AWS Training and Certification Blog

Building a resilient career through AWS re/Start

Luis Correia never imagined himself as a cloud technology professional. However, living through two serious economic crises, he had to reinvent his career continuously. After several years in academia and non-technical roles, his resilience, persistence, and willingness to learn, led him on an unexpected and ultimately fruitful journey to the cloud.

From 2004 to 2011, Luis worked as a research assistant at various universities in Portugal. When the global financial crisis hit the country’s academic sector, research budgets were cut and the ongoing financial uncertainty drove him to the decision to pursue a new career opportunity. Luis enrolled in a professional cooking course and moved to Berlin, Germany where he worked as a cook for two years to make ends meet. He learned German, secured a job as a call center agent, and progressed to a management position in an international travel company in 2015. Things were steady until 2020, when in the height of the COVID pandemic, the travel company closed several offices and Luis was out of work again.

Luis knew he needed to find a career that offered both stability and advancement opportunities. Ever determined and willing to reinvent himself, he decided to invest in pursuing a long-held dream of getting into the IT world. “I had experience with databases and analytics from my university jobs, so a tech focus seemed the best direction,” he commented.

Luis found Digital Career Institute GmbH (DCI), an organization that offers courses for people who are unemployed or changing careers. DCI offers several programs for learners including web development, digital marketing, and cloud computing—via the AWS re/Start workforce development training program.

“In deciding which path to take, I researched tech career trends and quickly realized that the marketplace for web developers and digital marketers was very crowded, and that I would face stiff competition from people who were younger and had a lot more experience. The cloud tech track looked like the best choice,” remarked Luis.

The AWS re/Start program offered through DCI was appealing to Luis for a number of reasons. “It was a modular program with a number of training options; getting in did not require prior tech experience; and most importantly, with the foundational cloud skills AWS re/Start provided, I would have a better chance in the job market where my previous skills could be of added value.”

DCI fully supported Luis’s goal to rebrand himself and redefine his career, and helped him work through all of the steps to enroll in the program. He started the AWS re/Start program in September 2021, and completed it three months later, in December.

Luis will be the first to admit that AWS re/Start is not a lightweight program. “The courses were ambitious, intense, and demanding. They covered a broad range of cloud topics including programming, networking, database, system administration, and AWS services. I realized early on that to get as much out the courses as possible, I couldn’t just show up day after day. I had to be very engaged and interact with the course trainers and mentors.”

Luis committed to gaining as much information and insight as possible from the sessions. “I asked a lot of questions to better understand the context and the broader applicability of the lesson or skill we were learning. I also explored more complex topics like Kubernetes.” He notes that while engaging with the deeper content was challenging, it paid dividends in terms of what he was able to learn and apply.

Luis also received tremendous support from the AWS re/Start program trainers and mentors, and the community of learners taking the program with him. “I established strong relationships with them, and because I was one of the most active participants, they often engaged me in leading group tasks and discussions. After completion of the course, the program manager also invited me to talk to a new group of AWS re/Start learners about my experience, what to expect, and how to get the best from the program.”

Luis admits that when he completed the training, he did not expect to find a job quickly. The AWS re/Start program through DCI changed that as well. “Career development was an integral part of the program, and structured much like the technical learning element. I realized the need to actively engage in the recruitment process rather than just apply for open positions. As a result, I developed both the knowledge and the confidence to talk about technology concepts, challenges, and approaches. My mentors helped me rework my CV and LinkedIn profile, and worked with me to take a more strategic, relationship-building approach to engaging recruiters.”

Preparing for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam and achieving his first certification at the end of the AWS re/Start program was another important milestone that helped Luis get in front of potential employers. “The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner credential was the first feather in my cap that opened doors for me and was something that put me face to face with potential employers. It served as a badge of credibility and I felt confident during my interviews with employers.”

The result speaks for itself. Two months after completing the AWS re/Start program, Luis was hired as a technical consultant at Devoteam A Cloud, an AWS Premier Consulting Partner. In his onboarding meeting, his manager outlined additional AWS Certifications he should pursue to round out his portfolio and Luis achieved AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate and AWS Certified Developer – Associate credentials as part of his career development plan. The certifications introduced Luis to the next level of cloud infrastructure and the breadth of AWS services, delving into networking, global architecture, serverless architecture, API programming, and databases.

Looking down the road, Luis foresees a future that might involve data analytics. He acknowledges that as he progresses, the projects he works on will shape his trajectory. “My goal is to continually hone and test my skills, and I look forward to taking advantage of more education tracks through AWS to master the more intensive aspects of cloud computing and architecture.”

Luis is mindful of the parallel between his career journey of reinvention and the aim of the AWS re/Start program. “My story is truly about restarting and not feeling bad about it. I’m grateful for the spirit of AWS and its partners in helping create those opportunities by making cloud technology skills accessible to non-technical people who are willing to engage and work hard to build new careers.”

still image of video file of Luis Correia's story

Learn more about AWS re/Start and AWS Education Programs

AWS Education Programs are preparing graduates for cloud roles in cities and towns around the world. We designed our curriculum by working backwards from employer requirements, ensuring that graduates are qualified and prepared with the skills needed. Learn more about hiring from AWS Education Programs.