NSALAB

From Goal Setting to Certification in 1.5 Months: How NSALAB sought out AWS certification and exceeded its goals by 2x

NSALAB partners with organizations to develop and implement infrastructure solutions with an effective and modern educational process.

  • 204.26%

    Increase in AWS skill growth

  • 84.65%

    Increase in Cloud Fundamentals

Challenge

NSALAB helps organizations, teams, and individuals build the tech skills needed to compete in WorldSkills International, which is a nonprofit organization that hosts biannual skills competitions. The team at NSALAB is responsible for providing training in IT skills, and they noticed a big skills gap in the industry when it came to designing, building, and constructing in the cloud.

Until about two years ago, NSALAB had been primarily focused on teaching traditional IT tasks and operations within Windows and Linux, and traditional networking. But as technology continued to evolve and the popularity of cloud computing increased, the team had a goal to master the cloud. It was when AWS introduced its own skills competition, called Cloud Computing, that the team knew they wanted to take it head on and train to compete. They formed a pilot competition as they gathered their network of members who had previously participated in the traditional IT skills competition. Their goal was to learn AWS inside and out, compete in the AWS Cloud Computing competition, and of course, win!

With a hefty goal in sight, the team was concerned about how they’d gain mastery in AWS in such a short amount of time, and knew they needed to find a platform to support them along the way. 

Solution

Before using Cloud Academy, NSALAB would conduct their own skill assessments, but didn’t have time to coach the theoretical parts of cloud computing, and lacked the resources to provide working practice in the cloud on a regular basis. They sought out a platform that could do all of this and more — with courses, skill assessments, and hands-on practice in real cloud environments. After evaluating multiple vendors, they knew Cloud Academy was their solution, and they were surprised to find even more features than they expected in the platform — including intuitive Skill Profiles that update with each new training initiative completed, which they hadn’t seen anywhere else before. 

The AWS Cloud Computing competition they were training for was primarily based on the AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam. It was important to them to have clear and straightforward guidelines to prepare for the specific certifications they were working towards, so that they didn’t waste time trying to piece together the most accurate and up-to-date content. As they rolled Cloud Academy out to the team, their Customer Success Manager, Brandon, helped them onboard and set up structured Training Plans specific to the AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam. The NSALAB team was confident the Training Plans were exactly what they needed to achieve their goal, because they provide a comprehensive skill-building experience with a specific end goal, deadlines, weekly training minimums, and reminders to keep everyone on track. 

“The most important part that helps us is having the strict step-by-step Training Plans to follow. They’re really well designed, and you always know exactly what to do next. They help keep us focused, and I think this really speeds up the process to prepare for the certification exams.”

– Aleksandr Gorbachev, Founder and Consulting Engineer at NSALAB

The NSALAB team worked closely with their clients on a tight deadline to get them certified, and they were able to double their certification goals in preparation for the skills competition. 

With the support of the Cloud Academy platform and our Customer Success Manager, Brandon, we are about to double our goal for getting members on our team certified. It feels really good. We know we’re getting the best customer service and support interactions on the product side and personnel side.”

 

“Another feature we really appreciate about Cloud Academy is the option to pay monthly based on the amount of users that need access to the platform at the time. Every other platform we evaluated only had a year-long commitment, but because of the rolling nature of our training initiatives and members, this would not work for us. This just speaks to the flexibility and customer service of Cloud Academy, which is really great.”

Outcome

From the time NSALAB started with Cloud Academy, it took only one-and-a-half months to get its team members certified as AWS Solutions Architect Associates. On top of that, they got twice as many team members certified as they had originally planned. Not only are they impressed with the Cloud Academy platform, but they’re impressed with themselves and their results, and rightfully so.  

The team is now confident in AWS, and some have also been powering through new skills and training in Docker, Kubernetes, and more. “We have a broad stack of technologies we work with, and there’s something in there for everyone.”

“It’s made it a lot easier for us to train by having access to interactive materials now. The cloud isn’t something you can learn by reading a book or just watching a video. By having the hands-on labs, playgrounds, and lab challenges in Cloud Academy, we can combine all types of learning approaches in the platform and enforce muscle memory too.”

Deploy Training Plans. Train with Purpose.