Studying and passing the AWS DevOps Engineer Pro exam

If the exam had been called, "AWS Solutions Architect - DevOps Professional", I feel that would have been closer to what's in the exam. The 80 questions were all mini-scenarios requiring a "solution". In the exam blueprint, one of the bullet-points in "General IT Knowledge" was

Multi-tier architectures: load balancers, caching, web servers, application servers, databases, and networking

and these formed the basis of most scenarios, so ensure that you are comfortable with multi-tier architectures, particularly load balancers, database back-ends, what can be cached.

The exam itself #

I'd taken all three AWS associate exams at the same test centre, and knew that the computers were typically set to a high resolution, on large monitors, which meant that the questions and answers huddled at the very top of the screen. I knew to expect there to be a great deal of reading in the DevOps Pro exam, so I asked whether it would be possible to have a "retro" resolution of something like 1360x768, and they were very helpful and adjusted it. The scenarios are long (often two or three paragraphs) but even with up to 7 answers to choose from, the text still fitted onto the screen and I didn't need to scroll. It's a lot of reading, so be kind to your eyes!

Video-based learning #

I found myself being very grateful that I'd watched (DVO401) Deep Dive into Blue/Green Deployments on AWS from re:Invent 2015. This gave a very useful framework throughout the exam to think what kind of deployment was best suited to each scenario.

Study guide #

Rohini Gaonkar's article (and extensive list of links) was very helpful.

Books #

The books listed here are all good background reading in the wider DevOps context.

Summary #

The AWS DevOps Engineer Pro exam is a hard exam, and the best preparation is lots of hands-on practice with the AWS tools and services, industry experience, and understanding how software is developed, and how it can be quickly deployed, re-deployed, scaled, and rolled back. The resources listed above will help you, but there are probably no short-cuts. Good luck!

Notes #

This article was first published on LinkedIn

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