What an ordinary programmer did to learn AWS from scratch and how I study it now (translated)

What an ordinary programmer did to learn AWS from scratch and how I study it now.
2021.04.23

About

This is a translation of the following article:

What an ordinary programmer did to learn AWS from scratch and how I study it now

I'm Yui (@MayForBlue) from the Osaka office.

It's been two months since I started working at ClassMethod in the role of AWS Engineer. As a memorandum, I'd like to write down what I did to learn AWS as a former programmer, and how I'm learning AWS now. I hope this will be useful for those who want to learn AWS.

Table of Contents

The first thing I did to learn AWS

My Skills at the time

At the time (about 10 months ago), I had been a programmer for a little over a year and had no practical experience nor knowledge of infrastructure or cloud computing. At work, I was mainly a programmer for business applications.

Why did I decide to study AWS?

In the beginning, I wanted to learn about "infrastructure", not AWS. This is because I wanted to know what the infrastructure of the application I was building was like and how the software worked. However, even though I wanted to study infrastructure, I didn't know what to do, and in the course of my research, I learned that there was a service called AWS and that AWS had certifications, so I decided to aim for certification first.

I decided to aim for the certification because I thought I would be able to gain knowledge widely and evenly, and also because I thought I would be able to move forward without losing my way if I had a goal of certification.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate

There were 11 certification exams for AWS at the time, but I decided to go with AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA). It is because SAA is a relatively easy qualification for beginners to obtain, and there are many study methods on the Internet for those who have obtained it.

This is what I felt after I got it, but I highly recommend SAA because you can learn not only the essential knowledge to touch AWS, but also generic design best practices and basic concepts to design infrastructure and cloud environment.

Good study methods

The following is a list of some of the best ways to learn about AWS, not just for the SAA, but also as a foundation for working with AWS in the future.

Udemy

The first thing I did was to watch this video: This is all you need to know! AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate Exam Breakthrough Course (22 hours complete course for beginners) (Japanese) . It was great because of the detailed explanations and the many hands-on activities provided. It was difficult to understand everything from the beginning, but I tried to understand it by watching it many times and doing hands-on activities and further researching on my own where I did not understand. One of the reasons I like Udemy is that it can be played back at double speed and it is easy to study because you can take notes in the browser.

Note by translator: For English speakers, There are several courses for SAA: Ultimate AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate 2021, AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate 2020

AWS Certification Exam Text AWS Certified Solution Architect - Associate

I read this book in parallel after watching the videos and understanding some of the terminology: AWS Certification Exam Text AWS Certified Solution Architect-Associate (Japanese). Reading the book was good for me because it helped me organize my knowledge and, conversely, made me aware of areas I didn't understand. This book explains a wide range of services in an easy-to-understand manner, and the points that need to be understood are easy to understand, so I recommend it even if your goal is not to obtain a certification. I still go back and read it from time to time, and it has been a great help to me.

Note by translator: For English speakers, there are several books for SAA certification. Please check Amazon.com : aws certified solutions architect associate

Black Belt

As I studied, I looked at the AWS service-specific materials (Japanese) (AWS Black Belt Online Seminar series *1) published by the AWS official to learn more about a specific service. I highly recommend it as it explains things more concisely and understandably than the official documentation. If there are YouTube videos available, it is better to watch them.

Note by translator: For English speakers, please check AWS official youtube channel and Additional Resources for AWS Events to know more about a specific AWS service.

Other

For SAA specifically, I passed the exam by doing the above, the official AWS practice exam, and the online question bank.

Current study methods

After getting the SAA, the hurdle for AWS was lowered a little, and I started to think that AWS is interesting, and I found myself at the present. My current main study methods are as follows:

  • Doing tutorials
  • Improve my infrastructure knowledge
  • Look at the official documentation/BlackBelt.

Do tutorials

After getting an overview of the services I'm interested in from the official documentation, I try to do the tutorials first. This is because I feel that by doing things by myself, I can have questions without pretending to understand, and I can learn what kind of service it is and what kind of knowledge I need. AWS services have tutorials in their official documentation, so I've been working on them myself. (You can find them by searching for "**(service name) tutorial")

Improve your infrastructure knowledge

If you want to get deeper into AWS, you need to have knowledge not only of AWS but also of infrastructure. In my case, I started by studying AWS instead of studying infrastructure, but now I'm consciously studying infrastructure itself. I feel that by deepening my knowledge of the infrastructure, I can deepen my understanding of AWS services. For example, to understand Route53, knowledge of DNS is essential. I often start with technical books for technologies I want to learn from the basics. Recently, I've been outputting the books I read as book reviews.

Use the official documentation/Black Belt

Read the official documentation, but if you find that you don't understand something due to lack of knowledge, or if you want to know more about this service, read the aforementioned documentation. I use Black Belt to find out more about the service.

Finally

What I have written here is just an example. When I first wanted to learn about AWS, I didn't know where to start, and I had no one around me to ask until my last job, so I wrote this with the hope that it would be helpful to people in the same situation as me at the time. It's not that you have to read the official documentation from the beginning! Rather, I think it's a good idea to choose what suits you best from the study methods of various people, and as you study, think about how to deepen your understanding and what you need to do to get what you want.

Infrastructure is difficult to learn at first, but nowadays, thanks to the spread of cloud computing, the cost of learning is much lower, and that's why I think the need to study infrastructure and cloud computing is increasing, even if you are not an infrastructure engineer.

I'm still searching for ways to study, so if you have any recommendations on how to study, please let me know! If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! Thank you for reading to the end.

That's all from Yui (@MayForBlue) in the Osaka office.

I highly recommend the following blogs to help you figure out how to learn!

Official Documentation for AWS Certifications

AWS Certification

脚注

  1. AWS Black Belt Online Seminar is an online seminar series hosted by AWS Japan, broken down into different themes: "By Service", "By Solution", and "By Industry".