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Enhance your AWS Skills by using Virtual Labs

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By: Sudeep Phal

August 25, 2020

Working remotely is now the "new normal." As a result, The cloud market is growing day by day. There is a large spike in cloud adoption, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) being the market leader (at 32.4% of the global market), followed by Microsoft's Azure (at 17.6%), and Google's Cloud Platform (GCP) (at 6%). After the hard impact around the world, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more organizations want to adopt cloud computing. This has created a surge in demand for jobs in the market for cloud-related skills (e.g., Cloud Solutions Architect, Cloud Consultant, Cloud Infrastructure Engineer, Cloud Reliability Engineer, Cloud Security Engineer, and many more).

Considering this monumental shift in the market, here are some key points investigate:

  1. Can learning theory and books help with learning new cloud skills?
  2. What can someone do to sharpen their skills?
  3. Why align towards the AWS platform, instead of other providers?
  4. How can someone take advantage of this change that is creating new opportunities?

Can learning theory and books help with learning new cloud skills?

Yes, it can help he/she learn the terminologies and working but can it help in the real scenario where the expectation is to migrate the data or to secure the infrastructure using Virtual Private Cloud, Identity and Access Management, VPN site-to-site peering, and so on, without any practicals.

What can someone do to sharpen their skills?

The more you do practicals, the more you learn. The best way to learn any skills is to get your hands dirty in the environment in which you want to gain knowledge. You can also learn through courses that provide learning with practical labs. For example, the lab below :

Creating Buckets, Versioning, and Permissions on AWS S3

It teaches the following:

  • How to Create a new S3 bucket.
  • How to Enable version control for the S3 bucket created.
  • How to Modify the default bucket policies.
  • How to Upload a file.
  • How to Modify your file permissions.
  • How to Verify access and version control.
  • How to Confirm that he/she can access the file and view multiple versions.

Using a Lifecycle Rule in an S3 bucket

This lab teaches the following :

  • How to Create a new S3 bucket for log files.
  • How to Create an S3 lifecycle rule to move files to the Standard-IA storage class after 30 days, move them to the Glacier storage class after 60 days, and permanently delete them after 365 days.

These two labs take about 90 minutes to complete but are very helpful and easy to understand. They will give the feeling of accomplishment once he/she does these labs. Furthermore, there are no prerequisites to complete these labs.

Why align towards the AWS platform, instead of other providers?

As mentioned above, the current market leader is AWS, with 32.4% of the total global market share. As more and more people are adopting AWS, there is a high demand that is being generated in the market for AWS related skills. Employers are ready to pay more than the usual market salary for niche AWS skills. When he/she has hands-on experience on AWS, it is a differentiator and easy for the employer to choose him/her over others.

How can someone take advantage of this change that is creating new opportunities?

A good start is learning about the different cloud services providers, their services, latest and emerging offerings, and their differentiators from their competitors. If he/she is new to AWS, start with fundamentals, and know how it works. All the deployment or migration needed for any organization can be done by him/her if he/she has those AWS skills required. Doing Hands-on labs will not only make his/her job-ready but also provide him/her with the confidence required to do the task. Knowledge and skills go hand-in-hand. If you have acquired the skills by doing the job, you know to do the job. If, for example, he/she wants to learn about Microsoft Azure, firstly, he/she should start with fundamentals(AZ-900). Take the courses provided by Microsoft for free fundamentals. Then furthermore, he/she based on his/her interest can choose, Like developing into Azure Data engineer, Azure Solutions architect, and many more likewise.

Cybrary has a career path course on "Become a Microsoft Azure Cloud Engineer," covering all aspects of the cloud journey from fundamental to professional. This course clocks about 99 hours to complete, but it's worth it for a Cloud Evangelist.

Many courses are available on the internet but choose those who have labs included, for a better understanding and more comprehensive learning experience. Skills development is a continuous process that can be achieved through continuous learning and practice. Happy Learning, everyone.

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