AWS Training and Certification Blog

From chocolate sales to a career in cloud with training from AWS re/Start

Olumuyiwa (Muyiwa) Kolayemi had no experience with Amazon Web Services (AWS) when he started his tech learning journey. But after four months of hands-on learning with AWS re/Start, he launched a promising cloud career that shows no signs of slowing down almost three years later.

Unlocking cloud opportunities

In 2019, Muyiwa moved from Nigeria to Boston with his then fiancé. “I couldn’t find a job that matched my master’s degree in agricultural and environmental engineering,” says Muyiwa. “Most of the open jobs were in tech or cloud and I didn’t have those skills. I’ve always wanted to work in the tech industry and was looking for training options, but saw that bootcamps cost up to $8,000 and that just wasn’t an option for me.”

To make ends meet, Muyiwa began working as a chocolate sales associate at the Boston Public Market. It was during this time his interest in the AWS Cloud was first piqued. His college roommate had just earned an AWS Certification. “At that point, I was planning to pursue my learning journey into AWS on my own,” says Muyiwa. “But then I saw an ad for AWS re/Start, learned it was free, and had everything I needed. The timing was perfect.”

AWS re/Start is a multi-week, cohort-based workforce development training program that prepares individuals for careers in the cloud and connects them to potential employers. The program is free to the learner and focused on helping unemployed or underemployed individuals launch a new career. AWS re/Start works with collaborating organizations to deliver the curriculum and support underrepresented groups, minorities, displaced individuals, young people, and others in their reskilling journeys.

When Muyiwa first found the program, the only tech experience he had was six months of computer-networking training and an internship from more than a decade prior, which was no problem. AWS re/Start requires no prior technology experience to apply and be admitted.

Let the AWS Cloud training begin

In September 2020, Muyiwa was accepted to an AWS re/Start cohort facilitated by collaborating organization Per Scholas. Through coursework and hands-on labs, Muyiwa gained the technical skills he needed for an entry-level cloud role, including the basics of Linux administration, scripting with Python, and AWS fundamentals. He also worked with mentors and alongside members of his cohort to sharpen his professional skills, including collaboration, communication, resume writing, and interviewing. After four months, Muyiwa reached an important milestone in earning his first (of what would become many!) AWS Certification: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner.

Upon graduation, AWS re/Start connects 98% of graduates with job interview opportunities. Muyiwa was no exception and found himself considering two different job offers. Per Scholas saw that he was an excellent leader in hands-on labs and group assignments, and offered him an instructor assistant role. At the same time, a cloud systems engineer opportunity, which included a technical interview, arose.

To prepare for the technical interview, Muyiwa reached out to his AWS re/Start instructor, who suggested brushing up on provisioning, static websites, and web services—which had all been covered in the hands-on learning portion of the program. As luck would have it, the technical interview covered these topics. Muyiwa heeded the advice of his trusted mentor and his skills were so impressive that he was offered a job the very next day.

Muyiwa accepted this role, more than doubling his salary before starting the program. “I am so grateful to AWS re/Start and my mentors there for the skills and confidence I gained in cloud systems to pass this technical interview,” says Muiywa.

Not slowing down anytime soon

Muyiwa’s career has since taken off in an impressive fashion. In less than a year Muyiwa obtained a more advanced role as a platform engineer for Slalom Build, and he continues to progress his career by embracing a mindset of continuous learning. Since graduating from AWS re/Start, Muyiwa has achieved six additional AWS Certifications and joined AWS Community Builders, a program that offers technical resources, education, and networking opportunities to AWS technical enthusiasts and emerging thought leaders.

“What made me want to be a part of AWS Community Builders is that I’ve seen the possibilities that come with having the right skills and knowledge,” says Muyiwa. “I feel like I’ll be doing a good service by sharing those possibilities with the tech community.”

Muyiwa and his family. Photo by Ana Pavesi Studio.

Muyiwa continues to give back. In 2022, he organized a training in AWS Cloud computing fundamentals for students at his alma mater in Nigeria. He has also returned to Per Scholas several times as a guest speaker. With his successful career in tech, he is better able to support his family’s future: his wife and two young daughters. He is also able to invest in his daughters’ early development, support his family members’ college education, and even help some of his family in Nigeria.

“I believe in AWS re/Start,” says Muyiwa. “The program allowed me to gain the skills to break into tech and I believe others can follow this path too. Embrace continuous learning, document and share your story, and trust the process.”

Looking forward to the future with AWS

Muyiwa has already achieved many of his goals in the three years since he started his tech learning journey.

“After completing AWS re/Start, my possibilities are virtually endless,” says Muyiwa. “I’m very excited for what lies ahead in the next five or 10 years in the industry, and I believe there’s a lot that I can achieve going forward.”

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