A few years ago, I was working for one of the largest consulting firms in the world. I was recruited into their Emerging Tech department and was in a traditional software development/consulting role. I am very grateful that this company invested in its talent, and there were always incredible learning opportunities. One of my first clients was a large cruise line and our presence on the project was growing rapidly – I was one of the first on the ground, and it ended up being well over a 200-person project. One area we needed help in was DevOps – which, believe it or not – was a relatively new concept, so I asked my lead to attend a DevOps Academy within the firm. During the DevOps Academy, they touched on AWS; I was immediately in awe, and a mentor that I had respected nudged me and said, “If you like this AWS stuff, they have full training you can attend and will pay for you to get certified.” That was basically it – I was hooked! I took the AWS Developer training (and back then very few people in the firm even had that cert), got certified, and joined the firm’s AWS strategic partnership. OK, so that was how I did it several years ago – but how can you do it now?
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything” – George Bernard Shaw
The hardest obstacle for moving into an AWS role will not be learning the required skills, it will be changing your mindset! You need to reinvent yourself for the cloud, and IT is constantly changing.
The good news is that the learning curve is not as steep as you think. Everything that happens in a traditional IT setting still occurs in the cloud. Furthermore, everything that is hot right now in IT – DevOps, automation, containers, etc. – is synergistic with the cloud. You just need to shift your paradigm.
Stick with What You Know
Learn to leverage your existing skillset. I had a development background and decided to pursue the CDA. If you are already a Solutions Architect, pursue the Solutions Architect certification. There are several different paths based on your expertise. My advice: Stick with what you are passionate about and that enthusiasm will shine through in the cloud!
Solve Old Problems in a New Way
Think of typical IT problems you solve now, and begin to think about how you might solve them in the cloud. This is probably the simplest way to understand the cloud and what your new cloud role will look like. Furthermore, when you decide to make the transition official, being able to walk through cloud solutions during interviews and in your new role will be crucial. Many companies are still in the process of migrating, and you being able to offer an end to end migration solution from on-premises to cloud will be golden!
Take the First Step
Start to wrap your head around the cloud and take a beginner course; for example, learn about servers in the cloud with Introduction to EC2. As with everything in IT, hands-on is key. The more time spent in the AWS environment, the better. Good luck and embrace this exciting time in your career!