As I wrote earlier, I am currently pursuing my AWS Solutions Architect Associate Certificate. I thought I would take some time to elaborate on why I choose this path to start with.
The Right Time
The biggest reason thus far is because my company, LBi Software, has been using AWS for several years now. We are finally starting to take advantage of some of their more recent service offerings. Therefore, I thought it would be a great time to get certified! I would be able to apply what I learned to the projects I am currently working on.
On my most recent project, we had scheduled weekly cadence meetings with an AWS team. They were there to make sure we were on the right track. They also wanted to make sure we were using the best practices and services.
I looked forward to these meetings with an AWS Solution Architect. I could pick his brain on how I should be setting up our infrastructure, DevOps, etc. I envied the Architects ability to identify problems we may experience. He could see potential bottlenecks, and ways we could possibly scale in the future. It was in these meetings where I had a wonderful thought. I think I might want to pursue some type of advanced education that would allow me to one day help others solve their own cloud problems. It was then that I decided that I wanted to become a Cloud Expert!
In subsequent meetings, I learned about the tiered AWS partner programs. Being an AWS consulting partner allows you to build a relationship with Amazon that is beneficial to both parties. When you become a partner you will immediately get Amazon credit to use on your AWS account. You can potentially get more than $20,000 in funding to use towards "sandbox" services, essentially try before you buy. This could be huge if you are in the market to move services to the cloud or want to take advantage of cloud machine learning or artificial intelligent services. Additionally, once you become a partner there are numerous marketing opportunities that you can take advantage of.
However, there are two caveats. You need to either spend $15K a year on AWS or have 3 clients that spend $1,500 a month on AWS. My company is not quite at either benchmark yet. I do not foresee us backing away from using cloud services. The next caveat is that you need to have two AWS certifications in your organization. It can be the same employee but there is only a subset of certificates that apply. Therefore, if your company is spending big $$$ on AWS it would be worthwhile as both an employer and an employee to get an education in AWS. There are several other requirements such as client surveys and writing a publication, but once a company is able to cross off the two big requirements the other should come easily.
Not only does an AWS certification make you a more valuable employee, but it also can give you job security. Amazon has 33% of the cloud market. This is more than the combined market share of its three largest competitors! Companies looking to hire employees to help them reach higher partner programs. If you know AWS there is a great chance that this skill will be transferable to many other companies. In each of the past five years, there are constantly been a shortage of cloud engineers!
Lastly, the reason AWS got started was that they were able to offer advanced infrastructure to companies at an unworldly affordable cost. Rackspace wanted clients to sign onto 2-3 year contracts and hardware could set you back 10's of $1000's of dollars. With AWS there is no upfront cost. If something isn't working just drop it and pay for the services you used, no collateral damage! Not only does it have a cheap startup cost, but it also allows you to scale. If you have one customer today and 10,000 tomorrow, AWS can help you scale.
Cloud services are here to stay. In our line of work, we learn to embrace change. Change is the only constant in life. There is a wide range of certificates available from networking, to DevOps, developers, and architecture. There is a track for anyone. If you would like to prove yourself as a more valuable employee, or you are hoping for better opportunities you can't go wrong with an AWS certification!
I hope this post has been useful!