DVA-C02 Learning Path Introduction


DVA-C02 Introduction
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DVA-C02 Learning Path Introduction

This course introduces the DVA-C02 learning path, which has been designed to help you prepare for and pass the AWS Certified Developer - Associate certification exam. The certification itself is broken down into four distinct domains, which are covered through the learning path:

  1. Development with AWS Services
  2. Security
  3. Deployment
  4. Troubleshooting and Optimization

Hello, and welcome to this learning path that has been designed to help you prepare for and pass the AWS Certified Developer - Associate certification exam.

My name is Danny Jessee, and I am one of the trainers here at Cloud Academy, specializing in AWS–Amazon Web Services–and AWS certifications. Feel free to connect with me to ask any questions using the details shown on the screen. Alternatively, you can always get in touch with us here at Cloud Academy by sending an email to, where one of our cloud experts will reply to your question.

The AWS Certified Developer - Associate certification has been designed for anyone in a developer role who has knowledge and experience using AWS services to develop, test, deploy, and debug applications. AWS recommends that candidates for this exam have at least 1 year of hands-on experience developing and maintaining applications using AWS services. This learning path will provide you with the knowledge you need when preparing to take the latest version of the AWS Certified Developer - Associate certification exam, DVA-C02, which was released in February 2023.

The certification itself is broken down into four distinct domains:

  1. Development with AWS Services,

  2. Security,

  3. Deployment, and

  4. Troubleshooting and Optimization.

Each of these domains carry a specific percentage weighting within the exam. Each domain also contains a series of task statements that call out specific required knowledge and skills. These are outlined in the official AWS exam guide, which is linked in the Course Material section for this course and can be found here. Let’s start by taking a look at each of these domains in more detail to give you a better understanding of the topics that will be covered on the exam.

We’ll begin with Domain 1: Development with AWS Services. This domain accounts for 32%, so nearly a third of all the exam content, and focuses on 3 key areas:

  • Develop code for applications hosted on AWS,

  • Develop code for AWS Lambda, and

  • Use data stores in application development.

This domain is all about developing applications in AWS. Now to be clear, even though two of the three key areas here start with the words “develop code,” you won’t be expected to write any code or answer any questions about programming or programming languages as part of this exam. At most, you might see some pseudocode to describe an algorithm that could be made more efficient or secure. So instead of focusing on source code, you should understand the kinds of design and architectural patterns most commonly used in modern applications, including the need for loosely coupled components along with event-driven and microservice architectures. You should also understand serverless applications, specifically using AWS Lambda, and how to configure, scale, and integrate Lambda functions with other AWS services as well as private resources in a Virtual Private Cloud, or VPC. With respect to Lambda, you should also understand resource allocation, incorporating custom libraries, and how to manage everything from database connection strings to external dependencies. And finally, you’ll need to know the use cases for different kinds of data stores within your applications, including caches and caching strategies, object storage and associated lifecycle management using Amazon S3, and different types of databases, both relational and non-relational. I’d recommend paying particularly close attention to DynamoDB, especially DynamoDB keys and indexing, as well as understanding the differences between query and scan operations.

Next, we have Domain 2: Security. This domain accounts for 26% of the exam content and focuses on 3 areas of interest:

  • Implement authentication and/or authorization for applications and AWS services,

  • Implement encryption by using AWS services, and

  • Manage sensitive data in application code.

Building on the objectives from Domain 1, it’s critically important for developers to incorporate security best practices across all elements of an application’s architecture, code, and deployment. This includes understanding the principle of least privilege access and how to leverage AWS Identity and Access Management, or IAM, to define policies that grant only the minimum subset of permissions required for a given user, role, or service. It also includes knowing how to protect sensitive data using encryption in transit and at rest, and how to leverage services such as the AWS Key Management Service, or KMS, AWS Certificate Manager, Secrets Manager, and Systems Manager Parameter Store to protect sensitive data, credentials, and secrets. While some people may only equate security with encryption, the services and features covered in this domain move past encryption and require you to understand how to secure the access to data, limit access to only the people and applications that need it, and scale access as needed.

Moving on, we have Domain 3: Deployment. This domain accounts for 24% of the exam content and focuses on the following the following 4 items:

  • Prepare application artifacts to be deployed to AWS,

  • Test applications in development environments,

  • Automate deployment testing, and

  • Deploy code by using AWS CI/CD services.

This domain will ensure you know how to deploy applications in AWS, which includes proper testing along with the use of continuous integration and continuous delivery, or CI/CD pipelines to automate the different phases of the deployment lifecycle. This means you’ll need to understand all of the various AWS code services including CodeCommit, CodeBuild, CodeDeploy, and CodePipeline. It also includes infrastructure as code templates using CloudFormation or the AWS Serverless Application Model. And these deployments could involve anything from container-based applications to Lambda functions and APIs, or even more traditional multi-tier applications. You’ll need to understand how to use AWS services to build a complete CI/CD pipeline with approvals, branches, and actions that’s capable of deploying to different environments such as development, test, and production based on the outcomes of automated deployment tests.

And finally, we have Domain 4: Troubleshooting and Optimization. This domain accounts for 18% of the exam content and will assess you in 3 areas:

  • Assist in a root cause analysis,

  • Instrument code for observability, and

  • Optimize applications by using AWS services and features.

This domain is all about your ability to examine an existing application and identify any underlying issues that may impact its availability or performance. This could involve querying and interpreting application and error logs, implementing custom metrics, or even monitoring dashboards and insights to proactively identify potential failure points. You’ll also need to assess application requirements to determine the most appropriate AWS features to include in your architecture. The important services for you to know as part of this domain are Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, and AWS X-Ray. When you need to see how a Lambda function is performing, you’ll use CloudWatch. If you need to monitor an API call, you’ll use CloudTrail. And if you need to follow code through a distributed system using tracing data, you’ll use X-Ray.

Throughout this learning path, you’ll be guided through a series of courses, hands-on labs, hands-on lab challenges, and assessments that cover every element within the domains I just discussed. This will ensure that you have the required knowledge and sufficient hands-on experience to help you pass this certification exam.

Feedback on our learning paths here at Cloud Academy is valuable to both us as trainers and any students looking to take the same learning path in the future. If you have any feedback, positive or negative, or if you notice anything that needs to be updated or corrected for the next release cycle, it would be greatly appreciated if you could email

That brings me to the end of this introduction, now let’s dive in! Best of luck on your certification journey!

About the Author
Learning Paths

Danny has over 20 years of IT experience as a software developer, cloud engineer, and technical trainer. After attending a conference on cloud computing in 2009, he knew he wanted to build his career around what was still a very new, emerging technology at the time — and share this transformational knowledge with others. He has spoken to IT professional audiences at local, regional, and national user groups and conferences. He has delivered in-person classroom and virtual training, interactive webinars, and authored video training courses covering many different technologies, including Amazon Web Services. He currently has six active AWS certifications, including certifications at the Professional and Specialty level.

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