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AWS re:Invent: First time attending? Here’s what to do!

Kesha Williams
Kesha Williams

Hello! I’m Kesha Williams, an AWS Ambassador, AWS Machine Learning Hero, and Alexa Champion. I’m also currently the Program Director for Slalom’s AWS Cloud Residency program, a career accelerator for cloud engineers. 

AWS re:Invent is fast approaching, and it’s an exciting time to learn about best practices, network with others, and hear inspiring customer success stories. This year, you’ll find breakout sessions, bootcamps, chalk talks, workshops, builders’ sessions, leadership sessions, labs, and even lightning talks  — whew!

With a list like that, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to start, especially if it’s your first time at the event. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! In this article, I selected some session recommendations to ensure you have a chance to explore all the learning and networking opportunities on offer. 

See you in Vegas!



1. Accelerators: Streamline development in serverless and beyond

I’m especially looking forward to this Lightning Talk by Slalom because it shares how we help speed up project kickoffs and reduce rework by creating serverless accelerators! 

2. The future of sport: How Riot Games is reinventing remote esports broadcasts

I love hearing customer success stories! This Breakout Session explores Riot Games’ esports journey to build the first-of-its-kind cloud-native remote broadcast operation! 

3. State of cloud: The shift from consumers to creators 

Cloud computing is here to stay! This interactive Break Session sponsored by Pluralsight highlights ways to stay ahead of the curve to keep cloud skills current and accelerate cloud adoption! 

4. Solve common business problems with AWS AI/ML services

If you’re curious about how machine learning is used in the real world, check out this Breakout Session that highlights how AI is used to solve business problems.  AWS ML Hero recommended! 

5. Is your architecture as resilient as you think?

I love hands-on building on AWS. In this Builders’ Session, you’ll learn how to test your architecture to determine if it can withstand an outage.  Don’t forget your laptop!

6. Designing and delivering cloud-optimized Java applications

Java is my favorite programming language! This exciting Chalk Talk discusses best practices for developing cloud-native Java applications! I’ll see you there in the front row! 

7. API-first functionless application architectures with AWS AppSync

I’m a huge fan of GraphQL APIs over REST APIs. I’m especially looking forward to this Chalk Talk that highlights using GraphQL and AWS AppSync to increase development velocity and decrease operational overhead.

8. A day in the life of a data engineer

Play the role of a data engineer for a day! This fun Lab puts you in charge of an organization’s data engineering practice. You’re responsible for architecture, security, performance, and cost.

9. Build human-like customer experiences with conversational AI

Amazon Connect is one of my favorite services! I can’t wait for this Workshop to play around with building powerful conversational AI experiences! Don’t forget your laptop.

10. Building event-driven architectures

Most organizations need to build event-driven architectures, and AWS makes it easy to do so. This Workshop covers event-driven design and the core services that support it. Once again, don’t forget to bring your laptop!

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