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2018 Was a Big Year for Content at Cloud Academy

As Head of Content at Cloud Academy I work closely with our customers and my domain leads to prioritize quarterly content plans that will achieve the best outcomes for our customers.

We started 2018 with two content objectives: To show customer teams how to use Cloud Services to solve business problems, and to help customer team members be successful in their respective roles.

We plan role-based learning paths around three content foundation stones: selecting and combining cloud services to create effective business solutions; applying AI and ML services to solve business problems; and driving Best Practices in cloud security, cloud architecture, and development. “Cloud Services” is a vast topic – having focus is a key discipline in the Cloud Academy Content Team.

In Q1 we focused on Machine Learning. We launched the Introduction to Machine Learning on Google Cloud Platform Learning Path, the Introduction to Azure Machine Learning Path and the Introduction to Machine Learning on AWS Learning Paths.  

These comprehensive learning paths combine courses, Hands-on Labs and Skill Assessments to get you started building solutions with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning on Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services.

Next –  we showed you how to apply ML and AI services to solve business problems. We showed you how to Use Azure AI Services to Build Customer Solutions and How to Apply Machine Learning and AI Services on AWS.  

In February, AWS released the Cloud Practitioner Certification and an update to the AWS Solution Architect Associate Certification exam. I love both of these certs for different reasons. The AWS Solution Architect Associate Certification remains our most popular certification, so it was a highlight for me to see our new Solutions Architect-Associate Certification Preparation for AWS – Feb 2018 Learning Path published in line with the new AWS exam.

Our AWS Content Lead Stuart Scott and his team then released new versions of the Certified Developer-Associate Certification Preparation for AWS – June 2018  and SysOps Administrator-Associate Certification Preparation for AWS – 2018 learning paths in the same manner.

We cover all nine of the AWS certifications with regularly updated content that is designed to help you master the skills required to succeed with the certification exam.

I admit to holding a high bar for certification content due in part to my two years working as a Partner Manager at AWS. In that role, helping partners and customers gain AWS certifications was a top priority. I strongly believe the Cloud Academy content and platform that we have today are the most mature and comprehensive solutions for mastering AWS and passing the AWS certifications.

The AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification is designed for non-technical teams – potentially making AWS more accessible to a wider audience, a direction I really welcome.  The AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification provides a good baseline for business teams looking to learn the fundamentals of cloud services, and I was excited to see our Cloud Practitioner Certification Preparation for AWS go live in line with the release of the AWS Certification Exam.

The AWS Certified Practitioner helps non-technical teams – but we wanted to do more to help your organizations acquire the skills needed to succeed with cloud projects. So we released two business-focused learning paths based on the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework to help you accelerate enterprise cloud migration.

The first Learning Path – Cloud Adoption Framework – Cloud Skills for Executive Teams provides a simple way for executive teams to gain the knowledge and perspective required to support and drive Cloud Adoption projects in their organization.

The second learning path – Cloud Adoption Framework – Cloud Skills for Business Teams introduces business teams to DevOps principles, AGILE practices and how they can get started evaluating and integrating cloud services in business projects.

The skills gained by individuals in completing either of these Cloud Adoption Framework based learning paths are aggregated under the CAF perspectives in your organization’s Knowledge Graph. This means you have a dashboard view of how you are progressing as an organization by acquiring the cloud skills required to progress forward on the cloud maturity curve. Most important I think – the Cloud Academy Training Plans then enable you to allocate training to teams and individuals so you can drive acquiring the skills needed to move the organization forward in the Cloud Transformation Maturity Model.

The Cloud Academy Cloud Adoption Skill Assessment can be applied to Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform or any of the other Cloud Adoption Frameworks.  

For technical teams, we launched three role-based migration learning paths to help you solve real-world challenges and be successful with your migration projects. Two Architecture Focused Best Practice Scenarios Getting Started With Migrating to AWS, and Migrating From an End-of-Life Data Center to AWS  We also built a developer focused on learning paths showing you how to refactor a Monolithic .NET Application to Use Microservices.

Helping you and your team master DevOps tools and best practices is a key focus for us in helping you learn how to combine cloud services together to solve business problems. In 2018 Jeremy Cook’s DevOps team released two comprehensive DevOps Playbooks to help your organization move to a DevOps culture and start applying DevOps principles and practices.   

The DevOps Playbook – Moving to a DevOps Culture Learning Path provides a guided path for any organization to begin the journey to a DevOps culture and to begin realizing the benefits of DevOps thinking and practices. Content in this learning path is built in collaboration with our partner The DevOps Institute. The DevOps Foundations content provides teams with a common, objective understanding of DevOps principles and practices; this learning path also prepares team members to sit the DevOps Foundations Certification exam.  

The second DevOps Playbook – CI/CD Tools and Services – provides practical instruction on how to implement and benefit from DevOps deployment tools and services. This learning path provides an excellent baseline for any organization looking to maintain a common process and best practices in deployment toolchains.

We worked closely with our partners HashiCorp, Terraform, Docker, Ansible, Aviatrix, and SpotInst to grow the depth and breadth of DevOps tools and services. We showed you how to Solve Infrastructure challenges with Terraform, Introduced you to secure environments with HashiCorp Identity and helped you master Kubernetes and prepare for CKA certification with The Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) Exam Preparation Learning Path.

GDPR compliance was a hard requirement in 2018, so we doubled down on ensuring that you knew about GDPR and how cloud services could help you meet the GDPR compliance requirements with the GDPR: Using AWS Compliance Enabling Services learning path. To help you be successful in solving real-world challenges, we ran a series of webinars on achieving GDPR compliance with industry leader Sumo Logic.

Working with partners Catalit and Calculated Systems enabled us to increase the depth of  Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning content for you in 2018. We show you how to Build a Solution Using Artificial Intelligence and IoT, and Calalit’s Zero to Deep Learning Bootcamp – Introduction to Data Science and Machine Learning is a comprehensive guide to mastering Deep Learning principles and practices.

We have a breadth of new partner content already in development in 2019 which I think will really help you solve problems and be successful in your roles.

Microsoft kept us busy on the certification front in 2018 with the release of the AZ-100 and AZ-101 exams at Microsoft Ignite  – followed by the AZ-203, AZ-300, and AZ-301 exams – to phase out the Azure 70-533, 70-532, and 70-535 exams. Our Azure lead Guy Hummel and his team published the Microsoft Azure Infrastructure and Deployment: AZ-100 Exam Preparation Learning Path and have built the majority of the AZ-101, AZ-203, AZ-300, and AZ-301 learning path content, aiming to go live in early 2019.

One of our constant goals is to keep innovating on how we make content more engaging and effective. We released shorter bite-sized content combined with a live lab, and in November our Labs team led by Logan Rakai released an assessment function for our Hands-on Labs.

This innovation automatically assesses whether a step or steps in a hands-on lab have been completed successfully by the student. This function is great as it proves your ability to perform a particular skill.

Our top ten AWS and Azure labs now have an assessment component built in and we are continually rolling out more assessed labs in 2019.  

In 2018 we delivered a record 121 courses, 35 labs, and 28 learning paths! We are already well underway with building content for 2019. We’ll be showing you how you can apply the new services released at AWS re:Invent and Microsoft Ignite to create solutions and solve business problems.  We’ll be helping you apply design patterns and showing you how to select the right cloud services when building enterprise solutions. We’ll also be helping you save time and effort when deploying and managing code at scale.

Here’s a sneak preview of content already in development for 2019: Python Developer – Master Class, Java Developer – Master Class, Combining DevOps tools at scale – Bamboo Bitbucket JIRA Sonarqube Splunk Zephyr, Create a Jenkins CICD Pipeline to Build a Docker Image with Splunk, Passing the Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) certification, Using Alexa to Perform Voice Activated CI/CD Build and Deployments,  Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication on Azure, Configuring Serverless Computing on Azure, Designing for Azure Identity Management, Developing Long-Running Tasks on Azure, Creating an App on Azure Service Fabric, Microsoft 365 Certified Enterprise Administrator Expert – MS-100 and MS-101 Exam Preparation.

Please let us know what content you would like to see in 2019!

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Written by

Andrew Larkin

Andrew is an AWS certified professional who is passionate about helping others learn how to use and gain benefit from AWS technologies. Andrew has worked for AWS and for AWS technology partners Ooyala and Adobe. His favorite Amazon leadership principle is "Customer Obsession" as everything AWS starts with the customer. Passions around work are cycling and surfing, and having a laugh about the lessons learnt trying to launch two daughters and a few start ups.

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