AWS – Developer Associate Overview

aws dev assoc

I recently passed the AWS Developer Associate certification.  I wanted to pass along my knowledge as well as all the other resources I used during my studies.  The best thing is to obviously use the products and services by creating yourself an account and dig right in.

This has been my second AWS certification, the first was the Solutions Architect Associate and there are a lot of overlapping services between it and the Developer Associate.  During my studies I tried to focus in on the differences between the two certifications and will do so in this blog post.

Some of the overlapping services covered from the Solutions Architect Assoc to the Developer Associate are VPC, EBS, and S3.  There were other services like EC2, but I feel like you don’t need to go to deep on this service, just know when to use it vs RDS.  DynamoDB, RDS, SQS, and SNS I was weaker in these areas because these are not covered deeply in the SAA exam, and there are a lot more questions in the DA exam.

DynamoDB you’ll need to understand that it’s a NoSQL database and understand the components like the table, items and attributes.  Be able to evaluate a specific workload and know if you should use DynamoDB or RDS.  DynamoDB is a globally scaled database, but it too has limitations.  Know these limitations.  DynamoDB is different than other traditional database because you’re charged for reads/writes and storage used and different methods like eventually consistent vs strongly consistent.  You will need to know the differences for both.  Both methods have specific ways to calculate what will be charged.  The DA will test your knowledge on how to calculate these charges by asking simulation questions.  The simulation questions are phrased like customer A has 100 sensors that send data every 60 seconds that are 1K is size and want to write strongly consistent to DynamoDB.  Know how to solve this problem.

Simple Queue Service was a service that I needed extra studying.  I think it was because I’ve never really worked with a queuing service.  Know how SQS interacts with other AWS services like SNS.  Get familiar with the visibility timeouts and why there are visibility timeouts.  There are limits to the visibility timeouts, know these backwards and forwards.  Understand that SQS is a first in first out queue and there are no guarantees on delivery.

AWS Developer Associate Starting Point

Here’s a good link to use as a starting point for the exam. The Starting Point gives you an overview of the exam like the cost, how many questions, and timing of the exam. This Starting Point provides recommended whitepapers (that you should cover) and a sample page of questions that you can take to make sure you’re focusing on the right areas.  Starting Point.


The blueprint lists all the specific areas that will be covered in the exam and the percentage that you’ll need to focus. Blueprint.


Amazon provides frequently asked questions on a lot of the products and these are great study guides that provide detailed information like service limitations, costs, and functionality.  This will help you decide which service to use during the exam.  Below are quick links to the FAQs I found most important.







Additional Resources

DynamoDB Limits

SQS Queues

SAML Federation

AWS Service Limits


Here are some additional blogs that I found along the way.


ClusterFrank Notes




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