Pass the AWS DevOps Pro Exam

In today’s fast-moving IT environment, no field is hotter than cloud computing, no platform is more relevant than Amazon Web Services (AWS) and no skill set is more in-demand than DevOps Engineering.

As business needs change and evolve more rapidly than ever, Certified AWS DevOps Engineering Professionals facilitate delivery, security, and performance engineering. They do this by using advanced software techniques to manage, deploy, govern and optimize AWS cloud infrastructure. Some background on the basics can be found in a previous post from Michael Sheehy.

AWS DevOps Engineer Professional Certification

AWS Certifications demonstrate to employers the certification holder’s proficiency in cloud computing with an industry-respected stamp of approval. Of the AWS Certifications, the AWS DevOps Engineer Professional certificate is the newest and most uncommon – having one may unlock many opportunities.
What is this certificate? In Amazon’s own words…:

The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional exam validates technical expertise in provisioning, operating, and managing distributed application systems on the AWS platform.

Practically speaking, the exam covers four subject areas:

  1. Continuous Delivery & Process Automation
  2. Monitoring, Metrics, & Logging
  3. Security, Governance & Validation
  4. High Availability & Elasticity

This is a professional level certification and any exam taker must excel in all of these knowledge domains as well as the many other skills that make up each focus area. That’s a lot of material!

AWS DevOps Pro Exam

How to Study for the AWS DevOps Pro Exam

The DevOps Engineering Professional exam (AWS DevOps Pro Exam) requires in-depth knowledge of the core concepts of each AWS service. It also requires practical skills in creation and optimization of systems using these tools. This differs from some of the other certifications, in that it is not sufficient to merely know what tool to use, but one must also understand the best ways of optimally using each tool. This certification also requires a user to fully understand the practical limitations of each tool as well as its capabilities.
For example, instead of being asked which tool to use for automating continuous delivery of complete stacks (Use AWS CloudFormation), you may be asked to design an optimal system for creating a stack and knowing how it is finished completing (Use AWS CloudFormation with SNS Stack Topics in a delivery pipeline).
Because the DevOps Engineering Certification requires so much in-depth knowledge, you should head on over to CloudAcademy’s Labs and try your hand at the relevant subject areas.
Since we also need to build our working knowledge of the concepts used to design distributed systems and automation on AWS, Video Lectures will be critical to all of our success. Make sure to pay close attention to the “why” when learning. After finishing a course, come back after some time and re-watch. The second time viewing, try to see if you can predict what the lecturer will say next.  For knowledge-based portions of lectures, this is an excellent way to memorize important concepts. Use the practical work-along sections of videos for testing your knowledge of system design.
Finally, since all of the questions require scenario-based intuition and design expertise, make sure you take lots of practice quizzes before sitting for your AWS DevOps Pro Exam.  You need about 70% accuracy to pass the exam. The key here, beyond accuracy, is pace.  The exam is nearly three hours long, and you must quickly so solve questions and move on to the next challenge. When taking quizzes on CloudAcademy, you should be able to answer knowledge questions in 20 seconds or less, and scenario-based questions in 150 seconds or less. If you can do that, you are fast enough for the real exam.

The AWS DevOps Engineering Pro Guide

While AWS provides an Official Exam Blueprint, this PDF covers only the very high-level subject areas. I have compiled a more comprehensive list of topics, grouped in a way that should help you find study resources. I took the certification exam in October of 2015. I was the 645th person to pass the exam, and the 71st person to pass all 5 exams offered.
Each heading covers a major focus area for the exam. These major headings may each take several weeks of solid study for a beginner. Each sub-heading covers one logical skill set, and should take a student about one week to learn. The bullets are question types you will encounter, and will take about one day of reading the AWS Developer Guides for the relevant subject.

Automation on AWS

  • Automation Basics
    • Continuous Integration
    • Continuous Deployment
    • Source Control Best Practices
  • Delivery Automation Tools on AWS
    • AWS Elastic Beanstalk
    • AWS CodeDeploy
    • AWS ECS and Docker on AWS
    • Intro to AWS OpsWorks
    • Advanced AWS Opsworks
    • AWS CodePipeline
    • AWS CodeCommit
  • AWS CloudFormation: Automating Infrastructure
    • Intro AWS CloudFormation Template
    • A VPC-Based Project in CloudFormation
    • Using CloudFormation To Deploy Builds
    • Continuous Deployment of Infrastructure
    • Advanced CloudFormation: Nested Stacks
    • Advanced CloudFormation: Custom Resources
  • Deployment Techniques and Strategies
    • Rolling & Canary Deployments
    • Blue-Green Deployments
    • Full-Stack testing
    • Bootstrapping
    • Immutable Infrastructures

Monitoring, Metrics, and Logging

  • Monitoring Tools
    • CloudWatch Metrics
    • Health Checks (Route53 + ELB + EC2)
    • CloudWatch Alerts
  • Logging Tools
    • CloudWatch Logs
    • Using Log Streams
    • Log Aggregation and Traceability
    • Real-Time Log Analysis

Data Security on AWS

  • Data Lifecycles
    • At Rest
    • In Transit
    • During Disposal
  • Data Encryption on AWS
    • Encryption Keys: KMS, HSM, X.509, IKE
    • Encryption In Transit: HTTPS, SSL and Client-Side
    • Encryption At Rest: AWS EC2
    • Encryption At Rest: AWS S3

Access Control on AWS

  • Controlling Access to AWS: IAM
    • IAM Policies: Language of Permissions
    • IAM Users & Groups: Manage Your Team
    • IAM Roles: Granting Access to Services
    • IAM Roles: Managing Multiple Accounts
  • Security Auditing AWS
    • AWS Trusted Advisor
    • AWS Config
    • AWS CloudTrail
    • AWS Inspector

Network Security on AWS

  • AWS VPC
    • Intro to AWS VPC
    • AWS VPC Subnetting
    • AWS VPC and the Internet: NATs, IGWs, Routes
    • Secure a VPC: Security Groups vs Network ACLs
    • Private S3 Traffic: AWS VPC Endpoints
    • Access Other VPCs: AWS VPC Peering
    • AWS VPC: Sample Networks (A peered network, private S3, Ruby on Rails implementation)
  • Multi-Site Networks on AWS
    • AWS Direct Connect
    • VPNs and IPsec
    • Multi-Region Connectivity

Managing AWS

  • Metering and Budgeting
    • Metering and Billing Basics
    • Multi-Account and Consolidating Billing
    • AWS DevPay
    • Monitoring Spending
  • IT Governance
    • Tools for Monitoring Compliance
    • AWS Service Directory
    • Compliance Reporting
    • AWS Directory Service

High Availability and Elasticity

  • Basic Concepts
    • Measuring Availability
    • Measuring Recoverability
    • Measuring Performance
    • Availablity Zones and Regions
  • Availability on AWS
    • Self-Healing Architecture
    • Recovery Through Infrastructure Automation
    • Mitigating Risk
    • Failover Strategies
  • Scaling on AWS
    • Vertical vs Horizontal Scaling
    • Offload Effort to AWS
    • Scaling network, asset delivery, and front-ends
    • Scaling compute and middle-tiers
    • Scaling databases and storage

To Wrap It Up

Passing the Certified AWS DevOps Pro Exam opens up many doors for intrepid engineers. With careful study of the materials the exam covers, plenty of practice in real-world scenarios, and rigorous training with example questions, you too can obtain this prestigious certification. Cloud Academy offers a standard 7-day free trial so check it out. I encourage you to leverage all the learning tools CloudAcademy has to offer, conquer the exam, and come back and tell us about it! Search for DevOps and see what is new.

Written by

Nothing gets me more excited than the AWS Cloud platform! Teaching cloud skills has become a passion of mine. I have been a software and AWS cloud consultant for several years. I hold all 5 possible AWS Certifications: Developer Associate, SysOps Administrator Associate, Solutions Architect Associate, Solutions Architect Professional, and DevOps Engineer Professional. I live in Austin, Texas, USA, and work as development lead at my consulting firm, Tuple Labs.

Related Posts

— November 28, 2018

Two New EC2 Instance Types Announced at AWS re:Invent 2018 – Monday Night Live

Let’s look at what benefits these two new EC2 instance types offer and how these two new instances could be of benefit to you. Both of the new instance types are built on the AWS Nitro System. The AWS Nitro System improves the performance of processing in virtualized environments by...

Read more
  • AWS
  • EC2
  • re:Invent 2018
— November 21, 2018

Google Cloud Certification: Preparation and Prerequisites

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has evolved from being a niche player to a serious competitor to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In 2018, research firm Gartner placed Google in the Leaders quadrant in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for the first time. In t...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
Khash Nakhostin
— November 13, 2018

Understanding AWS VPC Egress Filtering Methods

Security in AWS is governed by a shared responsibility model where both vendor and subscriber have various operational responsibilities. AWS assumes responsibility for the underlying infrastructure, hardware, virtualization layer, facilities, and staff while the subscriber organization ...

Read more
  • Aviatrix
  • AWS
  • VPC
— November 10, 2018

S3 FTP: Build a Reliable and Inexpensive FTP Server Using Amazon’s S3

Is it possible to create an S3 FTP file backup/transfer solution, minimizing associated file storage and capacity planning administration headache?FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a fast and convenient way to transfer large files over the Internet. You might, at some point, have conf...

Read more
  • Amazon S3
  • AWS
— October 18, 2018

Microservices Architecture: Advantages and Drawbacks

Microservices are a way of breaking large software projects into loosely coupled modules, which communicate with each other through simple Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).Microservices have become increasingly popular over the past few years. The modular architectural style,...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Microservices
— October 2, 2018

What Are Best Practices for Tagging AWS Resources?

There are many use cases for tags, but what are the best practices for tagging AWS resources? In order for your organization to effectively manage resources (and your monthly AWS bill), you need to implement and adopt a thoughtful tagging strategy that makes sense for your business. The...

Read more
  • AWS
  • cost optimization
— September 26, 2018

How to Optimize Amazon S3 Performance

Amazon S3 is the most common storage options for many organizations, being object storage it is used for a wide variety of data types, from the smallest objects to huge datasets. All in all, Amazon S3 is a great service to store a wide scope of data types in a highly available and resil...

Read more
  • Amazon S3
  • AWS
— September 18, 2018

How to Optimize Cloud Costs with Spot Instances: New on Cloud Academy

One of the main promises of cloud computing is access to nearly endless capacity. However, it doesn’t come cheap. With the introduction of Spot Instances for Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2) in 2009, spot instances have been a way for major cloud providers to sell sp...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
— August 23, 2018

What are the Benefits of Machine Learning in the Cloud?

A Comparison of Machine Learning Services on AWS, Azure, and Google CloudArtificial intelligence and machine learning are steadily making their way into enterprise applications in areas such as customer support, fraud detection, and business intelligence. There is every reason to beli...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • Machine Learning
— August 17, 2018

How to Use AWS CLI

The AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) is for managing your AWS services from a terminal session on your own client, allowing you to control and configure multiple AWS services.So you’ve been using AWS for awhile and finally feel comfortable clicking your way through all the services....

Read more
  • AWS
Albert Qian
— August 9, 2018

AWS Summit Chicago: New AWS Features Announced

Thousands of cloud practitioners descended on Chicago’s McCormick Place West last week to hear the latest updates around Amazon Web Services (AWS). While a typical hot and humid summer made its presence known outside, attendees inside basked in the comfort of air conditioning to hone th...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Summits
— August 8, 2018

From Monolith to Serverless – The Evolving Cloudscape of Compute

Containers can help fragment monoliths into logical, easier to use workloads. The AWS Summit New York was held on July 17 and Cloud Academy sponsored my trip to the event. As someone who covers enterprise cloud technologies and services, the recent Amazon Web Services event was an insig...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Summits
  • Containers
  • DevOps
  • serverless