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Veliswa_Boya πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡¦

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My first 90 days as an Amazonian

And just like that, my first 90 days as an Amazonian have come and gone.
Since starting this role I've been asked a lot about what it's like to work at Amazon and exactly what a Developer Advocate is.

I will attempt to answer both of these questions in this post. I'll start with a very quick answer before I go into more detail: so far both experiences (working at Amazon and being a Developer Advocate) exceed anything that I could have imagined.
I am not walking into an organization or a role that I absolutely have no idea of (I have been a member of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) community for some time now) - but even my past exposure to AWS couldn't have prepared me for all that I've learned since starting here at the end of last year.

I posted about my excitement at starting as a Developer Advocate Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) at the start of December 2020 but I know that I couldn't have ever been able to articulate on that post just how happy I was to have landed this role, at this organization.

Working at Amazon

"You will feel like you're drinking from a firehose"; every piece of advice I received from fellow Amazonians when I first joined always contained this sentence. I may have laughed it off initially - but as the days progressed I came to realize what this means. The amount of information that literally hits you in the face feels exactly like this - like you're drinking from a firehose.

Introduction to the Leadership Principles happened very quickly.
Everyone at Amazon lives by these Leadership Principles, they are intertwined into all that we do. They guide every interaction and every decision that we make every time with the customer.

Who have I met since joining?

I have met a countless number of colleagues - both my immediate team and all the other colleagues from other teams that I've been able to interact with so far. I have been offered so much support, helpful advice and have been made to feel that I have a place here.

Being a Developer Advocate

I am part of the EMEA Developer Advocacy team and I'm tasked with working very closely with AWS builder communities in the Sub-Saharan Africa.
These builders fulfill various personas which range from Founders, to Developers, Architects, SysAdmins, Data Scientists etc.
My role is to help these personas build successfully on AWS. I give mainly technical talks at meetups, conferences, webinars etc., and I blog content and mentor members of the community - all of this (and more) with the goal of building and growing the community.
My role is usually defined as a one-to-many interaction kind of a role, this means that I don't speak to one customer at a time (e.g. an enterprise) - but to many customers at a time (hence the use of meetups etc. and all the other channels I mentioned previously).

Almost immediately after joining, I walked the Customer Obsession Leadership Principle - starting with my customer and working backwards - as I reached out to various user groups within my region in an attempt to get to know them better, to gain a better understanding of their members and to understand how AWS can continue to partner with them. I would say the Dive Deep and the Learn & Be Curious Leadership Principles also applied here, getting close to all the detail in my attempt to understand the builders in my community definitely aligns to these principles.

I have also had the opportunity to learn about services that I was not very familiar with before I took on this role; preparing for various technical talks at meetups and webinars has presented me with the opportunity to learn about services and architectures that I may not have spent that much time focusing on in the past.

The AWS Community and Developer Advocacy

Those who know me have an idea of how much it means to me that I have landed this role.
I have been passionate about AWS and the AWS community for some time now.
I have written in the past about the importance of finding communities that support one's growth, communities that are spaces for one to learn and share knowledge. The AWS community has always been this for me and AWS Developer Advocates (who I now get to call "my colleagues") have been the teachers and sources of inspiration for me.

It is surreal that I get to be part of this very same Developer Advocacy team, and now getting to pay-it-forward by getting to help this community that has been so instrumental to my growth, build successfully on AWS.


I am looking forward to still meet so many members of the community - to get to know you better as a community member and to collaborate with you and this is part of why I created this AWS Builders in the Sub-Saharan Africa LinkedIn Group.
I am also learning everyday that it is always Day One; and with that I will leave you with this video from Jeff Bezos explaining exactly what this means:

If you'd like to join the AWS team, check out the available roles. If you have any questions or would like advice about applying or preparing, please contact me to talk more about it.

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