Intro to AWS for Newbies

How I became an #AWSCertified Cloud Practitioner in 2 weeks

Last Friday, I finally sat in, and passed, the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam after 2 weeks of studying with a score of 908/1000.  I finally feel one official step closer to my next career goal of becoming a Cloud Engineer/Administrator.

AWS: Amazon Web Services

AWS is the On-Demand Cloud Computing Platform that Amazon founded in 2006.  It’s the biggest force in Cloud Computing field right now, with Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud trying to catch up.  Those two will likely not catch up any time soon, as AWS has such a huge marketshare.

It can be used by normal people, companies, and governments, and utilizes a paid subscription model.  It’s like having loads of data centers and softwares and services available to you at a touch of a button instead of you having to go buy all the hardware and hook it up. There is very limited maintenance required as opposed to the normal on-premise computing, so it saves you a lot of money.  The more I learn about AWS, the more I’m fascinated with how much potential the platform has.

You can learn more about AWS in a previous post I wrote about Amazon Web Services. Heck, I have everything from websites, video courses, and BOOKS devoted to introducing Amazon Web Services to you. Come take a look: ?

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

AWS has numerous certifications to prove that you have competencies in certain capacities.  Being a Cloud Practitioner shows that you have “knowledge and skills necessary to effectively demonstrate an overall understanding of the AWS Cloud.”  They recommend you have basic IT knowledge and at least 6 months experience in the AWS Cloud in some sort of capacity.

I began poking around in AWS in mid-June, after committing to the exam with my then-manager.  I started taking online courses, and while the one I was taking was very good, with dozens and dozens of different services (with at least half a dozen starting with “Cloud_____”), almost everything was going way over my head.

It took until I actually registered for the exam at the end of August for me to really buckle down and figure out how to study for it, because taking a course and taking notes just wasn’t cutting it.  I had a whole notebook full of notes.  But I didn’t have any of the concepts or services or billing information in retained.

And I had just 2 weeks until the exam. (Because I play life on danger level, obviously.)

How I Studied: By Teaching

The way I decided to study was a very “Me” way.  By becoming a teacher.

I was looking for resources where concepts were broken down for people with absolutely no background in Cloud Computing or AWS could easily understand.  I was looking for websites or books or flashcards that can provide me mnemonics or list of short descriptions of the few dozen core services that I needed to know for the certification exam.

I couldn’t find any.  So there was clearly a need.

To study, I created what I wanted.  In 1.5 weeks before my exam, I created AWS Newbies to serve as study guide and reference aide for “AWS Newbies” like myself, who have never touched Cloud Computing before. I wrote 35+ articles in a week and a half, and used my own notes to study for the exam.  I don’t think I’ve ever written as many articles as I had last week!

I also took a bunch of practice exams, same few over and over again, to get used to the question formats and the time limit.

Update 1: LinkedIn Learning Courses

Life comes by fast! I now teach Introduction to AWS for Non-Engineers series with LinkedIn Learning, which has been taken by over 370,000 learners since 2020! It’s a great introduction to what Cloud Computing and AWS are!

Check out the four-part course series here: “Introduction to AWS for Non-Engineers.”

Update 2: AWS for Non-Engineers Book

When I wrote this blog post in September, 2018, I could have never imagined that in a few short years, I’d not only be acknowledged by Amazon Web Services as an AWS Hero, but that I’d have written and published a book about Amazon Web Services!

But here we are! “AWS for Non-Engineers” was published in December, 2022 by Manning Publications! It’s available anywhere books are sold, and I’m looking forward to the day when it can be spied in brick and mortar bookstores!

Not directly related to my AWS journey, but I’ve written about how meaningful being able to write and publish a book is to me, especially after my grueling decade recovering from brain surgery:

Hiroko Nishimura
AWS Community Hero. Special Education teacher turned IT Engineer turned Technical Writer. Author "AWS for Non-Engineers" (Manning Publications). Technical Instructor "Introduction to AWS for Non-Engineers" (LinkedIn Learning).

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