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AWS Community Builders

A Month In The AWS Community Builders Program.

Fon Nkwenti
Solutions Architect interested in AWS Cloud, Networking & Content Delivery, IaC and continuous deployment
Updated on ・5 min read

In my previous post, I explained what the AWS Community Builders Program is all about, how to apply, and some benefits officially advertised. I can't believe a month has already gone by. It sort of feels like the first weeks in a new boarding school. I'm still figuring out how to get adequately accommodated and where all the amenities and facilities are. What are the rules and timetables for activities, who are the cool kids, what are the older kids up to etc.? So far, I haven't seen any bullies. The community has got up to about 800 community builders, and there is quite a lot already happening. In this post, I'll share some of the exciting things which have caught my attention thus far.

Communication

Going by my boarding school analogy, Slack is the campus, and the campus is slack. Slack is where everything happens. Almost all communication starts and ends in Slack. All announcements, introductions, questions and networking start from here before branching into other platforms like dev.to, for blogposts, Twitch.tv for live sessions and Amazon Chime for webinars. For those who don't know what Slack is, it is simply a messaging platform. It is similar to Microsoft Teams which most people know about, although Teams is actually the copycat. I've never had to work for a company that uses Slack, but I'm part of other communities that rely on Slack for messaging and communication. I started using Slack regularly as of 2020, but 80% of the usage has been with the Community Builder's Program.

Amazon Chime, is a communications service that lets you meet, chat, and place business calls inside and outside your organization. Let's just call it Amazon's response to Zoom and Google Meet.

Although Twitch is popular with gamers, AWS has also got many channels covering multiple products and services. Before being accepted into the program under the Networking and Content Delivery category or topic, I already followed the Networking and Content Delivery Office Hours on Twitch.tv. It is a weekly live stream on Thursdays from 6:30 PM - 8 PM GMT+1, hosted by technical leaders who introduce AWS services and updates on what's new across the category.

The Welcome Calls

On June 3rd, there was a welcome call for all the new builders. It was announced on Slack and hosted on Amazon Chime by Jason Dunn. Jason is the AWS Community Builders Program Manager. He has done a great job on the FAQ Slack channel and is the bearer of good news like benefits on the #benefits channel. Jason did cover quite a lot in his 30-45 mins presentation, and I can't possibly go through everything with you, but here are some of the things which caught my attention.

What does AWS expect?

Amazon wants to empower Builders like you to gain experience with their services and share that expertise with others. They want to help you "level up", grow your public profile, expand your knowledge on all things AWS plus other skills (writing, public speaking, etc.)

How to engage with topic leaders.

Topic leaders are the primary point of contact for the topic, but they are not tech support. They will look for opportunities for beta participation. Not all of them are staffed with Developer advocates, and since they work at scale, 1:1 interactions aren't always guaranteed.

Some guidelines on social media posting

Always use #AWScommunity in all social post across all platforms. Please don't tag Jason if it is technical. You can tag your topic leaders on all your posts. AWS wants to see all the great stuff you are creating and sharing so that they can understand the impact it is having. We've got a tool to help provide visibility to our AWS related activities outside the program.

Benefits

In my previous post, I listed the following benefits as were officially advertised on the AWS Community Builders webpage;

  • Access to AWS product teams and information about new services and features.
  • Mentorship from AWS subject matter experts on a variety of topics, including content creation, community building, and securing speaking engagements.
  • AWS Promotional Credits and other helpful resources to support content creation and community-based work.

But Jason elaborated further and included even more benefits. Those that really caught my attention are;

  • Cloud Academy subscription. They produce a lot of high-quality content not only on AWS Certifications but on DevOps and Security.

  • $500 AWS Promotional Credits. This is super important, especially for AWS Networking labs. Many things are not included in the free-tier, such as NAT gateways hourly charges, Transit gateway attachments, Network Firewall hourly charges and virtual appliances from the AWS Market Place. With these credits, I would unleash the playful child in me and turn up all the knobs in the VPC (with billing alerts configured, of course)

  • Cool swag. These are AWS Community Builders Program branded items. The $500 AWS Promotional Credits mentioned in the previous point will be delivered as a gift card in the swag kit.

  • Certification exam voucher. I didn't plan on taking any certification exam until nextyear, but it is a free voucher which will expire after some months.

Some Interesting Stuff From The Community

With about 800 builders and multiple slack channels, a lot is happening every second. But there are a few things which caught my attention which I would like to share with you.

  • AWS Removes NAT Gateway's dependence on the Internet Gateway for private communications. The NAT Gateway enables instances in a private subnet without public IP addresses to be able to reach the internet by using the NAT Gateways own public IP address. Before this announcement, you needed to associate the NAT Gateway to an Internet Gateway. But now, you can select to set the connectivity type to private when creating a NAT Gateway. The NAT Gateway will use its private IP addresses when performing NAT operations. This makes it possible to connect to other VPCs, Transit Gateways or Virtual Private Gateways.

  • Fellow community builder Jared Donboch made a website showing the map of all community builders in their countries. It clearly shows that I am the only builder in Cameroon.
    image

The map was done using the newly launched Amazon Location services. Jared wrote a 👉🏽post about how he built the website so please check it out.

What's Next

It was announced that all community members will eventually be listed on the public website, so I'm looking forward to seeing my name up there as well.
I will apply for the cloud academy subscription and maybe start preparing for the AWS Solutions Architect Professional Examination.
As soon as I get my own swag kit, I'll share the pictures with you
I'll be posting another review of the program same time next month.

Thank you for reading🙏🏿. If you are interested in knowing more about the program, please follow me on twitter@ fon_nkwenti.

Discussion (2)

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Bill

Great article! As a new builder, I’m trying to figure it out how to best use the community as well. Your article did clarify some key points I wasn’t sure. Tx!

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fon profile image
Fon Nkwenti Author

Thanks. I try to make it a habit of reading Jason's FAQs at least once each week and each time I discover something new. 😂