The usual cliché; I absolutely love to challenge myself. How else would this ex-Mainframe developer, turned Business Analyst end up 2x AWS Certified, working as a Cloud Engineer at one of the biggest banks in the sub-Saharan Africa.

My journey to being AWS Certified began almost 3 years ago. My ex-employer’s adoption of Cloud as a strategy and subsequent partnering with AWS presented a “new, shiny thing” that made such sense to me. Cloud is very central to digital transformation, ensuring that I didn’t get left behind was very exciting to me.

How did I learn AWS?

I mentioned earlier that my ex-employer adopted Cloud. My job at the time however did not involve any form of cloud engineering, so a lot of what I learned is self-taught, and mostly done outside of office hours.

My early days of learning AWS were made up of countless hours of watching webinars — I still watch a lot of these because of the rate of innovation, there is always a new feature or product to learn about. I invested a lot of time reading the whitepapers too. I also opened an AWS account and started experimenting with the various services available.

Certification

I soon decided to validate what I thought I knew, and a quick sign up with A Cloud Guru soon followed. I registered for the Solutions Architect Associate course. I also booked my exam slot, to help keep me focused.

I wrote and passed at first attempt. The sense of accomplishment can never be put to words, getting this certification meant everything to me. I was soon to learn though that it was not a sudden guarantee of opportunities. Many rejections followed — some really crushing ones thrown in the mix too just to toughen me up a bit I guess :-).

A Career as a Cloud Engineer

I had made up my mind that I wanted to pursue a full-time career as a Cloud Engineer — Cloud Migration Strategies, Cloud Architecture designs being my main areas of interest.

Six months into my job search an opportunity became available at my current employer. I joined as a Cloud Engineer almost 4 months ago with strong focus on exactly the main areas of interest that I mentioned earlier.

Two months into my new job I decided to pursue the Developer Associate certification. I followed the same method I did when preparing for the Solutions Architect Associate — I also wrote and passed.

I am now studying for the SysOps Admin Associate and hoping to write this soon.

What’s next

I have spent the last 3 years upskilling myself and looking for opportunities in Cloud. One can never say that they’ve arrived but I am proud of how far I’ve come. I have always enjoyed helping others wherever I can, so I have now started mentoring others who are looking to embark on their own Cloud journeys.

We held an AWS Gameday at work a couple of months back where I had the opportunity to mentor a team — passion unlocked! 🙂

At the AWS GameDay

Other opportunities presented by this new Cloud Engineering role

Earlier this year we were treated to our very first AWS Lofts when this was hosted for an entire month in Johannesburg. I attended, and had an opportunity to meet so many other Cloud geeks — it was an awesome time.

At the AWS Lofts attending the Women In the Cloud Session

It was always a dream to attend the AWS Summit in Cape Town — this year I had the opportunity to attend. I learned so much and had such an amazing time.

At the AWS Summit Cape Town with my amazing colleagues

We recently held a Women in Cloud conference, I was one of the speakers — speaking on my journey to Cloud. I enjoyed sharing, and it’s always so worthwhile when your story motivates others. I am hoping to see so many other women join me on this journey. It has proved to be truly rewarding, I cannot wait to see all else that lies ahead.

At the Women In Cloud Conference