Serverless Craic Ep22 How to start cloud computing


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We found out that 'how to start cloud computing' is a burning issue! We started a meetup in Belfast with our friends Matt Coulter, Gillian Armstrong, Gillian McCann, and Gareth Gilmore. It is called BelfAWSt. And it is a community Meetup in Belfast, to talk about all things AWS!

We saw from looking at the topics and listening to the conversations that there is a need for guidance on how to get started!

  • How do you set up your account?
  • And how do you learn?
  • Or build your career?
  • Who do you reach out to?
  • And when you are more familiar with the basics, what can you leverage to build higher order systems and solutions?

Questions on certifications came up a lot.

  • Are they valuable?
  • What workshops can guide me through the Getting Started phase?
  • How do you become part of the community to help me and my organisation?

It is daunting when you look up and there is an ocean of stuff on the website. If you sign up, pick something relatively straightforward and follow a quick lab. It's an iterative process. 'Eat the elephant, one bite at a time'.

The pathways of education and certification have been broadened to meet different user needs. 'Cloud Practitioner' is great for somebody getting started, who wants to understand what capabilities are available. When you get to associate and professional, the specialist certifications are more in depth with a bigger learning curve.

From an educational track point of view, what I used was 'A Cloud Guru'. More recently, 'Skill Builder' has become freely available. Udemy courses are really good. So there's never been a better time to learn about the Cloud and AWS. And other Cloud Providers have similar educational materials. But the stuff that's freely available now is just fantastic. T

he thing I really like is that they have foundational white papers. There's a white paper on well-architected. And there's 'secure by design', principles of cloud and elasticity and ephemeral behavioural stuff. So there's four or five core white papers that are worth reading. And you can tell the people who don't understand those concepts, because everything is built upon them. If you attempt a certification, and you read those white papers, it's still beneficial. The PDFs are free and you can download them.

It gives you shared understanding across teams. So if you're a manager, not hands on or technical you will have the vocabulary to have a conversation with your team. It could be about scale or services. But it allows you to be better informed and have greater situational awareness.

With certifications, you can go deep and broad on a lot of the topics. But real learning happens when you go and do something. Get into a workshop. Go and follow an AWS workshop or whatever cloud provider workshop applies to you. That's how stuff tends to stick with me.

The developer advocates and AWS have been great at codifying their getting started workshops. Workshops that were only available at re:Invent/conferences are now freely available on AWS.workshops. The community is also good, with AWS heroes, community builders, and developer advocates. And it's actually quite a small community. It's a handful of people who are putting out good content. And it's not that hard to track them down on Twitter. It's worth tapping into that community.

The last thing is the whole idea of patterns. Matt Coulter has CDK Patterns. SAM has a bunch of patterns. And there's the site. When you codify an architectural pattern, like a CDK pattern, it's a great way to accelerate and get something up and running. But also to look and see how the pattern was put together. It's a brilliant way to learn.

You may want to wire capabilities and services together. For example you wire an API gateway with a lambda and store data in DynamoDB. There's a pattern for that. You can see how it's done in a well architected way. That frees up resources to build solutions that deliver value. Patterns like CDK and Serverlessland help. They are built on developer enabling frameworks. Some are built on CDK and some leverage SAM or the serverless framework. They are good to play around with. And to develop your preference to help you in the long run. You don't want to be doing things in the console or coding in raw CloudFormation.

It's never too late to start learning. I would argue that the later you do it the better! Because the early stuff is a bit funky. This later tech is more refined and mature.





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