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Nertil Poci

Cloud Certifications: AWS Certified Developer - Associate

Nertil Poci

  • Oct 22, 2020
  • 13 Min read
  • Oct 22, 2020
  • 13 Min read
Cloud Application Development
Cloud Application Development
AWS Certified Developer - Associate DVA-C01


With companies everywhere moving to the cloud, there has never been a better time to be a cloud developer.

Almost every new application is developed to be a cloud-native solution or at least consume some cloud services, and legacy applications are actively being migrated to the cloud. This has created a need for developers who understand and specialize in Cloud Development. And there's no better way to prove yourself to potential clients than being certified by AWS.

According to the latest study by Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), Amazon Web Services is the most popular public cloud infrastructure platform, comprising 41.5% of application workloads in the public cloud.

Let’s look into what it takes to complete the AWS Certified Developer - Associate certification and become an AWS certified Cloud Developer.

Who this Certificate is For

The AWS Certified Developer - Associate certification is intended for individuals who are app developers developing cloud-native or cloud-integrated solutions and have one or more years of hands-on experience creating apps consuming the AWS infrastructure.


When it comes to certifications, AWS no longer has prerequisites. You can jump into any of the certification exams that you feel comfortable completing without having completed any prior exams. That means you can skip the Cloud Practitioner certification before taking this cert. However, completing it first or preparing for it will give you a better overview of all services offered.

The experts over at AWS suggest that you have at least one year of hands-on experience with AWS. If you haven’t been working with the AWS Cloud environment that long, you can still prepare using the on-demand lectures provided by AWS Learning and hands-on practice.

Skills Measured

The developer associate examination will test your skills in the following domains:

  • Deployment
  • Security
  • Development with AWS Services
  • Refactoring
  • Monitoring and Troubleshooting

For deployment, you will be tested on creating CI/CD pipelines to deploy your code, which includes different processes and patterns that come with creating deployment pipelines. You will also be tested on deploying apps using Elastic Beanstalk, preparing application deployment packages, and deploying serverless applications as well as using AWS CloudFormation. This domain will comprise about 22% of the total questions in the exam.

In the security section, you will be tested on making authenticated calls to AWS services, implementing encryption in S3, and implementing application authentication and authorization. You will encounter an average of 26% of the questions in this domain.

Next, we have development with AWS Services, which has the largest share of questions at an average of 30%. This will include writing code for serverless applications, writing code that consumes AWS services via the APIs and SDKs, translating functional requirements into app design, and applying that design to code.

The refactoring domain will test your skills in migrating and refactoring legacy apps to AWS and optimizing apps to best consume AWS services. It has the lowest question share at 10%.

And finally, we have monitoring and troubleshooting. Here you need to know how to write code that can be monitored in the cloud and how to analyze faults in testing and production using services like X-Ray, CloudWatch, and Cloud Trail. This topic will comprise an average of 12% of the questions on this examination

To prepare for this exam, pay close attention to the following AWS services:

  • AWS Lambda
  • DynamoDB
  • AWS Cognito
  • Elastic Beanstalk
  • Step Functions
  • Amazon Cognito and IAM
  • AWS CLI, SDK and CloudFormation
  • ECS
  • X-Ray
  • CodeCommit, CodeBuild, CodeDeploy, CodePipeline

There are other services that may be covered, but these are among the most common and are must-knows before you try to take the exam.

Pluralsight Courses

Want to get started? There is no time like the present, and Pluralsight has got you covered.

Before you get into the Developer Associate specific resources, I suggest that you first complete the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C01) learning path, which has a list of courses that will prepare you for the Cloud Practitioner examination. Even if you don’t plan to take this certification, it will give you a great overview of AWS infrastructure before you get into more advanced content.

Next, I highly recommend that you complete the AWS Certified Developer – Associate (DVA-C01) learning path. This path contains carefully selected video courses put together to help you successfully complete the AWS Certified Developer – Associate certification.

Furthermore, if you want to learn about individual services that are highly relevant in becoming an AWS Certified Developer - Associate you can find them in the Pluralsight content library:

Other Resources

You can expand your technical understanding of AWS Services with whitepapers written by the AWS team, independent analysts, and AWS partners. They will help you understand how to build optimized, resilient cloud-based solutions.

For AWS Certified Developer - Associate certification preparation, go through the following whitepapers:

Once you have gone through these resources, I suggest you take the online readiness exam provided by AWS to test your skills before your exam. The free digital training for AWS Certified Developer - Associate can be found here.

You can also take a practice exam if you feel unsure and want to test it first without having to pay the full price. You can register for a practice exam here.

Job Market

Once you obtain this certification, your potential compensation will greatly depend on years of experience, the country in which you are working, and your employer. But for a cloud developer with a proven track record, including having the AWS Certified Developer - Associate certification, the average yearly salary is $100,000, which will increase with your experience.

With almost all organizations moving to the cloud, AWS certified developers are very much in demand. Having validated your skills by acquiring this certification you increase your chances of gaining employment quickly with competitive compensation packages.


The AWS Certified Developer - Associate certification will prepare you to develop and translate functional requirements into app designs, implement those designs in code, and deploy and monitor your applications in the AWS environment.

Currently, there are three associate-level AWS certifications.

  • Solutions Architect - Associate
  • Developer - Associate
  • SysOps Administrator - Associate

The Developer Associate is considered the most difficult of the three associate certifications because it is primarily based on practical knowledge of how to create, secure, and deploy apps.

If you have already completed one of the other certificates, you should be able to transfer that knowledge to the Developer Associate exam since they have a lot of overlap. If that is the case, I suggest you take the online readiness exam provided AWS to test your skills to see where you are and which services you need to improve. This way, you can spend the time on the resources that matter. The free digital training for AWS Certified Developer - Associate can be found here.

Since AWS no longer requires you to complete previous exams before moving to the next level, you can go ahead and dive right into this exam preparation.

Using the available Pluralsight courses and some hands-on practice for different services, you can be on your way to becoming a certified AWS Developer Associate.