Learn Cloud Computing from scratch – a step by step path

I usually get more than 10 emails a week from CloudAcademy.com members that have heard of Cloud Computing and would like to start learning it. They are usually confused by thousands of different terms and platforms. And you know what? I totally understand them. In fact, my team is working on a set of very basic content to start learning cloud computing from scratch. A complete learning path for beginners.
Most of them ask me what’s the best way to start and from where. This article is just about it. I don’t want to refer only to Cloud Academy as a good resource, in fact we have competitors and friends which offer great resources as well.

Step 1: What do you really know?

That’s what you should ask yourself. You know nothing about Cloud Computing but I’m assuming you have some basic IT skills: Windows, Linux basic knowledge, some basic networking skills and an idea of how your operating system works. Those are really basic things and yet enough to start working with a cloud computing platform in a few months.
Check out what are the Prerequisites to learn cloud computing.
If you don’t have any IT skills, there is still hope. No worries. This article could be a bit too hard for you, but you can try to follow it. Ask for our help where you get stuck!
Our quizzes are often the best way to understand how much you know about Cloud and IT Skills. Our library with AWS quizzes has good general quizzes to start. If you fail in the first 10 of them (starting from zero), well, you have something to work on 🙂
Let’s start!

Step 2: Get confident with Virtualization and Cloud concepts

That’s the very first step to understand why cloud computing changes a lot of things, not only at a technical level. Virtualization is a technology that enables cloud and allow companies to consolidate their data centers. Long story short: for every cloud computing platform you have a related virtualization system, the one that allows Amazon or Google to create and manage new virtual servers in their data centers.
You may follow our course on virtualization technologies and learn what we mean by virtualized systems, hosts and guests, and understand why the first companies like VMware have been so successful with this technology.
There are many concepts about scalability and redundancy that you will discover once you start using a cloud platform. Do you know what an Hypervisor is? No? Well, start our course below!

Step 3: Fundamentals about Cloud Computing

Ok, it’s time to start learning about the basic concepts of Cloud Computing. You have so many introductory courses to cloud computing that it’s almost impossible to suggest the best one. Our library has a very well done course to get started with Cloud Computing but many others are just as good.
This is a pretty straightforward video to understand the main concept in order to implement a cloud computing infrastructure:

Of course if you want to have more details, our course is going to teach you the difference about Public and Private cloud and what are the advantages and disadvantages in the long term for cloud companies. You should take into account that everything changes: the technical side and the economical side.
Introduction to cloud computing - learn from scratch
You still have something not clear, probably. Don’t worries, we just need to put together all the puzzle pieces. For example, the different types of Cloud computing. Software as a Service is something you use everyday, accessing your Gmail account or any other application where you store data online and process information; some of them are built in a PaaS environment. It means that Google or Amazon – or other providers like Heroku – have built a developer friendly platform where you can push your code and let it scale.
IaaS is actually what you’ll meet the most in this initial journey about Cloud Computiung. It is very connected to the concept of virtualization because you can create virtual instances in the cloud. What changes here is how you control them and how they change companies’ life, providing a concrete stack of reliability and availability that was accessible only to big corporations, up to a few years ago.

Step 4: Why Linux and Networking matter so much for Cloud computing

The Linux operating system will become your best friend with the first approach to Cloud Computing. If you are using an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) platform, chances are that Linux will be the operating system you’ll use. Today we still don’t have courses about Linux but some are coming online, as written in our roadmap.
Linux is the main choice of companies that work with web applications and scalable environments. Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform, for example, are built around many Linux concepts. In some cases you will find also software like Docker, that are specifically built for Linux: you can’t ignore them because, as a developer or system administrator, you will find them more and more important for your work.
How to learn Linux? The best way is starting using it and then looking for documentation and basic courses online. In CloudAcademy.com we usually show Debian or Ubuntu in our courses. Those are the best Linux distributions to start with.

Step 5: Start with Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform

This is the right moment to start talking about a real cloud platform. There are several platforms, but Amazon Web Services is still the public cloud leader with more than 80% of the market. Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure are growing rapidly and in fact we are creating more and more courses about them, as some companies start considering them for different workloads or to migrate.
First of all: take in consideration Amazon Web Services. That’s a very complex and wide platform, composed by almost 50 different services. We have a very short introductory course about Amazon Web Services that you should watch right now:
Introduction to Amazon Web Services - CloudAcademy.com
Once you have a better idea of how Amazon Web Services is structured, you may start watching all the other courses about AWS. We have both very basic and advanced courses. Every course comes with a good amount of examples that you can directly follow.

Step 7 – Hands-on on Amazon Web Services starting your first instance!

Let’s take a pause from theory and try to access and launch your first Linux instance in Amazon Web Services. You can do that with Cloud Academy Labs. (they are available only with our PRO Plan). You have several steps to complete and we guide you trough all of them, while you learn how to interact with the console and the AWS environment.
Create your first instance with EC2
That’s all for now. In any case you should make sure to get a free trial on Cloud Academy and see yourself what kind of approach works better for you. Every course, quiz and lab that I have mentioned here is available in our free trial and at a very convenient price with our early PRO plan at only $250.
Feel free to contact us and get more information on how to get started with Cloud computing, or just drop us a comment!

Written by

Stefano Bellasio

Stefano's a computer engineering guy that loves building products. He's the CEO and co-founder of CloudAcademy.com. All his experience is in the web hosting and cloud computing industry where he started other companies before. He loves talking with all readers of Cloud Academy blog, so feel free to email him at stefano@cloudacademy.com!

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