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The new AWS Developer Associate (DVA-C02) exam: What you should know

The new version of the AWS Developer Associate exam (DVA-C02) has been released. Read to learn what to expect, and what’s changed from DVA-C01.

Jun 08, 2023 • 7 Minute Read

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  • Learning & Development
  • AWS

On February 28, AWS released a new version of the AWS Certified Developer Associate exam (DVA-C02), and the previous version of the exam (DVA-C01) is no longer available. If you are currently preparing for the exam, you are probably wondering what has changed.

To answer that question for you, we recently took the exam. Below is a breakdown of everything you need to know in order to be successful when taking the DVA-C02.

How different is DVA-C02 from DVA-C01?

The new exam is not massively different from the previous one: the DVA-C01 and DVA-C02 have more similarities than differences. This is great news because if you have already started preparing using a course for DVA-C01 then most of the content is still going to be relevant.

This means if you’re studying A Cloud Guru’s AWS Certified Developer - Associate (DVA-C01) prep course, you’ve already got a strong foundation for taking — and passing! — the DVA-C02 exam. You can also rest assured we are already working on updates to bring this course in line with the new exam. 

Another bit of good news is the difficulty level and format of the exam remains the same:

  • The exam will consist of 65 multiple choice and multiple answer (response) questions
  • The exam is 130 minutes long and scored on a scale of 100 – 1000, with a passing score being 720 or above
  • 15 unscored questions are included. These are questions that are being evaluated by AWS, before inclusion in the exam as scored questions. Unscored questions do not count towards your exam score.
  • In terms of cost, the exam still costs $150 USD and can be taken either at a facility or remotely
  • After completing the exam, you can expect to receive your result within 24 hours by signing in to your AWS Certification Account

There are no prerequisites for taking the exam. That said, AWS recommends that you have one or more years of hands-on experience in developing applications using AWS services. If you don’t, I highly recommend you have a basic understanding of the concepts covered on the Certified Solutions Architect Associate - Associate Exam. 

What courses can help me prepare for the DVA-C02?

Again, the AWS Certified Developer - Associate DVA-C01 course is currently being updated to reflect the changes and additions to the exam. If you take these courses as they are at the writing of this article (or if you have already taken them), you will already be 90% of the way there! 

Below are some insights and resources to help you to prepare for that additional 10%, so that you can ace the exam.

What exactly has changed for DVA-C02?

Let’s take a look at how the domains have changed in the new exam: 

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  • The “Refactoring” domain has been removed 
  • The weights of the domains have altered slightly:
    • “Development with AWS Services” has increased from 30% to 32% in weight
    • “Security” has remained the same at 26% in weight
    • “Deployment” has increased from 22% to 24% in weight
    • “Monitoring and Troubleshooting” has been renamed to “Troubleshooting and Optimization”, and increased from 12% to 18% in weight

In terms of new services covered, at the time of writing (March 2023) there have not been many major additions yet. However, this is likely to change as this version of the exam evolves over time and new questions are added to the pool. 

The list of services that could appear in the exam can be reviewed in the latest official DVA-C02 exam guide. However, based on our experience taking the exam, not all of the services that are listed as “might be covered” actually made an appearance in the exam. We expect that over time, AWS will develop additional questions to test on all the services that are listed in the guide. 

For now, let’s consider the following major categories of changes that you can expect to see in the exam in its current state. 

Monitoring tools for troubleshooting and optimization

The largest shift in weighting is the “Troubleshooting and Optimization” domain, which went from 12% of the total exam weight to 18%. This domain was also renamed to remove the emphasis on monitoring. However, do not let that fool you — monitoring is still a significant part of the exam!

Services like CloudWatch, CloudWatch Logs, CloudWatch Logs Insights, and X-Ray are all definitely worth knowing about, but rather than approaching them from a support and monitoring perspective, think about how these tools can be used by a developer to help troubleshoot an application that is not behaving as expected. For instance, how to use API Gateway CloudWatch metrics to troubleshoot an issue with your application, or how to access CloudWatch logs for AWS Lambda

It’s also important to understand generally what changes can be made to optimize applications running in AWS. 

Serverless deployment best practices

In this new revision of the exam, there was a slightly greater emphasis on serverless best practices in general. It’s worth making sure you understand the AWS recommended ways of configuring their services, in particular: 

Common serverless architecture patterns

It is worth becoming familiar with as many event-driven, serverless architectures as possible, and really gaining an in-depth understanding of how different AWS services can be integrated together to build a complete system. While researching updates for the course, the following resources are particularly helpful: 

Deployment in general

A few additional topics have appeared in relation to general deployment in AWS. For instance, you’ll need to be familiar with the use of EC2 Image Builder to create custom AMIs. You’ll also need to understand AMI Encryption, as well as how to copy an AMI to a different region. 

Other technologies that made a brief appearance in the exam include RDS and RDS Proxy, so it’s worth having a general understanding of the capabilities of each of these services. 

Development with AWS Services

When it comes to developing in AWS and building a CI/CD pipeline, it is important to understand which CloudWatch events can be used to Monitor CodeCommit events in order to use EventBridge to trigger your pipeline when code is updated. It’s also worth understanding how to Add a CodeBuild test action to a pipeline using CodePipeline.  


When it comes to security, consider the ways in which AWS services can help you deal with PII (Personally Identifiable Information). For instance, the use of services like Macie that helps you identify PII so that you can protect it accordingly. The exam guide specifically mentions the requirement to understand how to manage sensitive data. We recommend checking out this blog post on using Lambda to redact PII so that sensitive data is not returned in an S3 GET request: Protect PII using Amazon S3 Object Lambda.

The exam guide also mentions the need to understand Secrets management. We have a great blog post that covers exactly that topic, you can read all about it here: An Inside Look at AWS Secrets Manager vs AWS Parameter Store

We look forward to adding new lessons covering all these topics during Q2 2023, as well as general updates related to recent console changes. 

Free exam retakes available!

For a limited time, Pearson Vue is running a promotion allowing you to retake any AWS certification exam for free if you fail, which is a pretty good safety net.

To qualify, you will need to schedule and take the exam between March 15, 2023 and May 31, 2023, then apply a promo code before paying for the exam. Hopefully you won’t need to retake, but if you do, schedule the retake before August 1, 2023 and get it for free!

For more details and to get your promo code, click here


We hope you found this article helpful, and wish you good luck on the next steps in your learning and certification journey! Until next time, keep being awesome!