AWS Training and Certification Blog

From kickboxing and writing to databases and development: Karen’s story

Karen’s journey as a developer has always, at its heart, been a love story of IT. Since Karen was a child, his family, friends, and colleagues recognized in him not only a drive to succeed, but the talent and know-how to make it happen.

At an early age, Karen realized that his specific passions revolved around databases and development. He recognized that within this specific strand of IT, there was room to be creative. Scope for innovation was important to Karen, who also spends his time writing and kickboxing. It might sound counterintuitive, but these disciplines have also instilled in him the resilience needed to follow problems through to their logical conclusion.

It’s for this reason, Karen says, that AWS Training and Certification seemed like the only logical step, since it provided a way for him to advance his talents and use the outcome to build a lifelong career in the IT industry.

His story, however, is not unique. There are hundreds of thousands of learners who are similarly inspired. We hope you enjoy Karen’s story.

Karen Tovmasyan, AWS Partner Network Ambassador from Russia

Karen Tovmasyan, Solution Architect and AWS Partner Network Ambassador

What attracted you to a career as a developer and AWS Training and Certification?

While still at university, I got a job as a trainee on the IT helpdesk of Renault in Russia. But by 2014, I wanted to move from back-office IT and tried my hand in the new DevOps movement. Eventually, I moved to the Netherlands where I had to adjust to new thinking about how to run IT. In Russia, it was still very much about on-premises IT. Here, the cloud was very much a standard.

It was like being at university and your professor tells you to forget everything you learned at school and start again. It was a big shock, but I registered an AWS account via the Linux Academy and started doing courses with my then employer, Coolblue, and went from there.

What did you learn from this process aside from cloud development?

That the job of a solutions architect is as much about communication as it is about technical knowledge. I’m not just solving my clients’ problems, I’m solving the problems of my clients’ customers. This requires great communication skills because of all the different industries I work across. This diverse experience has helped me learn what I enjoy doing and what I’m capable of.

For example, I’ve always loved database technology because for any business challenge, you have ten different ways to solve it. The exciting thing is finding the best way. It’s just like training and certification—there are lots of ways to do it, but when you find the best way, you’re half way to success.

Now that I have all the Associate certifications and one Professional, I’ve been helping others as an AWS Ambassador and as part of the Community Builders program. I have a blog, help out on Russian-language Telegram channels, and speak at events. AWS Certification sparked my passion for writing and I’ve published a book called Mastering AWS CloudFormation—a huge challenge but a brilliant learning experience.

What’s been your most rewarding moment since beginning your AWS Training?
One customer was running their own on-premises technology, but they needed a disaster recovery solution using AWS, with a recovery time objective (RTO) of just one hour. The client had 500 engineers managing the on-premises site but only needed 20 to manage the cloud. This was a radical mindset change and started them on a strategy to become cloud-first with very positive results.

It reminded me of being at university and trying Thai boxing for the first time. I looked at the other bigger, more experienced competitors and thought I could never compete. When I adjusted my mindset to one where I put the knowledge I did have to work, I achieved excellent results. Now, I’m encouraging other developers to develop success-oriented mindsets, too.

Learn more about how AWS Training and Certification can help you advance your career as a cloud developer. Hear the stories of other developers who are prioritizing cloud learning and creating a new future.