I value my certification and I think it gives me a significant advantage when selling myself. However, the certification alone isn't enough. It's more the icing on the cake where I can sell my experience then back it up with the cert that shows a general understanding of the platform.
It's becoming increasingly harder for full stack developers to distinguish themselves. Just follow some tutorials online and BAM -- you can say you know how to deploy applications to the cloud.
With regard to algorithms, my sense is that TopTal uses them to get a glimpse into how you think. Candidly, I failed miserably at an algorithm test TopTal gave me but I was able to clearly explain myself and walk through the (horrendous) code snippets I did write.
Ultimately, if you have practical experience using AWS, it's easier to pass the exam. Most of the esoteric questions on the exam I was able to answer because I had experienced the edge cases myself. I scored 92% on the Associates and would say I could've scored 75% with no prep. (not a brag, but just some context about experience being a big factor in passing)!
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