Hall of Fame
Here we celebrate the stories of those who crush the Cloud Resume Challenge. Many of these folks had no previous IT experience. All of them are now certified cloud practitioners.
Cha’Diamond: From HR to Software Engineer
“After a few HR jobs after graduating, I realized I was more fascinated with technology and found my HR work boring.
“Less than 4 months after completing the Cloud Resume Challenge (it honestly would have been sooner if not for a merger), I started my new career as a software engineer at Procter & Gamble. I had only the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification at the time and while I believe it helped somewhat, the challenge experience spoke more volumes than the cert.
“My advice for future challengers: Do not give up! You may get frustrated, you may cry and there will be days you want to just quit. Just keep going and those hard days will pay off. Also, always ask questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question.
Darius: from IT to Cloud Engineer in 1 month
“I had been looking for some cloud projects that I could add to my resume and I came across this challenge by to create an online resume using AWS and some coding. After reading the instructions, I felt like I was up for the challenge! It took me a few days to complete the challenge.
“About a month later, I accepted an offer for a Cloud Engineer position! I will be a part of a cloud migration team at ECS. They are also doing some things with Chef, Jenkins, Docker and Kubernetes so I get the cloud and devops experience I am looking for! I’m so excited! I really used my experience from the resume challenge to sell my AWS experience during this interview.”
Romulo: from challenge to Microsoft
“I got an offer from Microsoft in Las Colinas, TX. I’ll be an Azure Support Engineer in Networking.
“The challenge helped me to answer a lot of questions during the tech interview. I told them about how I troubleshooted the DNS issues that I had, how I configured my cloud architecture, everything helped me got this job.
“Of course my knowledge of networking, TCP/IP and the 2 AWS certifications (SAA and Developer A) helped also, but doing the project you suggested helped me with real life problems.”
Stacy: from IT Service Desk Manager to Cloud Operations Engineer
“I’d been working in IT for several years with a Windows administration focus, but I wanted to specialize in cloud for career growth.
“When I found the Cloud Resume Challenge, I thought it looked like a great way to learn cloud tech by getting hands-on experience and completing a project that could be added to a resume or used as a talking point in interviews.
“During interviews, when I was asked about AWS experience, what AWS services I was familiar with, or technical questions (the difference between public vs. private subnets, describe a 3-tier architecture), I was able to bring up my work in the challenge as examples. Due to the wide variety of commonly used AWS services that were incorporated into the challenge, it was easy to use that as a talking point.
“My advice for other upskillers: Don’t give up! The jobs are out there, but you need to find the right environment for growth. A lot of cloud jobs are geared towards senior-level people with years of experience, but there are companies out there that are willing to grow their own.
“Doing the Cloud Resume Challenge will set you apart and show that you have the curiosity, resilience, and motivation to make a career in cloud.”
Nana: from Help Desk to Cloud Native Engineer
Nana, based in New York City, already had some technical experience as a help desk administrator, but needed something more relevant on his resume to achieve his dream of getting a full-time cloud engineering job.
Nana says it took him about 4 weeks, coding about 5 hours each day to complete the challenge. “It was the kind of project that established full-stack as well as DevOps knowledge.”
About his interviewing experience, Nana noted: “The resume challenge helped me demonstrate important skills, particularly understanding of CICD automation, DNS (and how the internet works), SCM/git, and serverless architecture. Hiring managers seemed to appreciate rounded developers who also had some experience with agile and the DevOps culture.”
Nana used his first round of interviews, mostly with Fortune 500 companies, to identify remaining gaps in his knowledge, then took a 4-month break from interviewing to pursue more project-based learning. About six months after initially starting the Cloud Resume Challenge, he landed a job as a cloud native engineer at Accenture.
For future challengers, Nana offers this wisdom: “Get hands-on, and don’t rush it!”
Jakob: Clinical lab technician turned DevOps Engineer
“The Cloud Resume Challenge helped me a great deal because it gave me something to talk about and refer back to.
“When being asked questions about scalability I was able to point out how hosting a static site out of an S3 bucket with Cloud Front as a CDN made my site infinitely scalable without increasing my AWS bill. Everyone loves opportunities at frugality without sacrificing performance. Additionally, I found Lambda functions something many people were curious about.
“But by far the most useful thing was my understanding and implementation of infrastructure as code. Setting up pipelines to test and deploy my changes seemed like an unnecessary step at first, but I think that being able to discuss how it made quick and safe iterations possible made me a much more attractive hire.”
Brooke: Verizon analyst to Associate DevOps Engineer
Brooke was able to start her professional cloud journey just 1 to 2 months after completing the challenge.
“I relied heavily on the Cloud Resume Challenge during my interview. My interviewer happened to also complete the challenge, so it was a great talking point. I was asked specifically about the Lambda function, the CI/CD pipeline I built, Route 53, and API Gateway. I also shared my GitHub with the people who interviewed me.
“Regardless of whether your interviewer has completed the challenge or not, you will have great talking points. Many of the same skills will transfer over to your job in the cloud.”
Tejas’ story: the road from help desk to DevOps Engineer
“Before I took on the Cloud Resume Challenge, I worked as an IT Operations Engineer providing level 1 support for windows servers, end-users in our SOC, and opened/managed technical bridges for company-wide IT outages.
“I found this challenge on r/AWSCertifications after passing my CSAA test and thought it would be a great way to get more hands on exposure with AWS and to buff up my resume a bit. Though there were a lot of steps I didn’t completely understand at first, I had a ton of fun googling through any roadblocks I faced and reading through pages (and pages) of documentation on various services to complete the challenge.
“Having this challenge under my belt was a HUGE hit with potential employers. Often interviewers had seen my resume site – and its code repo - and were interested in learning more.
“When asked about my certifications, I’d be able to speak to not only learning the AWS services but also applying and leveraging them to build solutions. This allowed me to showcase my passion for this subject and how dedicated I was to breaking into the cloud field– even though my job responsibilities at the time didn’t provide cloud-based experience.
Jerry: from respiratory therapist to AWS
How long it took Jerry to compete the Cloud Resume Challenge: About 20 hours over the course of 1 week
How long it took Jerry to get a cloud job after completing the challenge: 1 month
So you had never worked in tech before tackling the challenge?
I worked nearly 14 years as a respiratory therapist and in a healthcare management role.
I had certifications and other small projects for my portfolio but I wanted to accomplish a build that would give me hands-on experience with a broad range of services. Something I could explain in-depth and walkthrough in an interview situation.
How much did the certs help you get hired, as opposed to the project experience?
I had 4 AWS certifications. I would say it was a bonus to have getting my name in front of the right people but ultimately getting hands-on and understanding the HOW and WHY was the most beneficial aspect. For anyone who asks for advice that’s the first thing I mention. Do the Cloud Resume Challenge or compatible challenge and get your hands on the console and CLI.
How did you use the challenge during interviews?
When interviewing with Amazon, the Cloud Resume Challenge was a big talking point for me. When going through the interview “loop”, everyone seemed to be impressed with the range of services used within this one project.
I also had to build something myself to demo during the interview process and included some skills I got from the Challenge to build a serverless transcoding pipeline integrated with my Synology NAS, Elastic Transcoder and Lambda functions.
What do you wish someone had told you during that 4-month job search?
Don’t. Give. UP! Keep pushing. No matter how hard someone says it might be, no matter how frustrated you may get at times, keep learning and stay positive. Imposter syndrome is a real thing and we ALL deal with it at some point in our careers.
Get hands-on experience building and architecting, anticipate failure and re-build again until you nail that project/build. As AWS CTO Werner Vogels famously said, “everything fails all the time.” Keep pushing, keep building, and keep your head up in the clouds.
Did the Cloud Resume Challenge help your career? I’d love to hear about it!Contact Forrest