Recently I have had the chance to be sponsored at work to attend some AWS Academy. I am very thankful for this opportunity from Illinois Tech.

The first training material AWS Academy provides is the AWS Cloud Foundations Course. This is an overview of all of the unique AWS services and a breakdown of the basic components (EC2, EBS, S3, VPC, and IAM) that make up all of there other services.

Having worked with AWS for over 12 years now, the terminology is familiar. That is not a brag about intelligence, its just that I have seen these core tools and teach about these tools in University classes for over 12 years. The good thing is that Amazon Web Services (AWS) is always expanding and adding new services. Also I am learning some of the proper AWS terms. Finally the VPC section was a really good review as Routing had been one of my weak areas.

I plan on passing this and moving on the to the Cloud Practitioner.

Some may ask, “I thought you were anti-certification, why are you taking these exams?” That statement simply isn’t true. I am not really anti-anything. Everything has its place and its time. With industry certs I fully and strongly believe this. These AWS certs themselves come with previous experience required in most cases. Some require 6 months, others of the advanced can require 1-2 years in a senior architect role.

I like to think of certifications like a drivers license exam. When studying to get a license you end up spending much more time driving, learning, getting experience. Your target to learn to drive is not just the drivers license, the goal is past the license. Your goal in learning to drive is to be able to do more than pass the driver exam – you want to take your family to the mountains, or drive to the city to see a concert, or visit family in Texas. Setting your target for just a certification exam can be too low if that is your only goal. I am a full proponent of learning in an open manner – structured projects and open deployment of applications and software as well.

One of the best quotes I ever heard in the AWS training was, “Don’t confuse mastery with familiarity.”

Note: These are my opinions expressed.