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The big problem with breaking into the world of cloud computing is that there can often be a barrier to entry which is a lack of experience in cloud. Whilst this is something that is hard to overcome (especially if you are trying to land your first technical role) it is not impossible!
There are a number of ways that you can show a prospective employer that you indeed have the skills and the knowhow required to join the world of cloud, regardless of your previous professional experience.
Nowadays, companies are more desperate for cloud professionals than ever, meaning they are willing to take on employees with no “official” work experience in cloud computing, as long as they have demonstrable hands-on experience in cloud gained through self-study.
This is why we have put together a guide for how to get experience in cloud without a job. So, without further ado let’s get started.
First of all, there are two main ways in which you can gain hands-on experience in cloud before you land your first role:
- Sandbox / Lab Environments
- Hobby Projects using your personal account
We will go through these options for getting hands on experience and judge in turn how useful they are for actual material learning, how realistic they are compared to a production environment, and how much it will actually improve your chances of landing your first cloud role.
Sandbox / Lab Environments
So, you’re training up to be a cloud professional and looking to get certified and land your first job?! Do not discount the importance of starting off in a lab environment. It is extremely important for your understanding of the individual cloud services, as well as your chances of landing a job for you to be able to navigate the cloud console and understand what building things feels like. It is also a risk-free and easy to use environment perfect for beginners looking to get stuck in.
How useful are lab environments?
Lab environments are invaluable – you can gain practical real-world cloud experience in a safe, repeatable, and structured way with no surprise bills. They are an essential part of your arsenal when it comes to demonstrating experience in cloud – alongside an aptitude for understanding how the services work together and what you can build in the cloud.
To get started with Hands on Cloud Labs, check out our Hands on Challenge Labs. They are superbly structured, easy to access and for a one-off payment you can access over 700 unique labs, which are all designed to give you a fantastic base of knowledge to build upon. To gain experience in cloud, start building with Challenge Labs today.
Hobby Projects using your personal account
A very powerful way in which you can show your hands on experience in cloud to prospective employers is to build a portfolio of hobby projects. This can show a keen understanding of the cloud, as well as a drive to continually learn. There are many different hobby projects you can choose to move forward with, however choosing the right project for you is not as easy as it sounds.
Choosing the right hobby projects for your personal portfolio requires a few different factors to be considered:
What you enjoy building
What you enjoy doing is quite self-explanatory. If you want to get into web development, or front-end development – making and hosting a website using the cloud would be a perfect idea for you to add to your portfolio. Conversely, if you aren’t so much into web development or coding, it would be a bad idea to do something that you are not particularly interested in. Not only will you not do as good of a job compared to choosing something that you enjoy, but you will not be able to convey the enthusiasm required in the job interview to land you the job!
Build a project that you could talk about for hours on end without getting bored – you want to show how much you enjoyed learning. In order to do something really well, you need to have passion for it!
Your aptitude with the cloud
When it comes to your aptitude with the cloud as it currently stands, you have to be honest with yourself. There is no good in trying to build something that is too complicated – if in the end it doesn’t work out. On the other hand, if you are building things that are too easy, you might be massively underselling yourself on how proficient you actually are. You want to choose a project that challenges you, without totally overwhelming you. This is the way in which you can consistently grow and build your knowledge base without burning out and be left with an impressive portfolio at the end of it all.
Your wider experience in IT
Your wider experience in IT is also important in this regard. If you have previous knowledge in things like software development for example, you can lean on this skill to make an impressive portfolio. If you don’t have any wider experience in IT – simply focus on your cloud skills more than anything else and build something that doesn’t require any external technologies.
To consolidate these tips, here is a list of some useful hobby projects you can build, which can give you a great head start on your job search:
- Put your CV on a website
- Create a load balanced WordPress website
- Build a turn-based game with Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon SNS (AWS)
Whilst this is the most realistic way of gaining experience in cloud, and probably the best way to learn you have to be careful! If you don’t terminate your projects when you have finished with them, you may incur some costs! Make sure to use budgets and definitely make use of the free tier to ensure this doesn’t happen.
In conclusion, it is possible to gain experience in cloud without a job. It takes passion, determination, and a lot of hard work, but it is definitely possible.
Get Started Today!
Here are the best ways get started today and gain the experience you need to land your first cloud job:
- Enroll in our Membership program to access hands-on AWS Courses and Practice tests and get AWS Certified.
- Enroll in our Hands-On Challenge Labs to get access to hands-on labs running in a sandbox account.
You may also be interested in the following articles (linked to category Cloud Career):
- 10 Tips on How to Enter the Cloud Computing Industry
- Why an AWS Certification ALONE won’t get you an AWS job
- Top-Paying Cloud Certifications and Jobs
- 5 Cloud Skills you (may) already have
- AWS Solutions Architect Job – How to Get One
- Why you should avoid AWS Exam Dumps
- Preparing For AWS Interview Questions