AWS Training and Certification Blog

Learn AWS Cloud skills based on your unique learning style

Hi, I’m Breanne. I’ve been at AWS for over two years and I work with digitally native enterprise customers. These customers are born in the cloud and typically move very quickly and adopt AWS latest technology. I am passionate about helping customers build and strategize generative AI applications.

And I’m Rohini. I’m a Solutions Architect at AWS and I work with small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). These are customers with small but mighty tech teams, and I collaborate with them to think big about their cloud vision despite their limited resources. I’m especially passionate about making cloud education accessible and equitable to new learners.

As solutions architects, we provide our customers with recommendations of how to learn the AWS Cloud from scratch. Even our friends and, in one case, our parents, have asked us how to train up in cloud. In all these conversations and in our own journeys to get AWS Certified, we have come to recognize the nuances of individuals’ learning styles. After two years of observing our own learning preferences and that of our customers, we’ve broken down the cloud education journey into four key learning styles:

Visual: You learn by seeing and reading.

Auditory: You learn by hearing and conversing.

Kinesthetic: You learn by doing.

Writing: You learn by writing.

There is no “one size fits all” technique to learning cloud technologies. One of us relies on visual and auditory learning, and one of us is more of a kinesthetic learner. AWS provides multiple avenues for users to train up, and this blog post aims to guide you toward resources that help you build your AWS Cloud skills based on your unique learning style.

Visual learning style

To most optimally comprehend new information, visual learners prefer to have visuals, images, diagrams, maps, and even words they can read in front of them to help them learn. Visual learning is also hallmarked by holistic learning rather than sequential learning. In the context of AWS, a visual learner would want to understand the broader architecture first before learning individual services in order to understand how everything works together.

AWS offers a lot of options for visual learners. Everything from AWS Blogs (there are more than 40 AWS Blogs across all different service areas and industries), customer success stories, and trainings and presentations on our YouTube channel. Additionally, nearly all the 600+ free trainings on AWS Skill Builder,our online learning center, combine narration with helpful corresponding visuals, text, and videos. There are also engaging and interactive live streams, such as AWS Training Live on Twitch. These visual presentation formats tell the story of AWS services by working backwards from a broader business problem. They approach high level concepts and use cases first and then dive deep into services.

Another way visual learners can boost their cloud education journey is by learning through physical white boarding. This technique is one that even AWS Solutions Architects use in their onboarding and training to help them understand services in terms of larger ecosystems. Whiteboarding is the process of mapping out architectures with multiple services by drawing service icons and connecting them with labeled arrows. You can augment these whiteboard diagrams by using different colors and labels. You can watch an example of whiteboarding.

Auditory learning style

Auditory learners prefer to listen and converse about content to learn quickly and retain knowledge long term. For those learning AWS, this might mean listening to AWS content while on their commute to work, attending a tech talk at a conference, or searching for cloud technology audiobooks.

Auditory learners who are interested in hearing about new services and releases can tune into AWS’ Podcast available on Spotify, Amazon music, Apple Podcasts, and more. Each episode is tailored to a specific topic including guest speakers like service team members, solutions architects, and even AWS leaders.

Beyond attending events, these learners can also reference the AWS Events page on YouTube to listen to event session recordings from AWS re:Invent, AWS re:Inforce, and many more. These videos showcase AWS event sessions throughout the year, covering new feature launches, architecture best practices, customer success stories, and more. Tune into one of our video or podcast channels to listen and learn on the go.

Kinesthetic learning style

Kinesthetic learners want to be physically performing an activity to grasp the concepts and information. When it comes to learning AWS, this translates to getting into the AWS Management Console and gaining hands-on experience to understand how it works. This could be through workshops, live sessions, or free-form experimentation. There are options available to keep your costs low while you get hands-on, empowering you to test and learn in the console. The AWS Free Tier allows you to test different AWS services until a predefined threshold. This helps you learn how to configure baseline compute, storage, networking resources without incurring fees.

Live events are another platform where learners can experiment in the cloud with focused guidance from expert AWS instructors and solutions architects. Solution Focused Immersion Days (SFIDs) are one such example. These are live sessions that focus on a specific subset of technology like data engineering, generative AI, or security posture. They include labs and presentations, and access to the AWS Console under a temporary demo account. We have a large list of SFIDs planned for 2024. Events like AWS re:Invent, AWS re:Inforce, AWS Summits, and more also offer onsite labs, bootcamps, and immersive learning options so you can get expert instruction while you have hands-on-the-keyboard.

For independent hands-on learning, explore AWS Skill Builder and its various subscription features for more than 1000+ hands-on learning options, including AWS Cloud Quest, AWS Industry Quest, and AWS Builder Labs. AWS Jam is another particularly fun way to learn by doing. As an individual or team, you’re given an open-ended, real-world challenge to solve using AWS services, but with only hints to guide you. You engage in a sandbox AWS Management Console so you can experiment to build your knowledge and skills.

Writing learning style

If you like to read over material and create your own notes based on that information, you process and learn by writing. You may make your own “textbook” of knowledge as you progress through a course. You might even make flash cards to help you prepare for an AWS Certification exam. The natural recommendation for these learners is heading over to AWS Blogs, documentation, and whitepapers.

Beyond this, there are some hidden gems that also serve as helpful platforms for writing learning styles. One such resource is AWS re:Post, a website that facilitates Q&A to and from the broader AWS user community. You can access curated knowledge from a vibrant community to help get questions answered by experts. You gain insight into how other real AWS users are building solutions, troubleshooting, and fulfilling best practices. AWS Community is another similar resource, focused on specific services or domains, like the Amazon QuickSight Community page.

Bonus: The new Amazon Q Chatbot Experience

One of our Amazon leadership principles is “Learn and Be Curious,” which means we’re encouraged to learn continuously – and we hope you do too! We’re also dedicated to streamlining that journey wherever possible.

In 2023, AWS released Amazon Q, a generative artificial intelligence (AI) powered conversational assistant that can help you understand, build, extend, and operate AWS applications. Specifically, Amazon Q is integrated into AWS documentation pages, service front pages, and even as side bar of AWS console. You can ask Amazon Q questions about AWS architecture, best practices, and even basic configuration guidance. The goal of Amazon Q in console is to help customers as they are reading and building, to minimize distractions and page navigation. You can read more about how Amazon Q is designed to streamline the cloud education journey.

With so much content out there to help learn cloud technologies, it can be hard to navigate which resources are going to be best for you to invest time in. A helpful starting point is identifying your unique learning style and optimizing your study strategy to that. If you identify with one or more of the learning styles mentioned in this blog post, we encourage you to leverage the recommended resources as a starting point for your journey! We wish you all the best as you advance your cloud skills, and hope you never stop being curious to learn more.