Learning AWS Against a Deadline – Tips From a Veteran Instructor

It was on a snowy December Tuesday.  I was just preparing to start a virtual Architecting on AWS class. I was glad it was virtual, so were my students. Not needing to leave the house on a gloomy, snowy day like this and having to brave the commute was a relief to everyone. Before the start I usually have a chat with the students and I ask them questions like: “Why are you in the class?” “What are your expectations?”

The first answer comes from a young and eager solutions architect working for one of Vancouver’s biggest insurance companies. His answer is: “I want to get started with AWS quickly. We’re migrating to AWS next week.”  I ask: “Do you have any experience with AWS or any other cloud solution already?” The firm “No.” answer is surprising. This is going to be tough. But we brave through it. We spend a bit of extra time after the class ends each day to talk about their use case, how AWS can help and what to look out for.

A week after the class I get an email thanking me for all my help. The student also leaves me one of the nicest reviews I have ever gotten in almost a decade of training deliveries. That was a great experience and the student was really happy that it worked out well for them. But it might not have. I am fairly confident there out of several thousand students that I have taught, there possibly were a few for whom such tight deadlines did not work out.

So what is the best way to approach learning about AWS? Here are a few recommendations:

Start early. Cloud adoption is in full swing right now. Even if you can’t foresee cloud being adopted, don’t let yourself get surprised by a migration “next week”.

Make a plan. Understand the training resources available and choose the ones that fit your needs. For example, there are plenty of self-study, certification-prep and other types of books on AWS. Pick up a book and see if that fits your needs.

Determine the goal. Is it getting certified? Is it being able to independently architect a solution? A goal will help you better decide on what will be the best training track for you.

Get some hands on experience. Open an AWS account. You can use quite a lot of resources for free for 12 months. For example you get 750 hours of a small compute instance for free!

Use the free training resources available from AWS. There are quite a few resources available for free on https://aws.training - everything from 10 minute intro videos to complete free courses.

Once you have a broad idea of what AWS is, you should consider classroom or virtual training. The Architecting on AWS training can be an invaluable resource for gaining knowledge, but you have to know how to make the best use of it.

To get the most out of a training session make sure you already understand the basics. This will help you better grasp the concepts discussed in the training. There will be a lot of content covered in the three days and the easier it is for you to follow the more valuable it will be. Also, having some previous hands-on experience and a basic level of knowledge will help you ask the right questions. The trainers have a great depth of knowledge and can expand on the basics quite a lot, but you need to ask the right questions. Following these recommendations should help you achieve your goal in a much more efficient manner.

admin June 10, 2019

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