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An Ultimate Guide to the AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate Exam

This guide demystifies the AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate (DEA-C01) exam (Beta), paving the way for your cloud data mastery. It’s designed for aspiring data engineers with 2-3 years of experience and 1-2 years of hands-on AWS experience.


Why AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate Certification Now?

While the beta exam for the AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate is currently ongoing (Nov 27, 2023 – Jan 12, 2024) and its long-term career impact data won’t be available until several months after its official launch in 2024, we can still analyze potential reasons why this exam might be important for your career in 2024 and beyond:

Statistics Speak: Increased Demand for Data Engineers

  • Gartner expects that by 2024, 50% of new cloud-based system deployments will rely on a cohesive cloud data ecosystem rather than manually integrated point solutions. Thus, the future belongs to organizations that build robust data ecosystems.
  • The demand for data engineers is exploding. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 13% job growth rate from 2021 to 2031, far ahead of the average for all occupations.
  • Companies across all industries rapidly depend on data-driven insights, creating a need for skilled professionals capable of designing, building, and maintaining data pipelines and infrastructure.

AWS Dominance in Cloud Computing:

  • AWS dominates the cloud market with the largest market share in the cloud computing market, with over 40% share compared to its closest competitor.
  • This fact implies that having expertise in AWS data engineering tools and services is highly sought-after by employers.

Validation of In-Demand Skills:

The AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate beta exam specifically validates your skills in areas like:

  • Designing and building data lakes and data warehouses
  • Developing and managing data pipelines
  • Implementing data security and governance
  • Working with serverless technologies like AWS Lambda
  • Automating data engineering tasks
  • Mastering these skills will make you a highly competitive candidate in the job market.

Additional Benefits:

  • Higher Earning Potential: Studies have shown that AWS-certified professionals can build a lucrative career by earning 20% more than their non-certified counterparts.
  • Career Advancement: This certification offers plenty of opportunities in leadership positions in data engineering teams.
  • Global Recognition: The AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate is a globally recognized credential that enhances your resume and professional network.

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What the AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate Tests: A Bird's Eye View

The AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate Exam tests your proficiency in the following domains.

  • Building Data Pipelines: Master the art of data ingestion, transformation, and orchestration, applying programming concepts.
  • Data Storage Savvy: Choose the perfect data store, design models and catalog schemas, and manage data lifecycles with expert insight.
  • Operational Excellence: Keep your pipelines flowing smoothly with maintenance, monitoring, and data quality analysis.
  • Security First: Implement robust data security and governance, including authentication, authorization, encryption, privacy, and logging.

Essential IT Skills:

Possessing the following IT skills is essential to come out with flying colors in this certification exam:

  • ETL Pipelines: Understand the mechanics of data extraction, transformation, and loading.
  • Programming Proficiency: Apply general programming concepts (language-agnostic) to manage pipelines.
  • Version Control: Master Git commands for effective code version control.
  • Data Lakes: Utilize data lakes for efficient data storage.
  • Networking, Storage, and Compute: Possess basic knowledge of these core IT pillars.
  • Data Ingestion and Transformation: Think of it as building the data pipelines that feed the insatiable hunger of your cloud applications.
  • Data Store Management: Choosing the right storage solution for your data is like picking the perfect spice for your culinary creation.
  • Data Operations and Support: Maintaining the smooth flow of data is like keeping the kitchen clean – essential but often overlooked.
  • Data Security and Governance: Protecting your data is like safeguarding the family recipe – lock it tight with the best security measures.

Conquering the AWS Cloud:

  • Know Your Tools: Gain expertise in relevant AWS services for each data engineering task.
  • Security Champion: Understand AWS services for data encryption, governance, protection, and logging.
  • Cost and Performance Optimization: Compare AWS services to choose the most efficient solutions.
  • SQL Magic: Structure and execute SQL queries on AWS services with confidence.
  • Data Analysis Ace: Analyze data, verify quality, and ensure consistency using AWS tools.

What’s Not Covered:

  • AI/ML Expertise: The exam doesn’t delve into specific AI/ML tasks.
  • Programming Language Gurus: Deep knowledge of programming language syntax is not required.
  • Business Intelligence Masterminds: Drawing business conclusions from data falls outside the scope.


General Preparation Guidelines for AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate Exam

Along with the required Domain Knowledge, you need to:

  • Have access to the right kind of study and training resources.
  • Chart out a thorough study schedule.

Key pointers on accessing the right resources for the AWS Certified Data Engineer Certification battle:

  • Official Exam Guide: It is your sacred text, outlining content, weightings, and sample questions. Study it like a warrior who studies their battle plan.
  • AWS Documentation: The ultimate reference for all things AWS. Dive deep into specific services to understand their intricacies.
  • Practice Exams: Simulate the battlefield! Identify your weaknesses and refine your strategies. Utilize platforms like MOOC Platforms, In-person or Virtual Training from Authorized AWS Training Partners.
  • Community Forums and Groups: Connect with your fellow data warriors! Share experiences, ask questions, and celebrate victories. Platforms like Reddit AWS communities, Discord servers, and LinkedIn groups are invaluable.

Chart out a thorough exam preparation schedule:

  • Start Early: Never rely on the last-minute preparation! Give yourself ample time to learn, practice, and refine your skills.
  • Understanding over Memorization: Rote learning won’t save you. Grasp the concepts apply them to real-world scenarios, and the exam will be a breeze.
  • Practice Makes You Perfect: Get your hands dirty! Labs, hands-on exercises, and personal projects will strengthen your confidence and skills.
  • Seek Help When Needed: Don’t be a lone wolf! Reach out to instructors, communities, and even AWS support. Teamwork makes the data dream work!

The Exam Format

Two types of question patterns exist in this certification exam:

  • Multiple choice: This means you have to choose one correct response by eliminating three incorrect responses (distractors)
  • Multiple responses: Has two or more correct responses out of five or more 
  • Duration of the Exam: 170 Minutes
  • Exam Fees: 75 USD

Note: Here is a detailed Exam Guide from AWS  


With dedication, the right tools, and a dash of data-driven determination, you’ll conquer the AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate exam and embark on a lucrative career in the cloud. So, buckle up, sharpen your analytical mind, and get ready to code your way to cloud mastery!

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1. Which AWS certification is best for data engineer?

ANS: – The best AWS certification for data engineers depends on your specific career goals and experience level. Here’s a breakdown of the options: New Option (Beta):

  • AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate: This new (beta) certification focuses on data engineering skills and knowledge. It validates your competence in core data-related AWS services, data pipeline implementation, monitoring and troubleshooting, and cost/performance optimization. If you have 2-3 years of experience in cloud data or transitioning to AWS, this could be a valuable addition to your resume. However, due to its newness, its impact on the job market might take some time to solidify.
Established Options:
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional
  • AWS Specialty Certifications

2. Does AWS data engineer require coding?

ANS: – Yes, AWS data engineers do require coding skills. While some tasks can be accomplished using visual interfaces, coding is essential for many core responsibilities within this role. Here’s a breakdown of why coding is crucial:

  1. Building Data Pipelines:
  • Data engineers create pipelines to move, transform, and process data efficiently.
  • This task involves writing code to:
    • Connect to various data sources (databases, APIs, etc.)
    • Extract, clean, and transform data
    • Load data into target systems (data lakes, warehouses, etc.)
  1. Automating Tasks:
  • Data engineers automate repetitive tasks to improve efficiency and reduce errors.
  • This task often involves writing scripts to:
    • Schedule data processing jobs
    • Monitor data quality
    • Trigger alerts for anomalies
  1. Developing Custom Solutions:
  • Data engineers may need to create custom tools or applications to meet specific data needs.
  • This task requires programming skills to:
    • Design and implement software
    • Integrate with AWS services
    • Build user interfaces
  1. Troubleshooting and Debugging:
  • When issues arise with data pipelines or systems, data engineers use code to investigate and resolve problems.
  • This task involves understanding:
    • Code logic
    • Error messages
    • Debugging techniques

WRITTEN BY Lakhan Kriplani



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