I was in year 6 when I created my first webpage in school. It was 2006. I was showing off my cousin this simple web page then, he asked me if he could access it via the internet. Note that at this point I did not know the use of the HTML webpage. I was coding them to pass exams, and nobody explained why we were doing it or its purpose. I did not have the answer to his question, so I renamed the HTML file to shishir.com as advised by my cousin. He would then go to a cyber cafe to see if it was accessible.
I created my first AWS EC2 instance in 2018 during a finance tutorial and SSHed into it. I cloned my Nodejs express server and started it on port 5000. I was able to access the API via the internet. It took me 15 mins to set up the server that was accessible from any corner of the world that had access to the internet. I realized that it was a game-changer and this had the potential to revolutionize innovation or the rate of innovation. I realized that this tech had the power to make anything possible, literally anything. Only if I had known this technology in 2006 I would have proudly deployed my website and let my cousin access it via the internet. Since then my love for AWS has only grown.
Why did I decide to become certified?
AWS technology helps to solve real-life problems. Deployment is a big part of software development. AWS is the easiest platform to deploy applications providing higher control over the infrastructure. I had decided to become certified 11 months ago but was able to start learning only 3 months ago. But to be honest, I like to challenge myself sometimes and get things done. This helps to increase determination.
What did I know before I started preparing for the certification?
EC2, lambda, API gateway, Route53, ACM, S3. I had basic working knowledge about these technologies.
What can we expect to learn from AWS dev associate certification?
The experience was epic. I realized that there is so much to learn and there is more than just computing infrastructure. However, we may have variant experiences because of our course material and also because of our motives. I initially started learning from youtube free courses from Freecodecamp. This felt like an express course. After some research and suggestions from my colleagues, I came across courses from Adrian Cantrill. This course is full of demos and few advanced demos. Here are some useful topics that we can learn:
d. Elastic Beanstalk
d. Elastic cache
c. Deployment techniques and concepts (Bluegreen, rolling, all at once, etc.)
c. Secrets Manager
- Networking and Content delivery
b. API gateway
- Event driving and streaming technology
Adrian is artistic in his teaching and his teachings are invaluable. The course/certification will not make us experts but will give us insight into AWS services we can use to create a resilient, secure and scalable service. More than just AWS services, we can learn about common architectures and patterns.
Was getting certification worth it?
I personally believe that the certification was a way for me to enforce course completion and gain experience. I found the experience enlightening. I have not become an expert for sure. However, I learned things that I never knew existed and useful concepts/patterns. I have been using most of the services already at work. It does make more sense when I combine the knowledge from this certification with what we implement at work.
Yes, the certification is worth it. We can learn a lot from this certification and Even if we do not use the AWS service, we learn concepts that can be applied to another tech. For example, If you ever have to use terraform, you are in luck as it is very similar to Cloudformation. Codedeploy is similar to Jenkins, kinesis is similar to Apache Kafka. There are other services that are irreplaceable until there is another revolutionary invention such as S3 and EC2.
What materials can we use?
As mentioned above, Adrian Cantrill’s course is detailed and provides advanced demos which are useful not just for exams but for real-life scenarios. The secret is, to not learn serially but to jump to the parts that you wish to learn and find interesting, ultimately completing the course. I found three very useful mock tests.
1. Tutorial Dojo
2. Mock test from Neal Davis
3. Mock test from Stephane Maarek and Abhishek Singh
I agree that these are not free, unfortunately. However, the money we spend on these material is worth it because we can be more organized. From my previous experience, it is easy to get lost in all the material that is out there. It is like a rabbit hole and we can get distracted. The thing to note is that there are certain materials that we must avoid at any cost because of their poor content.
What is next?
Learn more and give back.