Self Learning Via Projects

When I am learning something new I always try and create a project of it and try aim it around a real world scenario, doing this allows me to understand it a lot more compared to just reading about it.

The reason I am writing a blog about this is to hopefully help those who are trying to get into a Cloud Engineering/DevOps role and to discuss what I have learned so far and what has helped me in my IT career.

When you start to learn Cloud computing and everything it has to offer, nearly the first thing you will stumble upon are certifications. Certifications are something you should be looking to gain when trying to get into this space, as well as for those who are already in this space as it keeps you up to date with what services are being released and how they work while also testing your knowledge, there does seem to be some sort of misconception that I see often though and that’s that gaining a certification without any real world experience is enough.

Certifications, again are a great way to demonstrate your understanding on how a providers services work and where to use what, but they do not give you the real word experience you get when actually deploying these services yourself outside of a controlled environment, this brings me to my main point.

If you are learning Cloud computing and trying to get your foot in the door somewhere, I highly suggest to make your own projects based on your learning outside of that controlled environment, most cloud providers give you a bit of free credit when first signing up and allow you to start deploying and playing around pretty quickly.

Creating something as simple as a Linux server, running an Apache web server is a great place to start as it gives you a nice range of experience from;

  • Deploying and configuring a Virtual Machine and Data Disks
  • Managing and tracking spend
  • Setting up logging and analytics
  • Setting up user IAM permissions
  • Setting up and managing secrets
  • Managing network configurations and security
  • ….

As you can see above just deploying something simple gives you a great starting place to actually get your hands dirty and play around with the overall management of a cloud environment as during these controlled learning environments you don’t really need to think about this stuff unless it’s the specific learning objective.

TLDR; Cloud certifications are great and will help you to learn the necessary fundamentals but real world practice is something you can’t avoid and creating your own personal projects is a great way to get some of that experience.