The Complete Package to Pass the AWS DevOps Pro Cert
“Prep to Pass the Pro”
Published Feb 6, 2024
Last Modified Feb 8, 2024
January 2024, I managed to pass the AWS DevOps Engineer Professional certification with a surprising score of 876/1000!
In this article, I will share with you EVERYTHING I did to prepare for this exam. I’ll also provide additional advice and recommendations based on the contrasting exam experience of the Professional level AWS certification, to my previous experience having sat three Associate level and a Specialty level AWS certifications.
According to AWS, obtaining the AWS DevOps Engineer Pro certification showcases your technical expertise in provisioning, operating, and managing distributed application systems on the AWS and being proficient to ensure speedy delivery of secure, compliant, systems that are highly available and scalable.
AWS recommends you have experience developing code in at least one high-level programming language, building highly automated infrastructure and administering operating systems, understanding of modern development and operations processes and methodologies with the ability to implement and manage continuous delivery systems and methodologies, along with the ability to implement and automate security controls, governance processes and compliance validation and the ability to define and deploy monitoring, metrics and logging systems on AWS.
I truly believe these stringent recommendations act as a cautionary signal to alert you to the heightened level of expertise and experience necessary to succeed on this certification, as opposed to other associate levels. After all, this is a “Professional” level certification so it’s only fitting that it is intentionally designed for industry professionals who have substantial daily exposure to the technical concepts and services that are assessed in this exam.
Now, let’s focus in on my personal experience and opinions taking the exam.
From the moment I attempted my first practice question for the DevOps Pro exam, I instantly noticed a difference from the Associate levels. The depth and complexity of these practice questions were immediately apparent, which demanded not only detailed procedural knowledge but also the nuanced understanding to choose multiple correct options within one question.
Unlike my previous experiences with AWS’s Associate level exams, it was often the case that maybe two choices could be technically correct, but one always stood out as the optimal solution. However, for the DevOp Engineer Pro, it required a profound grasp of the concepts and technologies to discern the best possible option among MANY viable options. Furthermore, many questions required the selection of THREE correct answers from SIX options which was very challenging having encountered that format for the first time.
To prepare, I relied mainly on Tutorials Dojo’s practice questions. This platform had always been my main resource for my previous Associate level preparations, often offering questions that were tougher than the actual exam itself, which served as a great benchmark. I know that performing well on these practice exams is a strong indicator of my potential success in the real exam. However, I found that the actual exam questions mirrored the complexity and difficulty level of the practice questions on Tutorials Dojo, which spoke directly to the high standard that was expected from the Professional level certifications.
In the exam itself, comprising of 75 questions, as many presented six options that required selecting multiple answers, this exam was a true test of mental stamina and focus. I vividly remember reaching question 30 and feeling my concentration start to wane, only to realize I had barely crossed the halfway mark with about 40 more questions to tackle.
The length of the questions added another layer of difficulty. Many were three paragraphs long, providing comprehensive backgrounds before presenting the actual question objective in the final paragraph or sentence. The length of the questions were one of the main contributors to the depletion of my mental stamina. To manage this, especially in the final stretch of the exam, I found myself closing my eyes for brief 15-second intervals every five questions or so, to rest them from the relentless glare of the white screen as I had used a 34 inch external monitor.
Throughout the exam, I was rarely certain in my answers. I literally had to rely on a combination of faith, practical experience and instinct. I chose what seemed most accurate based on my real-world knowledge. This uncertainty persisted up until the last question. With 20 minutes left, I was still unsure about my final answers. Recognizing there was nothing more to do, I clicked ‘submit’, trusting in the knowledge and experience I had brought to the exam.
The DevOps Engineer Pro certification encompasses a broad range of technologies and concepts. Below, I have curated a list of these according to AWS.
This refers to the many ways you can deploy application on AWS to make the application available for use. It involves managing the different deployment methods and choosing the most effective type to meet your solutions needs.
Application integration involves linking different AWS services and applications to work together seamlessly. This can include integrating AWS services with existing applications or connecting various AWS services to create a cohesive system.
Application pipelines are automated processes for managing the lifecycle of applications. In AWS, the CodeSuite services(CodePipeline, CodeCommit, CodeBuild, CodeDeploy) are used to automate the stages of software delivery, including build, test and deployment.
Automation involves using tools and scripts to automatically manage and orchestrate tasks on AWS. This can include resource provisioning, software deployments and network configurations to reduce manual effort and increase efficiency.
This involves using version control systems effectively, often with AWS CodeCommit. Best practices include managing Git workflows, that include commit messages, branching strategies and ensuring code quality before merging.
Cost optimization involves using AWS resources in the most cost-effective way. This includes selecting the appropriate options for the most cost-effective solution without decreasing operational excellence.
This refers to the specific conditions and configurations required to successfully deploy applications in AWS. It includes technical concept considerations like scalability, availability, security and compliance requirements.
Hybrid deployments involve integrating AWS cloud services with on-premises infrastructure. This can include extending a company’s data center to AWS, or integrating cloud resources with existing on-premises systems.
IAM (Identity and Access Management) policies are a critical part of AWS security that define permissions for who can access what resources in AWS, which include managing user access, roles and privileges.
These are key components of operational management in AWS. Metrics and logs provide insights into application and infrastructure performance, while monitoring and alarms help in proactively identifying and addressing issues.
This involves setting up and managing network-level security using Network Access Control Lists (ACLs) and Security Groups to control inbound and outbound traffic to AWS resources.
This covers the recommended practices for managing and operating AWS environments effectively. It includes aspects like performance tuning, security, resilience and efficient resource utilization.
These are strategies and processes used to revert a system back to a previous stable state. In AWS, this can include rolling back deployments or changes that have caused issues or disruptions in the service.
The DevOps Engineer Pro certification also includes a wide range of AWS services, each varying in level of emphasis within the exam’s scope. Below, in alphabetical order, I’ve categorized these services into three, based on their prevalence and significance during my experience going through the exam questions.
These services were most frequently encountered in the exam based on my experience. They are central to many questions and scenarios and reflect their significant role in AWS DevOps practices. Having well versed experience in these services will empower you towards a strong performance on the exam.
- Amazon API Gateway
- Amazon DynamoDB
- Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
- AWS CloudFormation
- AWS CloudTrail
- Amazon CloudWatch and CloudWatch Logs
- AWS CodeSuite (CodePipeline, CodeCommit, CodeBuild, CodeDeploy)
- AWS Config
- AWS Control Tower
- Amazon EC2 and EC2 Auto Scaling
- AWS Elastic Beanstalk
- Amazon EventBridge
- AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)
- AWS IAM Identity Center (AWS Single Sign-On)
- AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS)
- AWS Lambda
- AWS Organizations
- Amazon RDS
- Amazon Route 53
- AWS Secrets Manager
- AWS Security Token Service (AWS STS)
- Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS)
- Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS)
- AWS Systems Manager
- Amazon S3
- Amazon VPC
These services are also important but feature less prominently than those in the heavy category. They are still critical to understand for rounded knowledge of AWS DevOps because they appear in a moderate number of exam questions.
- Amazon Athena
- Amazon Aurora
- AWS CodeArtifact
- Amazon CodeGuru
- Amazon EC2 Image Builder
- Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS)
- Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS)
- Amazon GuardDuty
- AWS Health
- AWS Resource Access Manager (AWS RAM)
- AWS Security Hub
- AWS Serverless Application Model (AWS SAM)
- AWS Service Catalog
- AWS Step Functions
Services in this category were less central to the exam but still contributed to the overall understanding of DevOps on AWS. They appeared in a few questions or were part of more complex scenarios involving multiple other services.
- AWS Certificate Manager (ACM)
- Amazon Inspector
- AWS OpsWorks
- AWS Network Firewall
- AWS Trusted Advisor
- Amazon Macie
- AWS WAF
- AWS Storage Gateway
- Amazon S3 Glacier
Now, let’s get to the actually steps to help you pass this beast of an exam!
Before we even get to step one, I strongly recommend completing the AWS Developer and SysOps Administrator Associate level certifications first. The reason behind this suggestion is straightforward, there’s a substantial amount of knowledge and experience that is presumed you already possess, which is thoroughly covered in these two Associate level certifications.
These foundational certifications will lay the groundwork for understanding the more advanced concepts and practices you will encounter in the DevOps Engineer Pro exam.
I’ve consistently relied on Stephane’s AWS courses for all my AWS certification preparations and his guidance has always been spot on. Yet, in my experience, his AWS DevOps Engineer Pro course functions more as an introductory primer. In my view, the course delivers more closely with the Associate level exams, lacking the depth required for a Professional level AWS exam. This stems from the fact that over 80 percent of the content for this exam, consists of pre-recorded videos from his other Associate level courses.
Consider this a friendly caution, Stephane’s course is excellent for building a solid foundation but it may not be sufficient for the comprehensive preparation needed for the DevOps Engineer Pro certification. After completing it, I strongly recommend progressing to more advanced courses that offers a deeper dive into the relevant concepts and technologies for thorough understanding and preparation.
Adrian stands out as an instructor with his meticulous, detailed, and in-depth approach to teaching. His videos are notably longer compared to most AWS certification courses, but this is a clear reflection of the quality and thoroughness of his content. By the time you complete his course, you’ll find yourself not only well-prepared for the exam but also equipped with a wealth of information that is applicable to real-world job scenarios. His comprehensive approach makes his delivery exceptionally suited for AWS pro level certifications.
I advise you not to rush through Adrian’s AWS DevOps Engineer Pro course. Take your time to fully engage with the material, as it is packed with valuable gems and nuggets of knowledge.
After going through these two courses , you’re now fit for Step 2.
Tutorial Dojo has consistently been my go-to platform when preparing for AWS certifications. Its practice exams offer an unmatched level of quality and depth. Particularly when preparing for an AWS Pro-level certification, their detailed exam study guides are loaded with resources designed to empower you towards success.
I highly recommend following their AWS DevOps Pro exam study guide from start to finish. Make sure to read and utilize EVERY single resource provided. Each piece of content is intentionally included that is directly applicable to the exam and offers you some of best consolidated preparation materials.
Some of the resources include the following —
This digital online training DevOps Engineer prep course by AWS, contains lectures on the different domains of the exam and provides a short quiz after each lecture to validate what you have just learned. It doesn't go too in depth into the exam objectives but it offers solid tips of how to attempt questions, which can put you in the right mind frame when trying to understand what a question is actually asking.
This resource includes official AWS exam questions that closely mirror the format and style you will encounter in the actual exam offering an authentic experience of the exam questions, so you can become more familiar with the structure of questions you might expect.
Here, you are presented with scenarios that are frequently encountered in exams which list the common situations and provides the correct solutions and approaches to them. This particularly helps you understand how to better apply your knowledge in practical exam questions.
These cheat sheets serve as a concise, yet comprehensive summaries of critical AWS services, useful for reviewing concepts and service functionalities in a time-efficient manner. The following are some of the best AWS cheat sheet resources out there which I personally always use.
For each cheats sheet, go through each service listed in the previous Top Services section of this article or anything service you’d like to explore more of.
These AWS comprehensive documents provide in-depth expert information on the core concepts and advanced techniques relevant to the AWS services. Each white paper included in this list from Tutorials Dojo Exam Study Guide, has been specifically chosen for its relevance to key aspects of AWS services and solutions which are essential reads when preparing for the AWS DevOps Pro exam.
This phase is absolutely critical, as it marks the transition from information gathering and knowledge acquisition to a more practical, hands-on approach.
It’s the point where you establish a baseline to gauge your actual understanding and get familiarized with the type of questions, their format and the overall exam environment.
Tutorial Dojo excels in this area, offering a comprehensive set of over 400 practice questions. What’s particularly beneficial is the flexibility in how you can engage with these questions. You have the option to focus on specific domains, allowing for targeted practice. You can also choose the practice mode, which provides immediate feedback after each question, enhancing your learning before moving on to the next.
For a more authentic exam experience, there’s an exam mode that replicates the actual test conditions with a set time limit, mirroring the real exam environment.
I advise you to do at least six — eight full practice exams. It is vital to engage with as many practice questions as possible, as this is key to gaining the experience needed to understanding AWS’s exam question style. Gaining exposure to these questions should familiarize you with how AWS frames them and also includes learning how to swiftly identify key words, phrases, or sentences in questions, which is needed when developing an effective strategy or method for answering them during the exam.
Additionally, practicing within the exam mode allows you to accurately gauge your speed and efficiency. This aspect of preparation will ensure that you can complete the exam within the allocated time frame. Passing this exam is more than just understanding the content, it also greatly involves time management under exam conditions. The more you practice, the better your timing and overall exam strategy will become.
Underestimating the AWS DevOps Engineer Exam is a mistake you don’t want to make! Instead, approach it with the mindset of overestimating its complexity and over-preparing so that you won’t be caught off guard by any aspect of the exam. Take the time needed to deeply understand each concept and ensure that your comprehension is not just theoretical but also practical.
Hands-on experience is gold for being prepared. If you’re already using some of these AWS concepts in your current role, take it a step further. Try to replicate or create solutions that address real problems you encounter in your work environment. This practical application of knowledge reinforces what you’ve learned and provides a deeper understanding of how these concepts are applied in real-world scenarios. It’s this level of preparation and hands-on experience that can make a significant difference in your performance on the exam.
I believe that if you take your time to follow these steps intentionally, you will be in great shape to pass the AWS DevOps Pro certification.
Good luck and see you on the other side!
If you’ve got this far, thanks for reading! I hope it was worthwhile to you.
Ifeanyi Otuonye is a 6X AWS Certified Cloud Engineer and AWS Community Builder skilled in DevOps, Technical Writing and instructional expertise as a Technical Instructor. He is motivated by his eagerness to learn and develop and thrives in collaborative environments. Before transitioning to the Cloud, he spend six years as a Professional Track and Field athlete.
In the early 2022, he strategically embarked on an mission to be a Cloud/DevOps Engineer through self study and joining the the Level Up In Tech program!
In May 2023, he accomplished that goal and landed his first Cloud Engineering role and has now set another personal mission to empower other individuals on their journey to the Cloud.