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Insider advice for cloud beginners—visit AWS Skills Center

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I come from a traditional project management background with limited technical experience, and yet I’ve always been intrigued by the cloud. I recently found myself looking for a new career opportunity and AWS Skills Center Seattle became a key part of my journey.

Like many of you, I was a beginner and a bit intimidated by technology. But I also knew I’d have to take some chances to get the career I really wanted. I’m well on my way to changing my career trajectory, so I wanted to share my story. Trust me—if I can do it, you can too!

Kicking off my cloud journey with a road trip

I first moved to the United Sates in 2022 when my wife got accepted for a postdoctoral research position at Washington State University. Before long, I was working in a full-time role at a company in Spokane. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and I needed to find another job.

While visiting Seattle over Memorial Day weekend, I spotted an advertisement for AWS Skills Center in the railway station. I scanned the QR code and learned about their free upcoming cloud training sessions. Feeling motivated, I immediately signed up to get started. AWS learner Girish Chandan

Discovering the benefits of AWS Skills Center firsthand

As soon as I arrived for my three-day stay in Seattle, I could tell that the center was a great place for in-person learning. I began with a course that went over the basics of the AWS Cloud.

The instructors walked my classmates and me through the course materials and answered all our questions—no matter how basic. I really enjoyed interacting with my classmates during the breaks because there’s a lot of information sharing that happens outside the classroom.

Since I had three 8-hour days to maximize my training opportunities, I also had time to explore all the cool interactive cloud exhibits at the AWS Skills Center. The entire onsite experience was like a hands-on learning hub for cloud technology. I found the whole atmosphere to be super innovative and tech-forward with a focus on collaboration.

Learning from true cloud experts

One of the best things about AWS Skills Center is the instructors. During my career, I’ve noticed that a lot of technical experts aren’t able to connect with learners at different knowledge levels. That wasn’t the case with the AWS Skills Center instructors. They have a great grasp of the subject matter and the ability to teach it well.

I could tell how much the instructors cared about teaching for success. My primary instructors, Jerrell Tate and Doug Perez, had a knack for simplifying complex concepts that made learning enjoyable. They patiently answered all our questions in a way that the entire class could understand. Plus, I loved getting feedback from smart people with such deep cloud expertise.

Sharing some advice for cloud-curious beginners

Learner and AWS expert at AWS Skills CenterI know it can be very intimidating to try to break into the tech world. Many of us get caught up in the notion that everything’s highly technical, but it really isn’t. AWS makes it easy for anyone to start learning about the cloud.

My friends are probably tired of hearing this, but I can’t stop recommending AWS Skills Center. Even if you’re not into tech or the cloud, the minute you visit the facility, you’ll feel motivated to learn. That said, here are three tips I’d recommend for anyone curious about the cloud:

  • Don’t wait! Just go to one of the three AWS Skills Center locations in Seattle, WA, Arlington, VA, or Cape Town, South Africa, and see for yourself. You don’t even have to take any classes—just check out some exhibits and go at your own pace. And when you’re ready to take a class, they offer free in-person and virtual classes available to anyone no matter where you live. I love that you don’t have to be physically near a center to take classes.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions, because you’ll probably never be around more experienced cloud experts who know how to teach beginners.
  • Immerse yourself in hands-on projects and demo labs. There’s no replacement for learning by doing.

Growing my career with new cloud skills

I’m proud to say that I’ve earned my AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification and am currently working for an IT consulting company. I honestly believe that the AWS Certification and free skills training helped me land this job by showing my employer that I’m committed to continuous learning and able to adapt to future technologies. And having a foundational understanding of AWS services gives me the confidence to be more proactive at work, contribute more in project discussions, and ask good questions. I’m also motivated to continue upskilling.

Along with my valuable network of fellow AWS learners, I plan to keep learning through AWS webinars, community forums, AWS training live on Twitch, and continuous practice on AWS Skill Builder and the AWS Free Tier. My next goal is to achieve an AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate, so I can work with the solutions architects within my organization to support customers. My entire experience has been so inspirational, the only thing I wish I would have done differently is just start sooner!

About AWS Skills Centers

AWS Skills Centers are designed for people with little to no technology background who are curious about cloud computing. Visitors can access fun and engaging cloud skills training and interactive exhibits, as well as career networking and job placement events with local employers and organizations. The three centers are located in Seattle, Washington; Arlington, Virginia; and Cape Town, South Africa. Learn more.

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