AWS Training and Certification Blog

The time’s right for recent graduates to develop cloud skills

Editor’s note: This post is a letter to recent graduates from Kevin Kelly, the director of Cloud Career Training Programs at Amazon Web Services (AWS). He shares his cloud education and training philosophy and how it will continue to impact our daily lives. He includes advice on cloud learning for graduates to consider while exploring their next steps. Know a recent graduate who might be interested? Share this post with them. Even if you aren’t a graduate but are still new to the cloud, we encourage you to read further as several best practices and resources are shared.

Dear Class of 2022 Graduates,

I can’t believe it’s that time of year again. A quick turn of the tassel on your mortarboard symbolized all your hard work and now you can proudly say, “I graduated!”

Whatever path you intend to take, you are likely to encounter the cloud. You may know that the cloud is used in industries of all types all over the globe—from finance, to sports, to entertainment, and beyond. More and more, you don’t have to be in a technical role to be impacted by cloud in your day to day work. It’s pervasive across all we do at home and at work – just look at all the innovation, services, and information surrounding us!

Employers today are looking for individuals who have cloud skills, and AWS Cloud skills in particular are in demand. With this knowledge and expertise, you can stand out from the crowd, indicating to future employers that you are motivated to stay up date with fast moving technologies, like the cloud, used in many industries.

No matter where your skills—or even knowledge of the cloud—are today, I encourage you to check it out. There are simple ways to learn more about the cloud. It’s not one-size-fits-all.

You could start dabbling in free, digital training courses to build some foundational cloud knowledge (we also have free training for individuals as young as 13). Or perhaps you’d like to get hands-on with the technology in order to learn—like I do.

Years ago, I had a mentor who told me to “push all the buttons.” What he meant was that I should setup test areas, sandboxes, or isolated accounts where I could test my question or idea out before asking for help. This encouraged me to experiment, which allowed me to retain skills learned. Through this practice, like in our hands-on labs, I learned many things that I wouldn’t have learned had I not been trying things out for myself. The cloud is a great enabler for learning by doing. When you’re not afraid to try things, you can accelerate your experiential learning—and build your confidence.

Most of you are experts at learning from peers, influencers, and others online. The same is true for cloud. Learning best practices from others can be a tremendous help. Check out LinkedIn, AWS blogs, Twitch, and YouTube where you can find tips from fellow learners. Also look for cloud communities where you can learn from others, gain support when you’re stuck, and celebrate your achievements. For example, if you’ve completed a qualifying course from AWS Educate, AWS re/Start, or AWS Academy, look for an invitation to join the AWS Emerging Talent Community (ETC). The ETC not only provides learning resources tailored to your career goals but allows you to connect with learners across the globe and find encouragement to keep motivated when it gets challenging. And it will—anything worth doing will have its difficult moments. But keep going!

It’s also important to network. Take the opportunity to get to know those in your cloud communities and share your interests and abilities, ask about job opportunities, and seek career advice and support. Networking can easily lead you to job opportunities you didn’t know existed. For example, Antonio O’Donnell, an AWS re/Start graduate, learned about his current employer, Slalom, in a Slack channel for Latinos in technology called Techqueria.

I was once part of a study group focused on helping me prepare for an AWS Certification exam. This group was terrific and I’d often pose technical questions to fellow members and get back insights I hadn’t considered that helped me understand how to arrive at the correct answer to sample exam questions. Additionally, I learned about others’ test taking strategies, preparation techniques, and received and gave encouragement and support. Being part of a community as you’re learning can make the journey so much more rewarding.

Speaking of certification, my final suggestion is to validate the knowledge you gain and build your credibility by earning an AWS Certification. You can start out with the foundational level certification, which is designed for any role, especially those who aren’t technical, but may benefit from having some AWS Cloud knowledge. Adding an industry certification to your resume (and social media profile) represents the hard work you’ve put into learning a practical, in-demand skill. As you gain more skills and interest, you can deepen your expertise with associate-level certifications, or even continue onto professional and specialty-level. Don’t limit yourself!

At AWS, we’re constantly innovating. That means that your cloud learning journey never truly stops. There will always be an opportunity to expand your knowledge and up-level your cloud skills. No matter where you might be in your education, technical experience, or career journey, there is a training that’s right for you. I’m excited to see where it takes you!

Wishing you good luck in your learning,

Kevin Kelly

Director of Cloud Career Training Programs, AWS

Kevin Kelly, director of Cloud Career Training Programs at AWS.Kevin Kelly is the director of Cloud Career Training Programs at Amazon Web Services (AWS) and leads the development of AWS Educate, AWS Academy, and AWS re/Start, which help prepare diverse learners to pursue in-demand cloud roles and help employers identify skilled entry-level cloud talent.