AWS Professional DevOps Engineer Certification Tips

Update: I have now produced a DevOps Engineer Pro study course with Adrian Cantrill for acloudguru. You can find it here: https://acloud.guru/learn/aws-certified-devops-engineer-professional

Today I sat and passed my 5th and final AWS Certification, the DevOps Engineer: Professional exam.

Firstly I need to thank my wife Kim for taking care of our newborn son Alexander while I spent a lot of the past 6 months studying, missing out on doing things on weekends just to be able to study with the goal of furthering my skills and career. She's been incredibly patient and always super supportive.

I need to thank Bulletproof - my awesome employer who not only push us to further our skills, but actively support developing a career, giving us time off to study and just being awesome. In one year I've gone from knowing nothing about AWS to holding every certification and have gained the skills to be able to move from a Support role into a Cloud Solutions Engineer role.

And finally, a huge thanks to Adrian Cantrill who was my study partner for this exam and helped out so much I honestly don't think I would have passed without his help.

So, on to it. This exam was the big one, and one I feared even more than the Professional Solution Architect exam.

The structure was the same, 80 questions in 170 minutes. Each question was scenario based, ranging from one sentence to 2-3 paragraph situations which you need to provide the best solution according to the requirements provided.

Requirements can be the most "cost effective" solution, the most "highly available" solution, and methodologies for performing tasks zero downtime. Being able to interpret the question is almost as important as knowing the right answer.

In my previous blog post on the Professional Solution Architect exam I listed all the services you need to know for that exam. The DevOps exam has a lot less of a "broad" amount of services to know, but the ones you do need to know, you need to know them at a very deep level.

My suggested study list is as follows.

Core topics, that cover the majority of the exam (read the entire developer guides for all of these, it's worth it):

AutoScaling
CloudFormation
CloudTrail
CloudWatch
Elastic Beanstalk
OpsWorks

Services mentioned in one or more questions (like the SA Pro exam, be familiar with them and what they do, read the FAQ at a minimum):

CloudFront
CloudWatch and CloudWatch Log
Data Pipeline
EC2
EMR
Elasticsearch
Glacier
IAM
Kinesis
RedShift
Route53
S3
SES
SNS
SQS
SWF
VPC

Also have a look at Adrian's blog where he goes a bit more into the "things" you need to know. I won't cover them again but they are an excellent guide that I used for my last minute cramming and I'm certain they are what got me through it.

One final mention to Ryan Kroonenburg and the guys at cloudguru who created the 3 excellent courses I used to pass the 3 associate exams. If you're new to the certification path, I highly recommend you pick up their courses. They will give you every bit of knowledge required to pass, and they're working on a lot of other new courses coming soon (including Professional Level certification courses!)

I'll follow up this post with another one about the approach I use to sitting each exam, how I tackle the questions and how I found the entire AWS certification process, so keep a look out for that!

Cheers,
Nick