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Thank you for sharing your story with us and for letting Linux Academy be part of your journey, Trevor. Congratulations on becoming an AWS Certified Developer and an AWS SysOps Administrator! Tell us a little bit about what you do. What is your current role?

Thank you for having me. I am currently a Principal Engineer and I have many areas of responsibility. First, I develop and maintain a team website hosted virtually that other organizations use to interact and submit requests to our team. Second, I work with different vendors providing products and services to our customer and connecting their Cloud-based application into our network. Third, I work with other internal teams to migrate their dedicated hardware to a hybrid Cloud environment.

Awesome! Is this what you always pictured yourself doing?

When I first started working, the cloud did not even exist. However, I always did want to work with people and show how technology could help them grow their revenue or develop a more efficient process. Cloud technology has made that even easier.

How did you first get into technology and AWS? Were you always interested in AWS?

student interview Trevor Macdonald I first got involved with technology as a child. Opening up the original Nintendo system on Christmas when I was 6 opened my eyes to the wonder of technology. From there, I had fantastic parents and teachers that encouraged my curiosity and showed me what technology could do, even as simple as using Java to draw a house, instead of drawing by hand. I got interested in AWS out of necessity, but once I got involved in AWS, I was hooked, not just in AWS but in the virtual world as a whole.

You now have 3 of the 3 AWS Associate certs—that’s amazing! What made you decide to get AWS certified?

Continual learning made me decide to get AWS certified. I saw that many industries were using AWS and other cloud providers to host their data and run their applications. Since I had completed my undergrad and an MBA, I knew I needed to learn and not get complacent.  With the needs of the business, getting AWS Certified was the perfect step to take.

You mentioned in your LinkedIn post that “fate had other plans” and the plans you made for yourself changed. How did you feel about the shift and how did you handle it? Does this happen often in your line of work?

I 100% believe in the mantra that “Change Energizes Us.” In the technology world, change is the only constant. Someone is always doing something better today than they did it yesterday. I would be lying if I did not say I was disappointed that my plans fell through, but everything always happens for a reason. When this happens, I try to stay positive and look at the new opportunity as the opportunity I was meant to have. Everything always works out.

What was your study plan? How did you prepare for the exam?

My study plan was to immerse myself into Linux Academy. I would schedule out time every day to watch the videos, usually one section a day, then I would go back and do the labs. I would also use the links in the course to read the Amazon whitepapers on sections I was still having trouble with and utilize the Linux Academy Slack community for clarification. Next, I would take the test two to three times and make notes on what I got wrong and re-visit either the video on that topic or re-read the whitepaper. Finally, I would visit the AWS site and take one of their practice tests.

How did you discover Linux Academy?

I discovered Linux Academy through a mentor. I told her I was looking to learn more about Cloud Technology and she had recently read an article on Inc.com about Linux Academy. I checked it out and was instantly hooked.

Which courses did you take at Linux Academy?

I took introductory classes on AWS, OpenStack, Azure, and CompTIA. From there, I completed the AWS Solutions Architect, Certified Developer, and SysOps courses. Next will be the Microsoft 70-533 Implementing Azure Infrastructure Solutions.

Did you have any trouble balancing your work, training for AWS, and your personal life?

Time management was definitely key. I carved out time early in the morning before my family was up or late at night when it is quiet in the house. Further, Linux Academy’s scheduler feature is amazing in that you tell it how many minutes/hours you have to dedicate and not only do you get an email reminder, it also shows how long it will take to complete the class. It is a great tool that should be highlighted further.

What keeps you motivated to study and train for these exams?

This one sentence: Either change and adapt or be left behind.

What is the best advice you have for someone else who is preparing for an AWS certification?

Breathe. You got this. Trust your studying. During the exam for questions you are unsure of, eliminate the answers you know are wrong to give better odds on selecting the right one.

Do you plan on expanding to other technologies besides AWS? Will you be using Linux Academy to learn about other technologies?

Yes. I really want to be well rounded in cloud technology. I just passed my AWS SysOps certification last week and now I plan to learn Microsoft Azure so I can offer insight and help people make sound decisions on the cloud technology of their choice. 

Thank you for telling us more about your journey, Trevor. We are so grateful to have you in our Linux Academy family and can’t wait to celebrate your future achievements with you! 


Do you have an interview coming up for an AWS-centered role? Keep these questions in mind as you prepare. AWS solution architect interview questions

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