A Polyglot Programmer’s Notebook

AWS Certified Developer - Associate

I’m pleased to share that as of Monday, May 7, 2018 I became an AWS Certified Developer - Associate. This is part of the DevOps and Cloud-specific training that I’m taking to round out my twenty years of software development experience.

Why do so much training at this point in my career? Well, the point is to begin to offer Cloud Development and DevOps services to Charlotte area businesses.

In terms of preparation, I relied on – and very much enjoyed – Ryan Kroonenbug’s excellent course on Some tips I might add:

  • I for one have always been a hands-on learner, so naturally I worked through the labs and did a little independent hacking as well while taking the course. The course teaches the exam pretty well, so if you want to approach it with a mercenary “just-tell-me-what-I-need-to-pass” attitude, of course you could try that. Better you than me, though. I like to enjoy the trip. Indeed, this static website is one of the “side-hacks” I put together while taking the course!
  • Definitely start using the Exam Simulator while taking the course. I waited until the end, and although I had plenty of practice time before the exam, I found that the Exam Simulator and the course covered somewhat different material.
  • Read the relevant AWS FAQs and do the other studying that the course suggests.
  • Before taking the exam, check out the discussion forums to see what additional tips the members have. I did that, for example, and learned about optimizing S3 performance by using random prefixes in key names – a topic which didn’t come up in the course or the exam simulator, but which came up in two exam questions on the version of the exam that I took.

Next steps

In terms of what’s next following this certification, I’m both taking on the professional level certification and specializing in some DevOps-releated areas. Naturally, I’ve started studying for the professional level certification (AWS Certified DevOps Engineer), but I’ll probably take this slowly, for a number of reasons.

The course for this level is taught by a different instructor, and so far I’ve been finding this course to be a bit drier than Ryan’s, so I have to work through that.

In addition, the professional exam of course is more challenging, so I want to take more time with it. While working through that, I’ll probably also take the Advanced CloudFormation course concurrently since in addition to being a core professional level topic, that’s where a lot of the “fun stuff” is in my opinion.

Finally, while working on deepening my AWS skills, I’ve also started digging into Chef more. and I’m working through the Chef on Amazon Web Services track of their training. A fun initial hack for this phase of the training would be setting up a an AWS OpsWorks Stack using CloudFormation.

And with that I think I also may have my marching orders for my next article!