AWS for Beginners: A Quick Zero to Hero Guide

If your starting your journey with AWS then a clear sense of direction and destination is necessary in order for you to succeed in this venture. Amazon Web Services include a far-reaching set of services that translate into million possibilities. And this characteristic makes AWS a fun skill to learn.

This guide includes methodologies and strategies I have discovered during my journey from being a beginner to a person who has a better understanding of AWS. The key principle is to design a strategy specific to your learning style. And I’ll leave enough material for you to design your strategy.

I will be including my Resource Glossary at the end of the article (which I will be updating from time to time). ENJOY Learning AWS!

Getting Started

There is only one way to get started with AWS and that is:

Getting your hands dirty! Just create a free tier account and get started.

The main focus of this article was to kick start an AWS career for absolute beginners. So beginners who are absolutely oblivious of the depth of AWS first need to get familiar with what it can offer. Watch the following video to get started with AWS.

Choosing your Field of Expertise

Choosing your field of expertise is important in order to define your direction. If you will start arbitrarily without choosing a specific field you will be lost in the sea of services AWS provides. Choose the area you are interested in after briefly researching various options available. And then you should systematically build your concepts. Some of the options include:

  1. SysOps Engineer
  2. DevOps Engineer
  3. Developer
  4. Security Engineer
  5. Solutions Architect
  6. Data Engineer
How to research a Field of Expertise?

In order to research an area of expertise such as Data Engineer or Solutions Architect, you can study the syllabus of that specific certification. Because the certification guide provided by AWS, clearly defines the knowledge associated with that role.

For instance, if you want to be Solutions Architect read the syllabus for Solutions Architect Associate and Professional Certification.

What should be the Grey Structure of your Learning Strategy?
  1. AWS resources can be categorized among specific Resource Pools. These resource pools actually group together services that are alike. For instance if you start with Compute (processing resources) you will find EC2, ECS, Lambda, EKS, and Fargate among the services included in this resource pool. Some other resource pools include Storage, Network and Security.
  2. Start with familiarizing yourself with the basic services like IAM (Identity Access Management), EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), S3 (Simple Storage Service) and VPC (Virtual Private Cloud).
  3. For each service, you learn to start using the service to get hands-on experience.
  4. Use that service in a small-scale project so that you can understand the usage and also challenges associated with the service. You can also publish this project to build your portfolio. Remember practical knowledge is only way to actually prove that you have a skill. Simply clearing the exam won’t be beneficial in anyway.
  5. For Exam Preparation read FAQs for the specific service.
  6. By the end learn best practices and security precautions to complete your learning cycle.

Resource Glossary

  1. Exam Guide or Road Map: First you need to have an idea about the vast range of services and for that Cloud Practitioner Exam Guide and some sample questions can be a very good start.
  2. Video Lecture by FreeCodeCamp: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification Course (CLF-C01). 
  3. Practice Exam by Exam Pro.
  4. Practice Exam by AWS Skill Builder.
  5. Video Lecture by Neal Davis: Cloud Practitioner Exam Course.
  6. Video Lecture on AWS VPC: AWS VPC Beginner to Pro - Virtual Private Cloud Tutorial. As it is very important to understand networking in order to design and work with Cloud Infrastructures. This lecture will help you understand the concepts networking in terms of AWS terminologies.
  7. Cheat Sheet: Prepared by Neal Davis and Digital Cloud Training.
Problems I faced and How I solved them

Problem Statement: If you are a beginner it is okay to get overwhelmed by different services. As AWS is a huge set of different services belonging to various fields (i.e. Machine Learning, DevOps, Development, Solution Architecture Designing and Security etc.) you get confused about where to start.

Solution: 

  1. To avoid getting lost and confused just try to learn about the services that exist and then decide which specific side you want to tackle first.
  2. Drawing a mind map helped me create a defined strategy. 
  3. Try road maps provided for certification exams to craft your strategy.

Maintaining notes is the only way to remember and keep track of revisiting what you learned so far. You can try one of the following strategies I use:

  1. Keep written notes because you can remember what you write in a better way. And it is easier to revisit your own notes.
  2. Make it Public! So that you can have something to show to prove your expertise.
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