create, update and query DynamoDB tables can be found here). Do the same exercise with other services try to build out simple apps, experiment with your own ideas.
Once again I strongly recommend the A Cloud Guru video course, it is where I mostly prepared. I also recommend you to read the AWS online documentation which is amazing and will provide you with all level of details for each single service and more.
A must read is Practicing Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery on AWS Accelerating Software Delivery with DevOps whitepaper. This document will provide you with a good understanding of continuous integration, continuous deployment and continuous delivery. Additionally take a closer look at Kinesis, Elastic BeanStalk, Advanced IAM (Web Identity Federation, Cognito, STS, Cross Account Access), DynamoDB (particularly important is to know how to calculate provisioned throughput: read capacity units, write capacity units) and CloudWatch.
Good luck and thanks for reading out the article. Please feel free to comment and/or reach out! We are always happy to help.