Human beings learn to modify their skills and abilities through observation, practice or reasoning. This is called "learning". In simple words, from a young age we learn to acquire knowledge so as not to make the same mistakes twice, or to simply be better people.
Approaching this concept from the world of work, it is very common at the beginning of our career to leave a university or in the course of it to leave wanting to apply what you have learned over many years of effort. However, when you leave a world of learning what the study of a profession is like, you enter a deeper and more intriguing one, realizing that what you know is only 1% of what you could know, and that in reality everything is more challenging to how they taught it to you.
Depending on where you arrive, it will be partly how you develop or how you learn to learn. Yes, I said "learn to learn." Your first job will be essential to know how to develop your skills or start your ninja path. However, this is a double-edged sword. Why learning to learn can be a double-edged sword? It is simple. If you learn the wrong way, then it will be much more difficult for you to adjust to the real world when you leave that job. I'm telling you because I was about to fall down that road. That is why I will teach you how to detect it in time and how to take the right path.
One of the hardest things when you're inexperienced, rookie, young Padawan, inexperienced licensed professional, enthusiastic youth, or how you put yourself on your resume, is to question the why of things. This is because if we are arriving as inexperienced we will need to observe others how they solve problems or how they face them (Learn from them).
Over the years this idea has been mutating due to generational changes that have occurred. It can occur in different situations in the working world, for example: When a leader or boss tells you to start a task, and details the problem, reason, but never tells you how to solve it and only tells you "Solve it for tomorrow." Vualah! This is a clear clue that it will not be a guided path and it will be a path where you will have to figure out how to solve or fulfill that task.
If you are someone proactive, it will be very useful to ask that same leader how you could solve it or who you should look for to know how to do it. But if you are a not so proactive or shy person, with a hope that they will guide you in your early days, it will be very difficult for you to do that. On the contrary, you will most likely feel disappointed that they did not actually tell you how to solve something, even saving as a resource or answer the fact that they did not teach you how to solve it and that for that reason you have not done it yet. It is important to note that the proactivity of current generations have been changing the reason to be proactive, and older generations increasingly find it more difficult to understand what makes people or their teams proactive.
Therefore, you must learn to be your own center by looking around how others work to know your reason for being proactive. If you come to a job for the first time, you will have to understand that even if they have a “culture” or an “attempted culture” actually imposed by whoever created the company, it does not mean that you cannot get out of that circle and be better than that. If you come to conclude that with your analysis, that the culture that the company follows is a passionate and attractive culture to your way of thinking, you will be in the right place. But ... What if you don't like that culture? What if you think that the way of working of your first job does not seem correct to you? Should you accept it and learn that way? You will clearly have to improve it. And if you can't do it or they won't let you, it means you're not in the right place. And don't worry, improving it does not mean that you will have a war. On the contrary, it will improve your workplace even generating good results.
Some time ago, talking with some guys who left my current job, I realized in reality that they did not leave because of an “opportunity” that came from nowhere or by magic. Rather, they decided to show their profiles as open to receiving opportunities. Who has not done it? When you already want to leave a job, you put on professional networks that you are open to receiving offers. But in reality this has always been a choice. You decide when you want to receive offers or when you want to find out more about them. Outdated companies and boomers don't take the time to understand why they are doing it. They only focus on the superficial, on the "He has not returned our hand" or on the "He lacked being more committed to us." But they never really wonder why he decided to accept the other offer or why he decided to find out more about them. You agree to be part of a process that can get you out of that circle that you don't want to be in.
That is why (and hopefully pass it well) it is important to know that should not scare you to decide your own path. To decide to be your own center, where you will have to create the trust to decide if the business culture that is imposed on you is the one that really represents you. This is how a real culture is formed.
And now you will ask yourself: Why is this young man telling me all this? Well, because here comes the next point: What if I like where I am, but I am learning the wrong way? How do I know if I am learning the right way?
Something that I can rescue from my current job is that I learned to know how I want to learn. I was saved from a learning obligation because I discovered that I want to be better than I am used to being. The idea of studying the wrong way, going the easy way, studying for a medal, studying or memorizing test questions, or studying to "meet a business goal" didn't suit me. Discovering this was not easy.
In the beginning I was part of that system. I felt strange because I was actually able to learn that way and generate results. However, I felt that learning the fast way, when speaking with professionals who learned the slow way, the difference was huge. I could pretend that I knew a lot or that even with my medals I felt with the ability to face any question since they trusted me. But actually, they knew more than I did, and in a way, it showed. Therefore, some external professionals helped me understand which path to choose.
I had the opportunity that during the start-up process, I met very professional people who helped me understand how I should decide how to learn. If it hadn't been for those people, I'd practically still be within the imposed system and maybe I'd still just be someone with medals. They had a study plan guided in the right way and with the right people. In the context that I work in, which is the world of Amazon Web Services, these people were the best people who could tell me how I should learn from AWS. The Amazon Professional Services team. They were professionals prepared to face any challenge in the cloud, and who would leave any partner company defeated if they made a competition of who was cooler. But in reality, they were normal people who had understood how they should learn, because Amazon as a company has a very interesting culture regarding people's learning. They showed me some secrets regarding how they learned, what was the platform, how they related to their peers, their networks, etc. An almost hidden world for a mere mortal outside of Amazon. Seeing this made me realize that learning the fast path was really only a long-term sentence. Since then, I never wanted to follow that path again and became independent from my knowledge.
What if they hadn't helped me? What if you don't have someone to help you? Well, I'm sure that understanding that you are the center of your attention, you will still discover how you want to learn. Not so naturally or spontaneously, but anyway you would have come to the same conclusion that everyone must understand which paths exist and which one to choose. In fact, by reading this post you are getting a boost from someone who wants to help you.
If you were already partially able to figure out the conclusion of step one and two, I congratulate you. You are already growing. You are already learning. Very few people are able to do it, and very few know how to do it. While there will never be an owner of the truth and I clearly am not, there will always be someone who can guide you to discover your own truth. Don't let others take ownership of your truth, or force you to follow their truth. By reading this post, it is a form of growth.
And rest assured, taking these steps will not always be easy. I never said it was. You will have to make difficult decisions, or think of optimal strategies to advance to a better place. Sometimes you will feel exhausted, distant, or disappointed. But you should know that in the end, the result is worth it.
While I showed you part of my vision for not studying incorrectly, I have not yet told you how to look up your study plan correctly. In this case, I will tell you about my experience to learn about Amazon Web Services, but you can carry out this search or plan with any other topic you want to study.
First of all, I never recommend studying only the questions of some exam. That alternative is the worst they could recommend, because there is no real learning or understanding of the current context of all the services that involve the AWS cloud. AWS internal teams occupy their own platforms to learn, and this is clearly not a problem for them.
This does not mean that you cannot do mock or mock exams, where here comes my first recommendation. Whizlabs.
Whizlabs is a platform where its greatest power is based on simulation exams of various subjects. They have exams for almost all cloud providers where each question has its justification and its link to official documentation. For me this site was a great help to start simulating a real exam. It also has courses and labs to test AWS services.
Another recommendation that I can give you is QwikLabs.
This is a site where you can test your skills on administration consoles prepared for the specific laboratory. They are quite useful since it has a global subscription where if you pay for it you will be able to access all the existing laboratories on the platform. Be very careful with doing something that is not in the laboratory instructions, because they can cancel your account.
Finally another of the sites that have helped me a lot to learn the right way, is at TutorialsDojo.
This site is a great place to start running quizzes and practical exams to address most of the existing certifications in cloud providers.
Other platforms that I recommend are:
I tell you that all over the internet there are a variety of courses that will really show you a correct context of AWS. However, one of my biggest secrets of my knowledge is Adrian's courses. These have positively impacted me. These courses come with an extreme dedication to improving the content you create every day.
Each course or sheet is Adrian's own creation with the sole objective of explaining the concepts of the cloud in the best way possible.
The truth is that I have had other courses in other providers such as Udemy, Cloud Academy, aws.training, etc. But I have never seen such a dedicated and practical course as this. It also has many practical examples that will help you understand the concepts of the cloud.