How to use the Cloud Resume Challenge guidebook

This essay is an excerpt from The Cloud Resume Challenge Guidebook.

You will not get the most out of the Cloud Resume Challenge Guidebook if you just read it straight through. It’s designed to accompany your hands-on learning.

This book has three main sections. In the first section, I give you some background about the Cloud Resume Challenge and break down the challenge into six smaller “chunks”, which I propose tackling over six weeks.

These chunks are designed to be independently valuable as standalone mini-projects; if you quit after 2 chunks, 3 chunks, 4 chunks, or 5 chunks, you’ll still have built something useful and interesting that you can talk about in a job interview or use as an entry point for future learning. There are many paths to a cloud career, and it’s completely okay to use just part of the Cloud Resume Challenge to fill a gap or spur further exploration.

But if you’re new to cloud, you should continue on to the second, longer section of the book, where we walk through each chunk in detail. I’ll give you a bunch of preparatory reading suggestions to help you get your head around the new concepts introduced in each section. I’ll give you some pointers and hints on how to tackle each chunk of work.

Perhaps most importantly, each chunk includes “mods” at the end - extensions you can make to the core challenge project in order to practice key skills. These mods come in three flavors:

• Developer Mods

• DevOps Mods

• Security Mods

I would suggest picking one set of mods to add on as you proceed through the book, depending on what kind of cloud job you are looking for. For example, if you do the security mods, by the end of the challenge you will have gained additional hands-on experience with secure DNS, least privilege access, API security, and secure software supply chains - all great discussion topics for a cloud security job interview.

What I will NOT do in this section is give you step-by-step “click here, then run this command”-style instructions for how to complete the challenge. Don’t worry - even with the additional resources and guidance you’ll find in these pages, the learning will still come from you!

The third and final section of the book, which you can read at any time, comprises six essays (corresponding to the six challenge chunks) that provide deeper advice on how to leverage your work on the challenge toward a successful cloud career.

The book contains links to many of what I consider to be the finest learning resources in the cloud world, some of which are true hidden gems you won’t see recommended everywhere; you need to follow these links, do the exercises, and play with the interactive environments. You need to do the mods, not just read about them. The Cloud Resume Challenge isn’t about passively consuming information. You truly will get out of it what you put into it.

Now since I wrote this book to help you get a job in IT, it’s only fair that we conclude this section with a nod to horror master Stephen King: the author of perhaps the most famous book written about IT.

(checks notes) Oh, that book is called “It”? Never mind.

But King did write another wonderful book about his own specialty, the craft of writing. On Writing - a book that I highly recommend, even for people who don’t want to become professional novelists - is only incidentally about how to structure good sentences and craft a compelling plot. It’s mostly about King’s personal journey.

King had no Ivy League pedigree or wealthy connections. He worked in a laundry and wrote at nights in his doublewide trailer, filling wastebaskets with rejected story scraps until finally he made it big. Stephen King’s talents are unique, but On Writing has played a key role in the development of thousands of other successful writers because King helps you see a path through the slog of rejection and setbacks to the happy ending - he makes you believe that success is possible, as long as you just don’t give up.

And that’s the final thing this book (call it On Getting a Cloud Job) is designed to do. Throughout, I’ve included stories from Cloud Resume Challengers who’ve gone on to start new careers in the cloud - some from older forms of IT, others from completely non-tech backgrounds like plumbing and HR. These stories are real, but they’re not unique. They’ve inspired me, and I hope they’ll inspire you, too, when you’re up working late at night. I hope they’ll help you see that if you put in the work, your cloud future is 100% attainable. And it all starts by building something real.

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