How I Got 5 AWS Certifications: Continuous Learning with AWS

Q & A with Andrew Templeton of Tuple Labs about continuous learning with AWS
Andrew, you are Engineering Director for Tuple Labs, yet you find time to regularly contribute to the AWS community. Why is this important to you?

This might make you regret interviewing me, but… because I am selfish! I genuinely enjoy working on the open source tooling, and I love contributing to materials to help newcomers to the AWS ecosystem. In addition to pure enjoyment, open source, and tutorial materials have been a great way to meet other people in the community.

Tuple Lab’s clients also appreciate t5 certificationshat developers here demonstrate knowledgeability, so we benefit from some goodwill through participating in the community during the sales process.
Do you think certifications have helped you advance in your career? And if so, which course or tracks have been most helpful?
They have, in measurable ways. While I had good example work and references before, I did not have anything to help market my skills to people who don’t know me. Because I sat for, and passed, all of my exams in quick succession (11 days), the effect was easy to see. Within days of publishing my certifications to LinkedIn, I began receiving inbound leads and requests for expertise from people who had discovered my profile through search.

With regards to which tracks have been beneficial on a day-to-day basis, the AWS Certified DevOps Engineer Professional exam’s subject materials and skills have helped the most, even if you do not want necessarily to become a DevOps engineer. In terms of the actual certification benefitting my career, I could not say for certain, since I experimented by getting and advertising them all at once.
You are heavily focused on AWS projects right now. What methods are you using to continually learn new skills?
For AWS continuous learning, I have been using a three-pronged attack.

  • Firstly, to improve fluency and knowledgeability in general, I sit down and take lots of CloudAcademy quizzes in quick succession – over 10,000 so far!
  • Secondly, in order to keep current with the rapid pace of AWS releases, I study every post to the AWS What’s New Blog and make sure I understand how these changes will affect my work.
  • Finally, to keep my practical implementation skills strong beyond natural challenges arising from Tuple’s client work, I write AWS-focused open source software tools to solve common problems I have.

Are there any trends or must-have skills that developers should be watching and learning about now that will be critical in the next 6 months to one year?
Absolutely. I have a Big Five list we talk a lot about at work when we are planning professional development: Internet of Things (IoT), Serverless Computing, Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence/Natural Language Programming (ML/AI/NLP), Software Defined Architecture, and Automation.

AWS seems to be the clear leader right now in the Cloud Space. Do you agree with this, and if so, why do you think they are so far ahead of their competitors?
AWS absolutely dominates the public cloud computing market, no matter if you measure by adoption rate, active monthly users, market share, or any other hard metric. Beyond what is measurable, AWS offers a range of cutting-edge tools that no other providers come close to: Lambda, Kinesis, API Gateway, AWS IoT… The list goes on.
AWS dominates so convincingly for a number of reasons, beyond scale and quality of service. Because AWS has seen such strong adoption in the enterprise, there’s an element of trust that most other cloud providers simply have not earned.
In terms of uptime, AWS had 2 hours, 30 minutes of downtime throughout the entire year, when the next best competitor had over 10 hours of downtime – 4 times more reliable! Finally, because AWS now has over 1.1 million monthly active users, business decision makers can choose AWS and rest assured that the IT industry will be able to provide their business with qualified talent.
Do you have any general advice for people considering moving to the cloud?
Just do it. For nearly all workload and application types, AWS is the best possible choice for a business. With appropriate IT professionals running the system, the total cost of ownership on AWS beats running an on-premises facility, colocation, and all other public cloud providers. The flexibility of AWS allows experimentation with unprecedented ease and risk-mitigation. AWS is incredibly secure at every layer for which AWS is responsible, and by using a multi-region strategy, businesses can de-risk even natural disasters. Most importantly, the constant evolution of AWS’s service offerings with new tools like Lambda and serverless computing enable the design of applications never before possible.

Andrew Templeton grows professionally through working on open source tooling and AWS Certifications.


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