Cloud Academy: What’s Coming In 2020

Content recap

It’s been a fantastic 12 months in the Cloud Academy Content Team. We published more content in 2019 than we have published in any previous year. Just take a look at these numbers: 

  • 92 hands-on labs and lab challenges
  • 227 courses
  • 40 learning paths

These results are a joint effort – made possible by your feedback and suggestions. Thank you for your support in 2019!   The highlight for us in the last 12 months has been working with you to define and build content that has helped you achieve your business goals.  

New labs

A common theme we heard early in 2019 was that our hands-on labs really helped you master technical concepts, which is why we released 92 new labs in 2019. The Cloud Academy Labs Team really stayed on the pulse of new services throughout the year. The team released an Amazon SageMaker Notebook Playground Lab within two weeks of the services being announced at re:invent. Outstanding! 

The Labs Team also rolled out new lab challenges at scale this year. Lab challenges help you tackle and solve problems in a live AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud environment, and they accelerate learning with assessed, practical exercises. Lab challenges have been well received and are proving to be a successful format. We welcome your suggestions on how we can make lab challenges even more useful for you in 2020. 

New courses

We built and released 227 new courses in 2019. To put that number in perspective, 227 new courses in 12 months equates to around 18 new courses a month — approximately 4 courses a week. Our courses are generally between 45 and 60 minutes in length – so even conservatively that equates to 170 hours of new content we built for you in 2019. That is more than 100 feature films of learning content the team produced!  We plan to double that number in 2020, so let me know what content you want to see this year. 

New learning paths

We blended our new courses, labs and assessments to create the 40 Learning Paths we released in 2019. A Learning Path is a guided collection of learning assets.  As a learner, you can do all the steps in a Learning Path or you can choose the steps that appeal to you.  The Learning Path format works well as I think everyone has their own style of learning. Some of us are readers. Some of us are listeners. Some of us learn best by trying things out ourselves. I’m certainly the latter. I learn the most from watching others more experienced than me,  then trying things out myself. The bottom line is that there is no right way to learn.  Everyone is different. The blend of courses, labs and assessments provides you with a choice in how you to learn new concepts and services. Our Learning Paths can then be assigned to teams as Training Plans,  so you have choice and control over how you and your teams learn. One of the benefits of our platform is that it enables you as customers to create your own Training Plans. A highlight for me this year has been seeing you build custom Training Plans that helped you drive your transformation programs and achieve your business goals. Please reach out to me personally if you would like some help aligning your training and transformation programs. 

2019 snapshot

A highlight for us as a team in 2019 was that we delivered on nearly all of the customer use cases we set out to answer. I say “nearly all” as there is no right way of getting business benefits from Cloud Services, so we continually challenge ourselves to do better in helping you.  We do this as the majority of us in the content team have been Solution Architects, Developers or DevOps Engineers in the past. We know from experience that there is rarely an easy way to solving a business problem with technology.  Generally,  it comes down to you or me, in a role, trying to solve a difficult technical problem as quickly as possible.  More often than not,  with no real blueprint, guide or resource to help. 

Luckily the cloud vendors (AWS, Azure, GCP, Alibaba) provide a huge array of services to help us.  You just have to know about those services and how to use them. Our team work full time at keeping you up to date with the latest cloud services.  We work all the time at making sure we help you select, apply and implement Cloud Services to solve business problems. Helping you with this goal goes deep into everything we do. It is our passion! As a team we get a lot of satisfaction out of helping you be successful. Please keep telling us what we did well and what we can do next to help you.   Here’s a quick snapshot of what we set out to do and what we delivered in 2019: 

Building code at scale

Answering your requests we doubled down on covering programing languages during Q1 and Q2 of 2019. We started with releasing the Deep Learning Bootcamp. Thanks to a huge effort by Jeremy Cook we created a comprehensive set of learning paths for Python, Java and SQL in Q2.  Our focus on development languages continues in 2020 – we have new content on JavaScript, Full Stack Developer,  and Python for Data Science already underway for Q1. Want something else? Let me know 

Delivering and managing applications at scale

Helping you select and combine cloud tools – and then showing you how to use those tools to get the best business results – is a passion for us. We released Building, Deploying, and Running Containers in Production to help you work with containers in real-time and Building and Deploying a Cloud Native Application to help you refactor monolithic applications to use microservices. We helped you leverage AI services to solve business problems with Using Azure AI Services to Build Customer Solutions, Applying Machine Learning and AI Services on AWS, and Machine Learning on Google Cloud Platform.

Thanks to our relationship with QA we now have more than 200 subject matter experts in our organization.  We are focused on helping you learn how to use cloud services to solve business problems and to deliver the best business outcomes for your organization. Implementing transformation at scale requires enterprise-wide programs and processes. We released a comprehensive suite of business management content for you this year – ITIL4, PRINCE2, TOGAF9, SCRUM, and AGILE. These proven frameworks are crucial to increasing baseline skills and moving fast at scale. 

Security

Following your feedback, we released three comprehensive learning paths for the most requested security topics and certifications: Cyber PrimerCISSP and CISMP. These extensive security learning paths provide over 60 hours of learning content, including 20+ hands-on security labs. Our Security Team works hard to ensure you can master security best practices in your organization and advance your career opportunities.

Implementing DevOps Toolchains

You wanted to know how to implement DevOps in your organizations, so we released three DevOps Playbooks: DevOps Playbook – Moving to a DevOps Culture, DevOps Playbook – CI/CD Tools and Services, and Building, Deploying, and Running Containers in Production. You also wanted help to learn how to combine DevOps tools together to solve business problems, so the DevOps team released a number of courses, labs, and learning paths to specifically meet this requirement: Combining DevOps Tools at Scale – Jenkins, Sonarcube, Artifactory, Splunk, and Jira. Deploying Containerized Applications with Red Hat OpenShift,  The Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD). 

Thanks to QA’s relationship with RedHat, we released seven Linux courses in December. We have a Site Reliability Engineer and DevSecOps coming very soon via our relationship with The DevOps Institute.

New certifications and services

AWS

In Q2, we doubled down on certification content to ensure our certification learning paths remain the most effective learning content for passing certifications. We refreshed all AWS certifications in line with new AWS exam guides: AWS Solution Architect, AWS Solution Architect Professional, AWS DevOps Engineer Professional, and AWS Machine Learning Specialty Learning paths.

Azure

The Azure Team released AZ-900, AZ-500, AZ-300, AZ-301, AZ-103, and AZ-203. Additionally, the team met customer requests for help with Microsoft 365 by releasing the MS-100 Learning Path.

Google Cloud Platform

The Google Cloud Platform Team released Google Associate Cloud Engineer and updated the Google Cloud Architect Certification. Customers often thank us for helping them pass an exam and achieve a certificate which is genuinely rewarding for us as we all live and breathe cloud certifications.

What’s new for 2020?

QA is an authorized training partner for AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, so we now we can help with certifications in ways other training providers cannot. In 2020, we will be introducing live sessions so you have the opportunity to book and attend Vendor Authorized Training courses within a Cloud Academy Learning Path. This blend will provide you with even more choice for how you prepare for cloud certifications.

We have a considerable catalog of content already in development for you in 2020. Our partnership with QA enables us to deliver an unrivaled breadth and depth of content across multiple channels — all designed to give you more choice and control over how you and your teams learn. 

Here are just a few of the highlights that are planned for 2020:

Data Science

  • Python for Data Science
  • Data Science 101

Business Transformation

  • Applying AGILE to Transform your Business
  • AGILE Scrum Master Blended – Managing Conflict

Azure

  • AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies Exam
  • DP-201: Designing an Azure Data Solution Learning Path (preview)
  • Azure DevOps

AWS

  • Implementing multi-account security in AWS
  • Configuring GuardDuty to manage multiple accounts for threat detection
  • Designing cost-optimized network architectures

Google Cloud Platform

  • Building and Testing Applications on Google Cloud Platform
  • Implementing a GCP Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
  • Planning and Configuring a Google Cloud Platform Solution

DevOps

  • Using Atlassian Bamboo for CI/CD
  • Site Reliability Engineer Certification SRE

Programming

  • Introduction to the Go Programming Language
  • Full Stack Developer Learning Path

Please keep your suggestions and feedback coming in 2020! As always, you can find an up-t0-date list of our new content in our Content Roadmap.

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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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