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– We interviewed Philip Dowie, Cloud Architect, API Talent for his perspective on AWS training. He is based in Wellington, NZ and has completed the Systems Operations on AWS and the Advanced Architecting on AWS courses.

About Philip: A 15+ year IT pro, Philip has achieved the Associate level AWS certification for Solutions Architects and has Professional level certification in sight.

What do you value about instructor-led AWS training courses? What’s in it for you?

What I get out of it is validation that I know what I need to know.

I have attended courses designed for IT professionals already using the AWS platform and familiar with the technology. I’ve been working with the platform day in and day out for the past two years. For me these courses are for validating my readiness to take a certification exam. I do the course to make sure that there’s nothing that I’m missing. If I learn something new, that’s a bonus.

Have you learned new things during the AWS Training courses you have attended?

What I do tend to learn from are little tidbits and snippets that aren’t going to be in the exam so aren’t in the specific course outline, but come about as part of the instructor’s explanations and examples.

During the Advanced Architecting on AWS course the instructor shared an example of a particular mechanism for obtaining cross account authentication that I hadn’t seen before. I didn’t go to the course looking for this or with questions about cross account authentication, but I walked away having learned something new that I could use.

This course also gave me exposure to Direct Connect, something that I may not otherwise encounter because there’s not quite a presence in New Zealand. The course didn’t actually have us play around with it because you can’t just spin it up; you need to make a real connection when you provision it. But I have an idea of it … I was exposed to it when I may not have gotten that exposure elsewhere. That was of value from the perspective of building my knowledge of and experience with AWS.

What do you like about the instructor-led classroom-training format?

I tend to absorb the information like a sponge in these three-day courses. If I was watching some slides online I would get distracted before I was able to take in all this information.

Plus, there is much more that happens when there is a real person there instructing the class. There will be additional conversation; they can follow tangents and dig a bit deeper into something of interest to the group. In some cases the answers to questions come from other course participants who are breathing the AWS platform day to day.

How do you learn / familiarise yourself with new technology solutions?

I learn best when I’m given a problem that someone actually wants to solve. I don’t get a lot of new learning out of theoretical examples. Every day I work on solutions for real world problems I encounter on behalf of my clients. Because I actually will use these solutions with my clients and therefore they need to work, I persist through the more challenging spots and learn what I need to learn in order to figure it out. I don’t have the luxury of giving up, which I might do if I became bored with trying to find a solution to a theoretical problem, because it doesn’t have real world value or implications.