Landing your early cloud career role: Blog #1 – Technical cloud roles at Amazon Web Services
Authors’ notes: This is article one of a three-part series that is ideal for recent college and university graduates or early career professionals interested in applying for technical cloud roles, including associate solutions architect, associate technical trainer, associate technical account manager, associate customer solutions manager, and associate professional services consultant at AWS.
Are you interested in starting your professional cloud career at Amazon Web Service (AWS) but aren’t sure where to start? Maybe you’re wondering what job roles are right for you, how to learn more about the cloud, if you have the right skills, or what it means to prepare for the interview.
We had a lot of the same questions on our respective journeys to become associate solutions architects at AWS. Whether it’s with AWS or another company that’s working with the AWS Cloud, it’s important to take time to prepare for an interview, so we want to share tips and resources to help you kick-start your cloud career.
Throughout this three-part blog series, we’ll explain how to prepare for technical cloud roles, how to take stock of your current skill set, exercises and resources to help you develop your hard and soft skills, and tips on preparing for a great interview.
In this first blog, we’ll cover five early career cloud roles offered at AWS, the qualifications for each, and how AWS Tech U can accelerate your skills when you start your career in any of the roles.
How we started at AWS
Our journey as associate solution architects started as residents in the AWS Tech U program. AWS Tech U is an accelerated career-development program for new employees starting technical roles at AWS. Divided into two specialized six-month phases, AWS Tech U offers time and space to develop professional skills and technical expertise in the AWS Cloud.
During the first six-month phase, residents learn in-demand cloud skills through instructor-led training, hands-on labs, and self-paced coursework. Residents are mentored by an AWS Tech U site program manager and receive regular feedback and coaching from AWS Tech U instructors and AWS experts. During the second six-month phase, residents join their receiving teams to shadow customer meetings, receive mentorship, and engage in self-directed learning toward role-specific milestones and AWS Certifications.
Typical residents in the AWS Tech U program are recent university graduates with limited to no technical work experience and early technical career professionals with up to two years of technical work experience. Recent university graduates may have a degree in computer science, computer engineering, management information systems, and/or equivalent training, certifications, related science/technical fields experience. An applicant’s technical skills can include networking, storage, security, databases, analytics, architecture, infrastructure, operating systems, and web or app development. Ideal candidates possess critical and analytical thinking and problem-solving skills, have a professional demeanor, are comfortable giving presentations, and have great communication skills.
Tech U roles at AWS
Now, let’s talk about the five technical cloud computing roles that AWS Tech U trains for within AWS and the skills for success. Roles include associate solutions architect, associate technical trainer, associate technical account manager, associate customer solutions manager, or associate professional services consultant. These roles have many overlapping characteristics, including the fact that they’re customer-facing consulting roles requiring a varying depth and breadth of technical expertise. AWS Tech U offers accelerated skills development for all five roles during the first six months.
Associate solutions architects (SAs) help customers build infrastructures and applications at scale and collaborate across AWS to help customers craft highly scalable, flexible, and resilient cloud architectures that address customer business problems. As a trusted customer advocate, associate SAs help organizations understand best practices around cloud-based solutions and how to migrate existing workloads to the cloud. Primary responsibilities include identifying and developing opportunities, establishing technical credibility in sales cycles, capturing and conveying best practices through architectural guidance, developing technical content, hosting architecture workshops and events, and driving AWS innovation by capturing customer needs.
Associate technical trainers (TTs) deliver virtual and in-person classroom training content to AWS customers to support their adoption and usage of AWS. Roles in the TT job family deliver training content to developers, administrators, architects, and AWS Partners to drive the adoption and usage of AWS infrastructure services. Primary responsibilities include delivering training related to highly technical products to technical audiences, rapidly learning new technical concepts, and supporting timely updates, revisions, and improvements of existing courses and materials.
Associate technical account managers (TAMs) support AWS customers’ creative and transformative spirit of innovation across all technologies. Associate TAMs provide advocacy and strategic technical guidance to help plan and build solutions using best practices and proactively keep customers’ AWS environments operationally healthy. Associate TAMs do this by leading both tactical and strategic activities, such as issue escalation, launch support planning, training initiatives, operational reviews, cost optimization, and more. Primary responsibilities include becoming a trusted advisor to customers for both technical and business outcomes, working strategically to add long-term value for both customers and AWS, and contributing to the enterprise support and AWS communities.
Associate customer solutions managers (CSMs) interface with customer and AWS leadership, driving collaboration between the other account groups, product/engineering teams, and planning and supporting major workload migrations. Associate CSMs help manage cadence through reporting and tracking functions along the way. They not only bring the best of AWS to our customers, they proactively help solve customers’ challenges through new ideas, tools, and mechanisms. Primary responsibilities include accelerating service adoption, ensuring delivery excellence, and customer advocacy.
Associate professional services (ProServe) consultants are responsible for accelerating our customers’ achievement of their business outcomes by helping them build architectures and cloud-based IT models in collaboration with the other account groups, such as solutions architecture and TAMs. They deliver proof-of-concept projects, provide topical workshops, and lead implementation projects. Primary responsibilities include working alongside customers to achieve specific outcomes throughout their cloud-adoption journey, delivering focused guidance through specialty practices, and sharing their experience in technical webinars, whitepapers, and blog posts.
These roles are not too different than what you could expect from a technology consultancy firm or roles within an enterprise organization. You’re likely to encounter similar roles referred to as infrastructure architect, cloud delivery architect, customer solutions engineer, and many more that also require both technical knowledge and the ability to work with customers. Therefore, whether you’re planning to pursue a cloud role at AWS or elsewhere, these hard and soft skills are going to be transferable.
Stay tuned for Blog #2: How to prepare for your interview
In blog 2 of this series, we’ll cover how to prepare for your interview with detailed examples of your previous work experiences and how to practice describing them.
Check out these blogs to help you learn more about building skills for careers in the cloud:
- 4 steps closer to your AWS Cloud career
- Make the most of AWS Training and Certification free offerings
- My learning path to become an AWS solutions architect
- Successful solutions architects do these five things
Are you interested in AWS Tech U? Watch these testimonials from AWS Tech U graduates: