Certifications / Cloud

Is the AWS Developer – Associate Worth It?

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Published on March 3, 2021

AWS certifications have become very popular with organizations that value the agility and cost effectiveness of using AWS cloud services and infrastructure. The AWS Certified Developer – Associate  was designed for dev-centric candidates that have Amazon AWS career paths. If this cert is on your radar then you should have at least a year's worth of practical experience in a dev role where you maintain and develop an AWS-hosted app.

AWS Certified Developer – Associate validates some key competencies for AWS developers. It will allow you to show that you understand how the core AWS services work, where and why you would use each one, as well as the best practices that AWS requires. The cert will also help you to show that you can develop and deploy apps on AWS as well as debug AWS cloud hosted apps. Once you have successfully completed the certification then you will no doubt find that your newly acquired qualification will have recruiters knocking on your door.

What is the AWS Developer – Associate?

AWS Developer – Associate is a certification aimed at those who are already familiar with programming and development. You will need to be proficient in at least one high-level programming language. Studying for the certification exam should shape your development skills so that they are aligned with the best practices of AWS. To this end, you will learn about AWS services — how to use them and core architectural considerations.

At the end of your exam, you should have proven that you know how to develop applications on the AWS platform. As such, AWS recommends that you get as much hands-on experience as you can prior to the exam so be sure to practice what you learn as much as possible.

What Does the AWS Developer – Associate Test?

For a full list of exam objectives, refer to the AWS Developer – Associate official exam guide. Below are excerpts of the exam objective domains:

  • Deployment

  • Security

  • Development with AWS Services

  • Refactoring

  • Monitoring and Troubleshooting

The exam itself is a standard multiple-choice format with multiple answer selection — and is delivered via a testing center or an online proctored format. You will have 130 minutes to complete the exam and it costs $150 USD. The languages that the exam is currently available in are English, Japanese, Korean and Simplified Chinese.

What Experience Do You Need for the AWS Developer – Associate?

According to AWS, you will need to have one or more years of practical dev experience where you are responsible for developing and maintaining an AWS hosted app. You should also be more than competent in at least one high-level programming language.  You need working knowledge of core AWS services. This includes how they are used as well as what the fundamental AWS architecture best practices are.

You should have skills in developing and deploying apps as well as also debugging them in a cloud-based AWS environment.  You must have the ability to implement AWS service APIs. You should also know how to use the AWS CLI, as well as the AWS SDKs that are necessary to write AWS apps. There are more requirements which can be found right here under Recommended Knowledge and Experience.

Who Should Take the AWS Developer – Associate Exam?

Here are some examples of roles that require the AWS Developer – Associate certification and the pay they can command.

AWS Developer – Associate for Junior AWS Developers

Associate AWS Developer roles are primarily aimed at more junior devs who are getting started. Most roles at this level will require a computer science degree but that isn't necessarily a given. You will need to have the relevant experience and AWS knowledge and training in order to competently perform the duties that this role requires. Dev roles vary from company to company, but you can expect to be responsible for completing tasks within sprints, storyboard completion, and interacting with project managers and other stakeholders.

All of these different functions relate back to the actual programming side of the job. Understanding what needs to be done is just as important as knowing how to do it. Salaries in this role vary widely depending on skills and experience, as you will see. ZipRecruiter shows that as an Associate AWS Developer, you can expect salaries as low as $24,500 per year, and as high as $129,000 per year.

AWS Developer – Associate for Senior AWS Developers

Senior AWS Developers are expected to do more than just code. They need to give valuable input when design considerations like security, scalability and deployment are being discussed. This means that you need to know a lot about the inner workings of the AWS platform and how it would host your applications. Design, development, and implementation are skills that should be in your wheelhouse. Many of the job functions between the Associate-level and the Senior-level will overlap, but there is a lot more decision making in the latter.  Salary.com shows that senior software devs earn between $126,031 and $160,660.

Is the AWS Developer – Associate Worth It?

AWS-certified developers are in high demand globally, so the short answer is a resounding yes! The developer – associate certification is a great way to separate yourself from the rest of the pack when being considered by a potential employer. AWS powers some of the biggest commercial entities in the world like Coca-Cola, Netflix and CapitalOne.

If you are already developing web and cloud-based applications, then AWS Developer – Associate is a great way to learn how AWS works and how you can align your applications with it. If you are new to development, then studying for this cert is an excellent way to learn AWS best practices that will complement your development skills.. The best practices and security consideration alone are worth the effort of learning this cert. If you haven't already decided whether the AWS Developer – Associate is worth it for you, then hopefully this information has helped nudge you in the right direction. Start learning with CBT Nuggets today!


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