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Employee Spotlight – Tia Williams, AWS Training Architect

Posted on April 1, 2019 by OliviaOlivia

Our Training Architects are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of online learning and helping professionals become cloud and Linux experts! Hear from one of our AWS Training Architects, Tia Williams, below and see why she loves working at Linux Academy. Make sure to check out her new AWS Certified Advanced Networking Specialty Course that is launching in April!

Currently listening to: I am a huge music fan. I like to listen to everything from old school R&B and hip-hop to top 40, Jazz and cross-over music. The day just flies by when I listen to music. My family is also a huge fans of movies. I have a huge movie catalog.

1. What do you do at Linux Academy?

I’m an AWS Training Architect at Linux Academy. I’ve been with Linux Academy for almost one year. As a Training Architect, I design, develop, and support AWS courses. I also spend a great deal of time interacting with students in the Linux Academy community, on Quora, and on Social Media.

2. What did you do before this?

Before I started at Linux Academy, I worked as an instructor and I designed, developed, and taught data center technologies such as converged infrastructure, storage, and networking in the classroom. I’ve written courses for two world-class storage and networking vendors, and have traveled and taught all over the world. Teaching has allowed me to travel to several countries including Japan, Taiwan, Italy, Canada, and the Netherlands.

3. What do you like most about what you do?

I love teaching. I love seeing the impact on the lives of others. I’ve been an IT instructor for almost 10 years. Teaching is a dream job for me. I get to do what I love, work from home, and help others improve their lives. Doesn’t get much better than that.

4. What’s your favorite part of working at Linux Academy?

Seeing the finished product when I develop a course and interacting with students. Seeing the achievement messages from students and how proud they are of their accomplishments. It’s like in a small way I helped change that person’s life in some way. It’s like paying it forward. Helping one person can affect the lives of so many others. Working at Linux Academy helps me extend my reach and help more people than I ever could have reached previously.

5. How do you live out one of our core 5 missions?

Every day I help others through learning. I am always either answering questions, engaging students, or providing guidance. As I write my courses, I think about what a student needs to know. Foundational knowledge plus what do they need to know to use the technology in the real world. I build my lessons around that. Anything I can do to empower the student to be successful, I put it into my work. I live the same principles in life. I also try to empower people in my personal life with knowledge as well. There’s a lot of knowledge floating around in my head, and I’m trying to share it. Lol.

6. What are you currently learning?

My heart is in infrastructure, so I’m working on improving my scripting abilities. If I was a tech SuperWoman, scripting would be my kryptonite. I can typically get the job done, but if I had to pick one area where I would like to improve myself, that would be it.

7. What do you like to do in your free time?

The thing I love most to do in my free time right now is to hang out with my grandson. He’s 3 ½ and a lot of fun. You never know what kids will say or do. When he wants me to come pick him up, he says “come HERE and kiss me.” I try to spend as much time with him as I can. I also love cycling and my husband and I ride on local trails. I also like video games, retro video games mostly, but I do play a few newer games too.

8. Favorite food

I could give a short list of foods I consider my favorites. But my all-time favorite food is pizza. I could eat pizza every day. I also love mac-and-cheese, gourmet burgers, fried rice, and beef-and-broccoli. In the winter I also like comfort foods like pot pies, soups, and stews.

9. Favorite quote and why?

“Aint no-thing like me, except me,” – Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy. I like the quote because everyone is unique. I don’t want to be like everyone else, that’s boring. I also love to say, “Every day I do something to make a better version of me.” Basically, I’m not the same person I was yesterday, and I won’t be the same person tomorrow. One day I’ll look back and be able to see where I started, and see the awesome person that I’ve become.

10. What’s something you’re really excited about right now?

The latest Avengers movie is due soon. My family doesn’t go out to movies much anymore, but my youngest daughter has created a “save the date” appointment so we can go as a family. She’s in college so its one of the few things that we get to still do as a family. I’m also excited because cycling season is starting soon and I’ll get to break out my bike.

11. What do you like to collect?

Sci-Fi and Super Hero memorabilia. I have characters from all the different series of Star Trek, Battle Star Galactica (new). I also have a lot of sci-fi movies and TV series. Completely unrelated, but is also a random interesting fact about me: I have an electric RC car that can run at speeds up to 60+ MPH. My hobbies are all over the place. My dad loved cars and I have a need for speed.

12. If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and why?

I would want to be a superhero with multiple powers. The power to make others feel empathy. I think the world would be very different if we could all understand what others are going through. I would also like to manipulate time. There’s not enough time in a day to do everything I want to do. Plus, I’d like to see the world at different points in time past, present, and future.

13. You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?

I guess I would be a new kind of color. Color invokes emotions and tied to characteristics. I would be a blend of yellow because I’m always happy and optimistic, green because I’m generous, blue because I’m loyal and trustworthy, and red because I am a strong and persistent person.

14. Teach us something we may not know in 10 sentences or less.

A strategic planning technique that is often used for project planning that can also be applied to network design is SWOT analysis. The SWOT analysis is used to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT).

When considering a customer’s requirement, identify their Strengths: What are they doing right? What’s working? Are there any project champions that can help push the initiative? You will want to incorporate strengths into the design, or at the very least, “don’t fix what ain’t broken.” Weakness: What isn’t working? What are their pain points? Opportunity: What are the potential areas for improvement? Are there additional benefits we can provide that the customer hasn’t thought of? Threats: Is there anything that’s a threat to the project? Could be a person who doesn’t believe in the project, budget, or other obstacles. If you ask the right questions, the SWOT analysis approach can benefit any project, personal or professional, and can significantly increase the probability of success.

15. If you could interview one person (dead or alive), who would it be?

My great-grandmother. She was such a person of strength and character, and I would love to ask her questions about her life. She played a key role in me becoming the person that I am today. I would actually also like to talk to her so that she can see the person I have become. She would be proud.

16. What’s one thing on your bucket list?

Visiting Australia. Although after listening to Adrian (Linux Academy AWS Training Architect living in Australia), I think I’ll go to New Zealand instead. Lol. Too many deadly creatures in Australia.

17. You have a new course being released this month, can you tell us about it?

My new course is the AWS Certified Advanced Networking Specialty. It is an exam prep course, but it’s actually more than that. There are use cases and in the first use case, we take time to talk about foundational concepts related to network design. We take a customer requirement, analyze that requirement and break it down into an AWS design and then implement it. I wanted to teach foundational concepts related to design as that is what someone might be required to do as part of a job requirement. Very proud of the content in the course and hoping students will thoroughly enjoy it.


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