Dear DevOps Abby

Getting started with the cloud (and keeping up!)

This week on “Dear AWS Abby”, I talk about how to get started with the cloud, and how I keep up with new AWS announcements.



“If someone’s completely new to cloud computing concepts, where should they start? #askawsabby”@QuinnyPig

This is one that’s kind of personal!  I think everyone has a different way that they learn best. I wrote about my personal learning style below, but here are some other pointers.  First off, AWS will point you in the right direction both with the general “Getting Started” page, as well as with more specific pages (like the container “Getting Started” section).  The main page will link you to tutorials, workshops, and self-paced labs for some specific content areas, like “Intro to EC2”.  There is also a series of AWS Certifications.  These are to demonstrate to jobs and colleagues that you’re an expert in certain AWS competencies.  Studying for the certifications would also provide a solid base of AWS concepts.  You can find out more about the certification exams and prep here.  I’ve also heard good things about A Cloud Guru: this is a series of video tutorials for teaching people how to work with the cloud and AWS. They also help people prepare for AWS certification exams.  There is also a community run guide:  the “Open Guide to AWS”. This is community-sourced info contributed by users of AWS, including tips, gotchas, and best practices.  You can find (and contribute!) to the guide here.

If you’re an in-person learner, you have some options there, as well.  There are AWS-run options like “AWS AWSome Days”, which are one-day events designed for newer users, where we cover topics like security and cost-optimization.  Find out about upcoming AWSome Day events here.  If you’re looking for more on-going education, you can join an AWS User Group or a meetup.  User groups are community run groups (generally meeting monthly), that cover various AWS topics, everything from Docker security, to writing Lambda functions.  You can search for you local User Group here.  Don’t see one in your area?  Start one!

Finally, you can learn independently!  Read the documentation, read blogs, and poke through examples and labs.  More on that in a sec.


The “how do I get started cloud computing?” leads in really nicely to a second FAQ, which is “how do you keep up with new AWS stuff once you’ve learned the basics?”

I learn pretty much all new things, from languages to AWS services, pretty much the same way.  I work backward from a specific need:  i.e., “I need to deploy WordPress”, or “I need a proxy server” or “I need a custom domain”.  Google and StackOverflow are my BFFs for getting myself pointed in the right direction.  After getting a rough idea of what I’m looking for, I often head to a blog (I like the main AWS blog: mostly written by Jeff Barr, and Randall Hunt).  I also like to look at how customers/other community members have solved similar problems.  This might lead me to re:Invent sessions, or conference recordings, or other blogs.  At this point, I generally move to the AWS Documentation.  This can be a little overwhelming to navigate, due to the sheer volume of information.  For docs reading, I tend to read until I start to feel like “…what?”.  At this point, I move off the documentation and start building.  As I build, I start referencing the documentation again as the basics start to make sense.  As for keeping up, I read the “What’s new” posts, and follow other AWS folks (and customers) on Twitter.


Abby Fuller

Abby Fuller

developer relations | agony aunt at amazon web services. abby tweets @abbyfuller, or you can email her at