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  • Writer's pictureDamien Burks

How I Passed the AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional (DOP-C02) exam

Updated: Sep 13

After about two months of studying, I was finally able to pass the AWS Certified DevOps Engineer Professional (DOP-C02) on 8/30/2023 with an 810!

I usually write a blog post right after I've received confirmation that I've passed the exam. However, considering the amount of trauma that I went through taking it, I figured I should spend the Labor Day holiday weekend celebrating and having a good time!

And I do mean... a good time!


The Prerequisites...

When you sit for a professional-level certification, there is an expectation that you have a certain level of experience or/and other associate-level certifications. In this case, the DOP-C02 recommends that an individual has two or more years of experience experience provisioning, operating, and managing AWS environments. In addition, you may want to at least have the AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate or the AWS Certified Developer - Associate certification.

So, make sure that you have either the experience or the certifications prior to taking this exam. I can say that having both the AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate and the AWS Certified Developer - Associate really helped me pass this exam. However, I do believe you can get away with having either one and still passing (given the fact that you are practicing frequently).


Exam Experience

Compared to the various AWS exams that I've taken, this was the most challenging. I did not test online due to the no restroom break policy (baby bladder), so I decided to go in person to a testing center.

The exam itself was 180 minutes (3 hours) long, and I used every last minute of it to answer all 75 questions. I was surprised that I didn't have to go to the restroom (LOL). The questions were even more detailed than the ones from the AWS Certified Security - Specialty certification, and it took twice as long for me to process them. By the middle of the exam, I felt my mind started to wander due to mental fatigue. Luckily, by the time I had gotten to the last question, I still had about 30 minutes to review the questions that I either skipped or marked for review.


Study Material & Resources

Since the DOP-C02 was released recently, there wasn't much study material and course content available for it.

This was a bit discouraging for me, however, I was happy to see the content creators that I follow had updated material available. I've listed the resources I've used below:

  1. Stephane Maarek's Course - AWS Certified DevOps Professional 2023 - DOP-C02 Hands-on

  2. TutorialsDojo's Practice Exams

  3. TutorialsDojo's Cheat Sheets

Unlike the other certifications, I did not lab as much as I would have done with previous exams, because I primarily work with the several services within AWS daily. However, if you do not work with AWS daily, then you'll want to lab every day until the day before the exam. For this, I highly recommend Whizlabs.


Studying Tips for the Exam

I've given you the resources that I've used, but let me tell you how I used them to pass the exam. I'll also call out some components you should pay close attention to.

Stephane's Course

Stephane's course is incredibly hands-on. While he covers the theoretical concepts for several AWS services, he has a corresponding lab (in most cases) for the lecture to give you the practical knowledge you need to truly understand these services. You must understand that the exam will test your understanding of how the services work together to achieve a business goal. Based on my experience, I would advise that you pay close attention to the lectures that cover the following concepts/services:

  • CloudFormation

  • Code* - CodeBuild, CodePipeline, CodeDeploy, etc.

  • Deployment Strategies - Blue/Green, Rolling, etc.

  • Systems Manager - Patch Manager, Session Manager, etc.

  • API Gateway

  • Lambda

  • Kinesis Data Streams, Data Firehose

  • Inspector

  • Organizations

  • Control Tower

  • GuardDuty (surprisingly)

Stephane goes over these services and concepts quite well, so please ensure that you are taking plenty of notes.

TutorialsDojo Practice Exams & Cheat Sheets

When it comes to practice exams, TutorialsDojo has a suite of challenging questions that will prepare you for the proctored AWS exam. Now, everything that Stephane covers in his course is not sufficient enough for you to pass these practice exams. So, I implore you to read the AWS Documentation for each service and understand the common architectures and use cases. If you get a question wrong while taking the practice exams, make sure you read the explanation behind each question. This will help you develop your understanding and build the mindset that is needed to ace the real exam.

Before I sat for my exam, I made sure I took the practice exams multiple times until I scored at least an 85% or higher on each one. I can honestly say the practice exams that are created by TutorialsDojo are almost on par with the real exam. So, make sure you are at least getting an 85% or higher before you sit.

Also, the cheat sheets are super useful if you wish to memorize distinguishing facts between each service. The one cheat sheet that I found useful before sitting for the exam was comparing the difference between Kinesis Data Streams, Data Firehose, and Data Analytics. I'd highly recommend looking over cheat sheets for the services I emphasized earlier in this post.


Last Tidbits of Advice

As I conclude this post, I want to share a few more things. Before you sit for the exam, please make sure you do the following:

  1. Eat carbs: You'll need the energy.

  2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: You're going to be sitting for 3 hours.... and your mind will be working. If you're like me, you might sweat a little bit.

  3. Take a potty break: Even if you're at the testing center, please use the restroom before the exam. There is a chance you might not be able to go once you get started. The questions are very long!

The night before you take the exam, make sure you get plenty of rest as well. Your overall performance is going to depend on all of these factors.

That is all that I have for you. Thanks for reading, and good luck if you are attempting to pursue this exam!


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