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At re: Invent 2019, we sat down with Jennifer (Jenn) Bergstrom, Software Engineer, and Linux Academy learner.

Jenn is a passionate and active member of the Linux Academy community. She is always helping to answer questions and mentor new learners along their journey. We feel very fortunate to have members like Jenn using our platform to further their own career goals while lifting up others at the same time. Hear more from her below:


Q: Where did your training with Linux Academy start?

A: My journey started when I was getting AWS certifications for work. I needed to up my skills for the work that I was doing and needed a great resource, and Linux Academy stood out.


Q: What did you like most about the platform? 

A: There’s a couple of things I really liked about Linux Academy. The instructors are awesome; I haven’t had a course yet where I didn’t genuinely enjpy the presentation of the materials. And I also really, really like the Cloud Playground. I use that all the time to test out new concepts for myself and for the work that I do. 


Q: Now that you have achieved multiple certifications, what is your motivation for continuing to train?

A: I’m driven by all of the opportunities that I keep getting because of the new education I continue to acquire. For example, I took the Big Data training that Linux Academy had available and got my certification before I was doing any machine learning or artificial intelligence work for my company, but because I have that certification I’ve been pulled onto the expert board at my company to help them design some of their latest data analytics sytems that we’re bringing into play. Opportunity is a great motivator. And, it’s just fun learning new things. 


Q: What tips can you provide for newer learners to help them succeed?

A: Download the app; have it on your smart device and make a habit of checking in with it. Put it on your calendar. Pick a Learning Path and make it a game with yourself. Maybe say, “I’m at 10 percent at the start of this week, I want to make 40 percent completion by Friday.” Just try to make it fun and find strategies that work for you. 


Q: What were some barriers to your growth and how did you overcome them?

A: Time in definitely a barrier. Sitting down for a week long course isn’t going to happen with my line of work. And being able to retain what I’ve learned past initially hearing it is another barrier I struggle with. My mitigation strategy for both of those is to install the app, view the videos multiple times (at 2.5x speed if you can and still pick up on the concepts), and then the flashcards. The flashcards are really great for reinforcing the knowledge and helping me remember the things I studied a week ago, two weeks ago etc. 


Q: How do you feel Linux Academy has changed your life?

A: If you talked to me three years ago I was a straight-up, hard-core, mainframe Java Application Developer and now I’m a Cloud Engineer. I do Solutions Architecture, I do Big Data, I do security, I do all of that. And it’s all because of the training I’ve had available to me through Linux Academy. 


Q: That sounds like it has built a lot of ownership for you. What does it feel like to learn something and apply it right away?

A: Absolutely. Being able to search and find anything I need for training- it’s empowering and an easy way to get into the field. And paired with the slack channel, it’s all so accessible. You feel like you know your instructors and can interact with them. 


Q: What you say to a learner that is afraid they don’t “belong” in the world of cloud computing?

A: Don’t let anybody tell you it’s too hard. Don’t let anybody tell you it’s something women or minorities can’t do or shouldn’t do. We often times do think about things differently because of our backgrounds; we approach things in different ways. But having that variety, that diversity, makes us stronger, makes us more powerful. And diversity gives us perspective. So be determined, know that you can do it. And don’t give up. People are very welcoming in the cloud environment. I think it’s still new enough that we’re all kindof learning and growing together. it’s not a competition. There’s not enough of us! So there’s just no reason to be competitive.


You can connect with Jenn on slack or find her via LinkedIn. She is a powerful resource and friendly mentor to those looking to make a genuine impact on the world of cloud computing.


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