Have you heard about the AWS Community Builders program?
Don't worry if you haven't. I would like to share what being part of this lovely community gets you and also to provide you some information how you can become one!
You can apply using the form here to become an AWS Community Builder. The application window stays open January 10th through January 24th end of day Pacific Time.
I joined the AWS Community Builder program back in September 2020 and my membership has just been renewed for another year. So it's time to reflect back on the benefits of joining. In no particular order here are 10 benefits to joining the AWS Community Builders program.
Starting with something very recent and top of mind for me.
I got invited to present at AWS re:Invent 2021. Cue goofy picture of me mid-sentence!
As you may know, re:Invent is AWS's premier annual conference and is attended by tens of thousands (usually in person but also part hosted virtually in these trying times).
I have been fortunate enough to attend re:Invent since 2018 and last year I got to present on areas of my interest. I was so enthusiastic about this invitation that I signed up for not one but three sessions and worked alongside with some amazing builders and our Community Manager Jason Dunn. The groups I joined presented on Databases, Containers and Serverless technologies. There were plenty of other groups presenting through the week.
We had been allocated a dedicated area within the Expo to present from. It was an awesome experience for me being in front of a large public audience at this premier event and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of prep and presentation and learnt a ton.
Feedback from those who attended was fantastic and really encouraging. I hope this becomes an yearly event at re:Invent.
As above, had I not gone in person, I would not be able to say "I presented at AWS re:Invent!" but these events can be expensive.
There were a limited number of exclusive discounted tickets to re:Invent made available to Community Builders. This was a SIGNIFICANT discount on the conference price and really prompted me to justify going (I had not yet convinced myself due to other pandemic related reasons).
You get to meet and be part of an online community of over 1,500 people from over 90 countries! Our slack channel is buzzing with people asking, sharing & generally helping. There group has significant diverse backgrounds, interest areas, experience levels (junior to senior) and from very different industries and even includes students, researchers etc.
Ignore all the swag, discounts, opportunities - the primary thing you get from this community is the awesome participants.
- Need a question answered? Post on slack and someone is usually there to answer (even if just to give pointers).
- Need to show off something you have built? Post on slack and you get plenty of feedback, folks boost it via their social channels and some even become users / contributors to your project!
- Have an idea or area of interest and want to get started with presenting these at events? Community Builders are constantly hosting events and are always looking for new presenters. There have been many virtual guest presentations from builders and a few in person talks too.
- Need to reach out to someone in AWS to talk about something? well you got the idea - just use the community!
Even this post is the result of having put an outline of benefits on slack and having affirmation / feedback!
In a nutshell - this exclusive access to a community is just AMAZING.
Who doesn't love some carefully thought through swag, welcoming us into the community.
Included in that swag bag are AWS Promotional Credits to do hands on work with AWS Technologies and to try out or show case new features. Comes in handy when preparing for Certifications too!
Credits are offered every year you recertify to be in the program and we have a way to request for more credits to cover specific projects that may benefit the community.
AWS partnered with an online training provider to provide all Community Builders access to their entire online training platform. (The cohort I am part of got access to CloudAcademy for free).
AWS provide every Community Builder a voucher to take a certification exam of their choice (Foundational, Associate, Professional or Specialty).
I used my voucher to pass the AWS Certified Data Analytics Specialty exam (Such specialty Exams normally cost $300).
I don't have an official count of the number of people who have got their first (or twelfth!) using this voucher but the first two groups got a LOT of certs!
Informal study groups have started forming with those interested in Certification and those who have taken and passed exams sharing their study guides, tips & tricks to help. We also have a number of trainers, Exam experts and boot camp providers within the community who provide guidance and assistance.
Another benefit of a large enough community! A few people have reached out, found mentors and then used the guidance to achieve their Cloud Goals.
One Community Builder just posted today that they pivoted to a full time Cloud Engineer role! They started this cloud journey last year alongside joining the Community Builder program. They studied for Certs (Passing the tough AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional exam) and show-cased a lot of their learning in public. All of these plus hard work had helped them reach their target of working fulltime in Cloud based Tech.
Some of the community members went on to become AWS Heroes.
Other builders joined AWS! (Yay - though that meant they drop off the community or switched to stay on as AWS employees now).
The opportunities are endless.
Community Builders get access to exclusive virtual events and webinars. We have had exclusive sessions with AWS Open Source leads, AWS Chief Evangelist (the one and only Jeff Barr), Developer Advocates and many many others. Topics range from deep dives into new features to presentation techniques and how to ace working in today's virtual world. There are approximately 5 such events every single month and across a few different time zones.
Community Builders sign a personal NDA with AWS when they join the program. This allows AWS to share early previews and any private roadmaps with us. Our feedback can help shape some of these services.
Did you know AWS is planning this cool new feature to
Community builders are sharing content across YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Blog Post and we also now have a dedicated area as part of the Dev Organization dedicated to AWS Community Builders.
A number of community builders work for organizations that build and/or sell platforms. Access to such third party tools, engineers and experts comes with being part of this community.
I want to go back to the name "Community Builders". There is a real sense of helping each other out and a feeling of safe space where constructive feedback is heard. That for me is a great community. And we are all learning to build up on our skills in the AWS space. I have made some good friends and learnt a lot (about myself and AWS) through this community process.
If all of that peaked your interest in being part of this community, you will want to read this post below by a fellow Community Builder on how to become one of us.
I hope to see you soon on our AWS Community Builders Slack introducing yourself!