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How to Level Up as a Software Engineer | AWS Community Builders Program

Wondering what you can do to level up as a software engineer, developer or programmer this year? 👨‍💻💭

In this episode of the Tech Stack Playbook, I'm diving into the program that has single-handedly helped me the most in my tech career thus far: the AWS Community Builders Program. Today's episode focuses on AWS, the community, the core benefits of the program, and how it has helped me level up as a software engineer and developer this year.

📝 Quick plug: Applications close on August 30, 2021, so please reach out if you have any questions about the program and be sure to apply by the deadline here:

Here’s a glance at what you’ll learn in this episode:

Time stamps:
00:00 How the AWS Community Builders Program has helped me level up
00:43 Benefit #1: Being a Part of a Vibrant Community
03:35 Benefit #2: Being Surrounded by Constant Education and Learning
05:06 Benefit #3: An Immense Amount of Resources and Tools
06:23 Benefit #4: Get Connected to Conferences, Events, and Workshops
07:00 Why constant learning is key & how community/mentors can help
09:35 Reflecting on the past year of growth and development in software engineering

👨‍💻 What are the Benefits of the AWS Community Builder's Program for Developers?

The benefits of the AWS Community Builders program knows no bounds because it’s a truly priceless program. In the beginning, you will get a welcome kit which has some amazing AWS swag like hats, water bottles, desktop accessories, $500 of AWS credits, and way more goodies and benefits. But, there are several core aspects of the program that can be so instrumental to fellow programmers, developers, and people in tech. From exclusive webinars and events, to a global Slack channel of developers, programmers, software engineers, developer advocates, CTOs, executives, and everyone in between, there is so much value packed into this program for all involved.

So what are the key highlights from this program? I'll walk through for key benefits of the program and explain why this program has been so valuable to me.

👨‍💻 BENEFIT #1: Being a Part of a Vibrant Community

When you are starting out in your developer journey, whether at the executive or technical levels, whether you are a freelancer or employed by a software company, you always need to think about your community.

Who are the people you surround yourself? Who do you turn to and talk to when you have questions or comments about tech, your job, your career etc.?

During the COVID-19 pandemic and even beforehand, I was constantly thinking about how I can build my network of friends, colleagues, mentors, and guides in technology. As a self-taught programmer, I have done bootcamps and courses and programs, but I don’t have a degree in computer science, so I needed to surround myself with people who went down similar paths and different paths to learn what set them up for success.

And joining a highly-engaged and inspiring community of software engineers and developers from around the world building on the same tools and frameworks is one of the best ways to accomplish this. It all goes back to joining a community. The AWS Community Builders program is full of some of the most selfless, smart, caring, and supportive people I have ever met. People who go out of their way to answer questions, help people when they have questions, and work on helping the rest of the community level up as well. AWS leaders, AWS Heroes, experts in tech, and senior leaders of the industry are all a part of this program along with early career and young software engineers like me. The community is so rich with so many different types of technology people, all sharing a passion for serverless frameworks, cloud-based software, and of course, AWS!

If you are looking for a highly engaged and active family of developers and programmers who constantly will push you to be better, smarter, faster, and stronger than you were the day before, look no further than the AWS Community Builders Program, especially to be around people who inspire you to constantly level up.

👨‍💻 BENEFIT #2: Being Surrounded by Constant Education and Learning

How are you constantly thinking about how you will level up as a developer or programmer? Are you learning new things or just doing the same-old-same-old.

The AWS staff puts on incredible exclusive events, workshops, talks, and meetings on cutting-edge serverless tools like SageMaker and Hugging Face for artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI & ML), database best practices like DynamoDB or Neptune, messaging services like SNS and SES and PinPoint, as well as networking and compute services like EC2, VPC, etc.

There is so much high level content that exists on the Internet, and it can leave you wondering…so how does this tech actually work? If I wanted to actually use these tools, what do I need to do? Well thanks to the these exclusive events and workshops, you get to have leading technology experts, AWS staff, and tech visionaries walk you through implementation, code, walkthroughs, and more. You get architecture diagrams, roadmaps, how-to-guides, and a plethora of resources.

👨‍💻 BENEFIT #3: An Immense Amount of Resources and Tools

The third biggest benefit that I think makes the AWS Community Builders Program so valuable is the resources and tools Community Builders have at their disposal. I’ve benefited a lot from having a subscription to Cloud Academy and having access to classes and guides and lessons.

By going through classes and education online, on-demand, and on the topics you are most curious on, this makes it so easy to get the skills you need for your job, for your passion project, and for your company. Online education is only going to increase in importance and value in the months and years to come, and especially during these remote months, being able to attend virtual classes and webinars right from your computer makes it that much easier to upskill and level up.

👨‍💻 BENEFIT #4: Get Connected to Conferences, Events, and Workshops

The fourth largest benefit has to be the connection to conferences, events, and workshops. Being able to jump into a conference session or be invited to a Brown Bag lunch workshop on a certain AWS or serverless tool….and also be invited to speak at events like this…has such an immense amount of value for anyone looking to get more presentation and conference experience under their belt.

As a young professional, opportunities like this can be difficult to come by, so having people that can put you in touch with event organizers and leaders can make all the difference for sharing the insights you’re learning on the job, in your side projects, or generally sharing insights based on what you are working on.

One of the opportunities I was able to earn was giving a 2 hour master class on the 9 AWS Serverless Databases all Programmers and Software Engineers Should Know. Additionally, this upcoming Saturday, my talk on AWS Serverless Databases was accepted for Data Saturday Oslo, which I am super excited about.

Not only do you get amazing experience by presenting technology to global audiences, but you also get to inspire and empower other developers to learn new tools, solutions, strategies, and methodologies. By bringing people into the fold of cutting-edge technology, you never know who you might empower in the “virtual stands.” Or in the audience, there might be someone who goes on to implement what you talked about or builds a solution that has a large impact on the world. The possibilities are truly limitless and you never know what your talk might do to impact people and get people started in their serverless, full-stack, and AWS journeys.

👨‍💻 How to Become an AWS Community Builder?

If this interests you and you want join this incredible program and community, I highly recommend that you apply! The deadline is August 30th, so make sure to apply via the application link here:

If you have any questions about the application process, please reach out over social media or drop a comment below and I will respond!

Check out the full recording below:

Let me know if you found this post helpful! And if you haven't yet, make sure to check out these free resources below:

Let's digitize the world together! 🚀

-- Brian

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