2023 has been a busy year for our team and for AWS certifications! So far this year, we’ve already released learning paths for the updated AWS Certified Developer – Associate (DVA-C02), AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional (DOP-C02), AWS Certified Security – Specialty (SCS-C02), and AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C02) exams! And fresh off the release of the newly updated CLF-C02 exam last week, AWS has just announced a brand new Associate-level certification: the AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate (DEA-C01).
The AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate (DEA-C01) exam will join the Solutions Architect, Developer, and SysOps Administrator Associate exams as the fourth Associate-level certification from AWS, the 13th AWS certification overall, and the first brand new certification from AWS since the AWS Certified: SAP on AWS – Specialty (PAS-C01) exam was released back in 2022.
According to AWS:
The AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate (DEA-C01) exam validates skills and knowledge in core data-related AWS services, and emphasizes the ability to implement data pipelines, monitor and troubleshoot issues, and optimize cost and performance in accordance with best practices.
Back in March, AWS began to solicit feedback by surveying individuals with at least 2 years of experience working in data engineering or a similar role, the first signal of their intent to potentially develop a new certification geared towards data engineers. To that end, AWS cites a recent Dice tech jobs report that shows demand for data engineers increasing by 42% in just a single year! This exam fills an important gap when assessing the knowledge and expertise of a data engineer that isn’t well-covered by any of the other current AWS exams.
In this blog post, I’m going to answer some questions you might have about this brand-new exam, including:
- Who should take the new DEA-C01 exam?
- When will the new DEA-C01 exam be available?
- Should I take the beta version of the new DEA-C01 exam or wait for the standard version of the exam instead?
- What is the format of the new DEA-C01 exam?
- What information will be covered on the new DEA-C01 exam?
- Where can I learn the new materials for the new DEA-C01 exam?
- Where can I find more information on the new DEA-C01 exam?
Who should take the new DEA-C01 exam?
According to the new DEA-C01 exam guide, the new AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate (DEA-C01) exam is geared towards individuals with 2-3 years of experience in data engineering and at least 1-2 years of hands-on experience working with AWS services. The exam guide also states that candidates for this certification should understand “the effects of volume, variety, and velocity on data ingestion, transformation, modeling, security, governance, privacy, schema design, and optimal data store design” and promises to validate a candidate’s ability to perform the following tasks:
- Ingest and transform data, and orchestrate data pipelines while applying programming concepts.
- Choose an optimal data store, design data models, catalog data schemas, and manage data lifecycles.
- Operationalize, maintain, and monitor data pipelines.
- Analyze data and ensure data quality.
- Implement appropriate authentication, authorization, data encryption, privacy, and governance.
Passing this exam will require experience and expertise as an IT on-premises or cloud data engineer who works with extract, transform, and load (ETL) pipelines, uses data lakes for data storage, and understands how to analyze data and ensure data quality and consistency.
That being said, there are no formal prerequisites for this–or any other–AWS certification exam, so anyone can register and sit for this exam.
When will the new DEA-C01 exam be available?
A beta version of the new AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate (DEA-C01) exam will be available to take between November 27, 2023, and January 12, 2024, at a cost of $75 USD–a 50% discount over the standard exam! Registration for this beta version of the exam opens on October 31, 2023. After the beta period ends in January, registration will open for the standard version of the exam in March 2024. The final, post-beta version of the DEA-C01 exam will be available to sit beginning in April 2024.
Should I take the beta version of the new DEA-C01 exam or wait for the standard version of the exam instead?
The new AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate (DEA-C01) exam is the first AWS certification exam to feature a beta since the AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty and AWS Certified: SAP on AWS – Specialty exams also had betas back in 2022. AWS will occasionally use beta exams before officially releasing final versions of a new or updated certification exam as a way to test and evaluate exam questions before they are featured in a live exam.
There are some important differences between beta and standard exams that may influence your decision to take one version of the exam over the other, which I will discuss here.
As I mentioned earlier, the beta version of the new AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate (DEA-C01) exam will be available at a 50% discount over the standard exam ($75 USD instead of $150 USD). If you are an experienced AWS Data Engineer and you’re ready to sit this exam between November and January, this discount offers you the opportunity to be among the first to earn this certification while also saving some money in the process.
The beta version of the new AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate (DEA-C01) exam will feature a total of 85 multiple-choice or multiple-response questions. This is higher than the 65 questions typically featured on AWS Associate-level certification exams, and even higher than the 75 questions typically found on Professional or Specialty-level exams. AWS beta exams contain these additional questions to help AWS ascertain if there are any questions within their question bank that are unclear (if everyone gets the same questions wrong, it’s likely those questions will be edited or removed altogether). Asking a larger number of questions on the beta exam allows AWS to better refine its question bank selection for when the post-beta exam goes GA next April.
While you will have 170 minutes to complete this beta exam (compared with 130 minutes to answer 65 questions on a typical Associate exam), it is common for “exam fatigue” to set in after about 50 questions.
Furthermore, while you would typically receive the pass/fail results of your AWS certification exam within a few days of taking the exam, you won’t receive your official exam results for this beta exam until 90 days after the beta period closes in January. This means you could sit the beta exam in November 2023 and not know whether you passed or failed until April 2024, nearly five months later.
If the beta is successful and you end up passing the beta version of this exam, you will be awarded the new AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate certification and be among the first worldwide to hold it, giving you not only bragging rights but also a huge boost to your career profile. Like all other AWS certifications, this certification will be valid for three years, just as if you passed the post-beta version of the exam.
What is the format of the new DEA-C01 exam?
Like the other three Associate-level AWS certifications, the new AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate (DEA-C01) exam will consist entirely of multiple choice and multiple response questions. There will not be any hands-on labs as part of this exam.
The beta version of the new DEA-C01 exam will contain 85 questions, while the final version of the exam will contain 65. Most questions will have 4 possible answer options where you must select one correct answer, while others may have 5 or 6 answer options from which you must select two or three correct answers. Of the 65 questions in the post-beta version of the exam, only 50 questions will count towards your score. The other 15 questions are used by AWS for evaluation purposes and do not affect your score in any way. There is no way to tell which questions are scored or unscored but there is no penalty for guessing, so always be sure to answer every question, even if it’s just an educated guess!
The exam has a pass-fail designation and is scored on a scale of 100-1,000, with a minimum score of 720 required to pass, just like the other Associate-level exams.
What information will be covered on the new DEA-C01 exam?
The new DEA-C01 exam guide references four domains, which are shown in the table below.
Let’s briefly discuss what’s covered within each of these four domains in a little more detail.
DEA-C01 Domain 1: Data Ingestion and Transformation (34%)
This domain accounts for over one-third of the overall exam content and focuses on ingesting, transforming, and processing data, as well as orchestrating ETL pipelines for your data. This includes knowing how to read data from AWS services that stream data such as Kinesis, Redshift, and DynamoDB streams, then transforming it based on your requirements using services like Lambda, EventBridge, and AWS Glue workflows. You’ll also need to understand some basic programming concepts such as infrastructure as code, SQL query optimization, and continuous integration and continuous delivery, or CI/CD, when testing and deploying your data pipelines.
DEA-C01 Domain 2: Data Store Management (26%)
In this domain, you’ll need to know how to store and catalog your data. This involves everything from modeling your data to defining schemas for your data, which could be structured, unstructured, or semi-structured. You should have a thorough understanding of all AWS storage platforms and know how to determine the best data store for your needs based on availability and throughput requirements. You’ll also need to manage the lifecycle of your data in a way that is cost-efficient, secure, and resilient to failure.
DEA-C01 Domain 3: Data Operations and Support (22%)
This domain will assess your ability to use AWS services to analyze your data, ensuring data quality as you automate the processing of your data. This includes configuring appropriate monitoring and logging of your data pipelines and using services like CloudTrail and CloudWatch to assist in troubleshooting any issues that may arise. You should also be familiar with AWS Glue DataBrew and understand how it can be used for everything from preparing data to be transformed to defining data quality rules, verifying, and cleaning data.
DEA-C01 Domain 4: Data Security and Governance (18%)
This final domain is all about data privacy, authorization, and compliance. You should understand the role of security within an AWS architecture and understand how to implement security in both your VPC network infrastructure as well as your users with AWS Identity and Access Management. This includes knowing the principle of least privilege and how to apply role-based, attribute-based, and policy-based security when appropriate. You’ll also need to understand encryption and how to leverage the AWS Key Management Service to encrypt and decrypt your data.
Where can I learn the new materials for the new DEA-C01 exam?
As soon as the new AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate exam was announced, our team here at Cloud Academy began to assess the content in our library to help us create a brand new learning path that ensures we fully cover all aspects of the new DEA-C01 exam guide.
Over the coming months, our team will be sitting the beta version of this exam and leveraging our collective knowledge and experience to build new and updated courses, hands-on labs, and assessments covering all of the topics that are emphasized in the new DEA-C01 exam. We will also monitor any updates or changes announced to the DEA-C01 exam from AWS after the beta period for the exam ends in January and before the final version of the exam is released in April 2024 to ensure our content is thorough and comprehensive, giving you the peace of mind you need to know you’ll be ready to pass this brand new exam!
Where can I find more information on the new DEA-C01 exam?
To find out the latest information about this exam, as well as to learn more about updates to other AWS certification exams, you can visit the Coming Soon to AWS Certification page. From there, you can review the exam guide for the new DEA-C01 exam.
For training preparation on all 12 (now soon to be 13!) AWS certifications, I encourage you to browse our entire library of AWS certification content.
Best of luck with your studying and exam preparation! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me or our team of knowledgeable reps.
We’re happy to help.