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A lecturer’s insights from attending Cloud Services Training

For my work rotation, I was successful in applying for remote training with Amazon Cloud Services (AWS). The objective was to learn at foundation level Amazon’s Cloud Web Services and obtain the AWS Cloud Practitioner and Amazon’s Machine Learning certifications.

Published : 08.09.2022

I wanted to use the eight-week work rotation in early 2022, to learn something new and to refresh my expertise.

Digital Technology is changing at an ever-rapid pace and it can be difficult to keep on top of all the new developments. One of the key areas of this change is the use of Cloud Computing for delivery of essential computing services over the internet such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and intelligence.

The main big three companies who offer cloud computing platform services are Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google’s Cloud Platform (GCP). Although cloud computing isn’t necessarily a new development, it’s only been since 2010 that business and organizations of all sizes have really started to transform existing traditional IT services to the Cloud.

I was successful in my application for remote training with Amazon Cloud Services (AWS). The objective was to learn at foundation level Amazon’s Cloud Web Services and obtain the AWS Cloud Practitioner and Amazon’s Machine Learning certifications.

Structures, checklists and self-determination – key ingredients of remote training

At the start of March 2022, my work rotation began and I attended a number of online webinars to get started in familiarization of AWS services. I was provided guidance, but there are so many AWS services it can seem at times quite daunting knowing how to get started. It was only when I participated in the AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials Day webinar, things started to become clearer.

One of the key takeaways from this webinar was to use the Amazon Skills Builder AWS Ramp-Up Guide: Cloud Foundations, that provides a clear list of key Amazon cloud topics to learn with links to learning materials and tick box checklist. It might sound strange to hear that this simple document was vital for my learning, but as I was completely new to AWS, having something structured for me was crucial in helping me get started.

The AWS Cloud Practitioner course is divided into ten modules.

  1. Cloud Concepts Overview
  2. Cloud Economics and Billing: Module
  3. AWS Global Infrastructure Overview
  4. Cloud Security
  5. Networking and Content Delivery
  6. Compute
  7. Storage
  8. Databases
  9. Cloud Architecture
  10. Automatic Scaling and Monitoring

The checklist guide helps prepare you for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification exam by providing digital courses and labs to help develop these skills.

Practice opportunities and next levels of learning

As Haaga-Helia is part of the AWS academy I was also able to take advantage of accessing the platform after completing a short AWS Educator course. I found the AWS platform really user friendly and easy to navigate, as it remembered where on the course materials I had got up to and small practice tests allowed me to test my knowledge on each chapter.

Passing rate for the AWS module tests is 80 %, whilst the certification test pass score is 70 %. In some ways this higher 10 % score mark allowed me to push myself a little harder and ensure I was ready for the exam.

After an intensive one and a half weeks of working through the materials and labs, I decided to register for the Cloud Practitioner Exam. After reading various online forums on the experiences from others who had taken the exam, it became apparent that doing a range of timed practice test was crucial in preparing for the exam.

One such resource, that was highly mentioned and recommended, was Dojo. For a small registration fee of 15 euros the Dojo Forum’s platform provided a number of timed Amazon practice exams with feedback. I found the Dojo resources an excellent addition to using Amazon’s learning materials.

On 9th April I took the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam and found it quite tough. To my amazement I passed first time under the 90 minutes allocated and I was even able to check through my answers twice. It was a big relief as this was the main AWS Certification I had set out to obtain during my work rotation and there was no guarantee that I would achieve it within the 8 weeks.

Now the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification was completed, I was able to use the remaining time to work through the materials for the AWS Machine Learning certification. This certification is aimed in learning how to integrate machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) into applications and the tools and techniques for data platform and data science to build ML applications.

In summary, I feel it is important for an educator to take advantage of self-development and to refresh expertise and keep skills updated on a regular basis. If an organization offers an opportunity for a work rotation placement, then I highly recommend applying for it. The work rotation offered me a chance to do just that. However, most importantly it made me realize how beneficial it is for a teacher to step into the shoes of a student and experience the role of a learner every now and then.