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1 year ago

Passed the AWS Developer Associate 2018

One more out of the way. It's only been about an hour, so I've only gotten the confirmation email that I passed, but no scores yet.

Yet, while the impressions are still fresh in my mind, I wanted to give feedback, also as I promised  @fernandomc .

1) While the Dev exam used to have a reputation for being the gimme among the AWS exams, I would emphatically say this is no longer the case with the June 2018 onward exams.
2) You may find that it still helps to have taken the Solution Architect first, as some of the knowledge you needed there will come in handy.
3) Sadly - and I hope LA takes this as constructive feedback - I found that neither the practise exam nor the flashcards sufficiently covered the scope of the "new" questions:

a) I was hammered with Lambda, API Gateway and CloudFormation.
b) Relatively little DynamoDB (and those generally in the context of the previous ones).
c) If I hadn't already been working with all of these on a daily basis and therefore was familiar with the more detailed workings, I would have been in trouble. I *felt* I was in trouble as it was! :D
d) in the stress of a moment there were a couple of times when I thought I had the wrong exam: they were very SysOp-like!  Ouch!
e) when I mean "hammered", we are really talking about the details of end-to-end deployment of entire stacks of Lambda packages with event trigger configuration, back-ends and troubleshooting with CloudWatch. All wrapped into Cloudformation templates (yes, both the exam questions and the possible answers were quite lengthy).
f) a lot of permissions, authentication, encryption questions. Know your IAM roles, know how KMS works, know S3 encryption

4) I'm not sure if this is criticism or praise, but this time around, the actual *course* had everything you need, with few additional info needed from whitepapers or similar. Meaning, maybe watch the videos a few more times than you normally would. Really dive into the labs. The practise exam, at this time, isn't quite sufficient.

So, to summarise:

- don't just watch the course videos once and tick them off once you got the intermediary mini-exams done
- do the labs (yes, of course, you're supposed to) and go *beyond* them. Experiment, set yourself actual projects and deploy them. Treat them as if this was something you'd be doing for work where performance, uptime and security are top.
- at this time, treat the exams as a minimum baseline and hope that newer flashcards cover things like Lambda and API gateway more than they currently do.

Image of arnaud39
1 year ago
congratulations, i think all 3 aws certification "can" be deal as 1. To go deeper : with LA there deep dive (IAM, Cloudformation, Lambda) + fullstack (servelless); all in the aws track. It is not easy but i think it can be helpfull to synthetise sub-directorie in one track. Before going technicall. On the opposit, doing course+exercise+lab require a pencil a paper (see it on the front page of LA) & memorization to agregate all the technical point. This iterativ movment synthetise & after technic, + technic & after synthetise, must be done 2/3 a week. Guess what??? it is absolutely NOT a surprise. With LA it is very clear, professionnal efficient. But think about ccie, think about rhca cloud or devops (puppet PLUS ansible !!!) the same complexity. It is sytem design & system thinking (software system + engeener + complexity) ====>a.r.c.h.i.t.e.c.t solution.  There is no miracle. But again the course with LA are very well done, and efficient.  Final thought : IT always need a long time of preparation before exponential growth, see aws or red hat history stock chart, people who tell you, you can construct a  rocket with a bathtub & 1 elastic in few day are liar &/or french crook. No better way than hard work !!!! 
Image of scoldham
1 year ago
Congratulations, Michael!  You are correct, the labs are a crticial part of preparing for any exam.
Image of thomask
1 year ago
Well done!
Image of craiga
1 year ago
Congrats, Michael! And thanks for the great feedback.
Image of tiaaw
1 year ago
Great job Michael!  Congrats.
Image of trent
1 year ago
Nice work,  Michael!
Image of davidcoy
1 year ago
Congrats, Michael!
Image of kennyarmstrong
1 year ago
Well done, Michael!  Excellent feedback as well!
Image of aschae
1 year ago
Well done, Michael!  And thank you for your feedback!
Image of jlowerynyc
1 year ago
Magnificent, Michael - both your accomplishment and your feedback! Congratulations and thanks!
Image of andru
1 year ago
Congrats, Michael! Thanks for the feedback. It's interesting to read there wasn't a lot of DynamoDB on this version. 
Image of bpalmer
1 year ago
Great feedback on this exam! Congrats on passing!
Image of tthomsen
1 year ago

Nice going Michael!

Image of braun0
1 year ago
Woohoo!  Congrats, Michael!
Image of mspearson
1 year ago
Thanks for the feedback. Congratulations on passing!!
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1 year ago
Way to go and thanks for sharing your feedback!
Image of efrick
1 year ago
Congrats, nice job!
Image of ellmarquez
1 year ago

woohoo! Great job Michael!

Image of abaliem
1 year ago
Great news, Michael! Congratulations!!
Image of pzona
1 year ago
Awesome job Michael!
Image of wboyd
1 year ago
Congrats, Michael!
Image of seang
1 year ago
Major props!
Image of davisengeler
1 year ago
Congrats on your pass, Michael! Thank you for your feedback and tips. 
Image of stephen
1 year ago

That is awesome, congrats  Michael!

Image of headwinded
1 year ago
Image of amy
1 year ago
Nice job and writeup!
Image of christophelimpalair
1 year ago
Thanks for the great feedback, and congratulations on your new cert!
Image of fernandomc
1 year ago
Hello  @marakai ,

First, congrats on passing!

Second, thanks for the detailed feedback on your experience with the exam! Because of your suggestions, I decided to spend today adding additional flashcards related to concepts you felt were covered less completely in our current flashcard deck for the exam. I'd like to be sure that the entire course and course materials prepare folks for the level of detail on the newer version of the exam. I'm also hoping to spend a little bit of time writing a few more questions for the final exam.

Do you mind my asking how many times you took our final practice exam? For these certification courses, we write more questions than actually appear in a single test taking - in other words, we encourage folks to take our practice exam multiple times because it will scramble together different questions from a larger pool of questions.

On DynamoDB specifically - Sounds like you missed out! Those are my favorite questions! And I've heard/seen mixed levels of DynamoDB detail on this exam. We include lots of detail because we've heard there can be many DynamoDB questions - sounds like your exam version might have missed them.

Also, thanks a lot for the video feedback. Glad to hear that the videos were as comprehensive as you hoped!

My best,
Image of johnnawallace
1 year ago
We appreciate the feedback, there is always room for us to improve!
Image of mollisonnorwood
1 year ago
Way to go, Michael! Thanks for sharing what worked for you :) 
Image of mshaw
1 year ago
Congratulations Michael! Excellent job and thank you for the feedback!
Image of klewis
1 year ago
Keep up the good work!
Image of shirleymartin
1 year ago
Congrats and thank you for the very thoughtful feedback.  We appreciate it!
Image of drumpat01
1 year ago
Image of chazzledazzle
1 year ago
Image of javh7117
1 year ago
Image of sophiapaul
1 year ago
Image of marakai
1 year ago
 @fernandomc I was going to check how often I took the exam, but it seems after deleting my course schedule I no longer can! Instead of Cloudassessments I get directed to the beta site and get nothing but a blank screen. Looks like some bug.

From memory: I took the practise exam once a day for 2 weeks. Some times twice, but generally took a breather on weekends, lest I drive myself insane. The very first one, spontaneously taken before I'd even finished the course, I failed. All other attempts were pass, with 2 of those 100% of the others only one lower than 90%. Generally, most were in the 98-99% range: I too often overlook when it's a 2-answer question and unlike the "real thing" LA doesn't a) use a different radio box/tick box (square vs round) and b) doesn't prevent you from proceeding if you only ticked one box.

I received my exam scores and...... oh boy.... 727 points with a 720 pass requirement. Literally one question must have decided pass vs fail! For comparison: my CSA score was 85% and I prepared about the same amount and duration.

So yeah: based on my prep work and comparison with the CSA course and exam, I had reason to believe I was very well prepared. Which is why the actual exam blindsided me; it was quite a disconnect. There were few moments of "oh right, I remember that from the practise exam" or "oooh, there was a flashcard on that". Very few! It was sheer luck, karma or pigheadedness that there were just enough moments of "I've actually done that at work recently" and "I dimly remember that from the course video". Just enough! :)

One other way of looking at it, I suppose, is that AWS do say that you should have at least a year of hands-on experience. This was therefore *very* true here. Having only started with real AWS dev work less than 6 months ago I was lacking the sheer "been there, done that".

Going by that, I think the course would benefit from *more* of the Big Lab exercise, of which currently there is only one. 4 or 5 end-to-end deployment labs with everything and the kitchen sink - with some mean troubleshooting curveballs thrown in. I believe I had seen a "quest" or something like that. I now wish I'd taken that.
Image of permaculture
1 year ago
I got a 60 on the practice exam from AWS.  The practice exam was tough. Mirroring the above post, you really have to use it day to day I think.
Image of mayoung8
1 year ago
Thanks for the feedback. Congrats!
Image of garyttt8
1 year ago
Image of trilliams
1 year ago
Yeah! Way to go, Michael!
Image of ellejaclyn
1 year ago
Congratulations, Michael! Great job!
Image of anthony
1 year ago

Congratulations Michael!

I’d love to endorse/recommend you on LinkedIn if you want. All you have to do is add me as a connection and add Linux Academy as your school. Once you do that, post a picture of your cert about passing in your feed and reference me within the original post. Once I see this, I’ll be able to recommend you for your hard work on your LinkedIn profile.




Image of blanco750
1 year ago
oh , I have exam in a couple od days time and I got scared reading this post:(
Image of robmarti
1 year ago
Image of robertabrc
10 months ago
Unfortunately, I've failed twice. Got some quesitons about Kenisis, Cognito and Swagger, which are not dicussed in detail during the course. The course is great, but felt that is not covering everything we need for the exam. 
Image of bsalmans
10 months ago
Congrats on the pass! Thank you for all the great feedback as well!
Image of craiga
10 months ago
Congrats, Michael! Great feedback!