Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud provider that offers many, MANY services to consumers so that they can move away from on-prem environments and into the cloud. The cloud is the present and the foreseeable future. Organizations have begun to realize this and although they may resist, many have at least adopted a hybrid model that has moved some services that were once on-prem to the cloud. I mention AWS because it is the largest cloud provider in the world that proudly hosts cloud services for organizations like Netflix, Twitch, LinkedIn, dev.to (yes, this blog post utilizes S3 buckets anytime you see an image I've added), and Facebook.
So why should you learn about AWS? Here are some reasons (and resources) that may help you come to the same conclusion I made. P.S. I am currently studying for my next AWS certification. Feel free to connect with me to discuss the certification exams!
The certifications area of early software engineer resumes is often lacking. Any AWS certification bolsters that space by showcasing that you have the ability to learn theory and are interested in the cloud. Adding a single certification from a reliable source instantly pushes a candidate to the next tier. If you get multiple AWS certifications, you build on your credentials even further because each subsequent certification is more specialized.
The Certified Cloud Practitioner exam is $100. It lasts three years. If you pass on your first try, you pay $33/year. YOu may counter this argument by claiming that study materials are expensive. Here are some free resources:
- Udemy Course - A free Udemy course from a reputable source
- aws.training - Tons of courses available through AWS' platform
- Practice Exam - An okay practice exam
- Qwiklabs - Free/paid cloud labs available with a real AWS environment
- College - many college courses are available that cover AWS content, provide you with hands-on learning, and will fund your attempts at the exams
- MOOCs - There are tons of Udemy/Coursera/EDX courses available for $13 and under
- Practice Exams - AWS and other providers offer practice exams usually around $20 or less
The best approach to studying for the exam is dependent on the individual. I prefer getting into labs and taking the time to read as much as I can while others like courses and working through labs with an instructor. Take the time to identify your learning strategy and make a plan to study to earn the certification.
After looking at the number of services AWS has to offer (over 275), learning them all can appear daunting. Good news: you don't have to know every service. Depending on the exam you are taking, you only need to know specific services. Studying for the exams provide you with a mountain of knowledge that translates into the workplace effectively. If you want to be a software engineer or developer, begin studying for the DevOps track. You'll find that the content on the exam covers AWS AND DevOps. Learning this material enables you to present yourself to potential employers, bosses, and colleagues while having the knowledge to back up claims that they may have seen on your resume or LinkedIn.
An example would be a study of AWS Lambda. Lambda is a serverless function service. If you do not know what serverless functions are while studying Lambda you would uncover that knowledge as well as the knowledge that will help you discuss serverless functions on a specific platform that is used by hundreds of organizations around the world. Remember, we are all lifelong learners but we choose to do it in different fields.
As soon as you pass your first certification exam, you get to join LinkedIn groups and other communities on AWS and on other platforms. You can market yourself there, connect with other individuals that are as driven as you are, and maybe even find a study-buddy for the next exam you plan on taking. Additionally, as a certification-holder, you get access to an exclusive shop that gets more and more items the further along you get in the certification track. Plus, you can print out and hang up your certification on your wall and people will be very impressed to see anything from Amazon.
There are many difficulties that we all face every day. Working towards something, especially during COVID, can help motivate you. Earning a certification is an accomplishment that you set out to do, take the time to study for, and work to pass the exam. It is something you can be proud of once you have accomplished it. At this point, don't we all need a reward for being inside for so long?
So, get out there and pick an exam track, get studying, and earn those certifications.