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Introducing the #CloudGuruChallenge

Forrest Brazeal
Forrest Brazeal

In April 2020, I started a community initiative in my capacity as an AWS Serverless Hero called the Cloud Resume Challenge. This was an attempt to help under-connected people get a job in the cloud by providing a curated portfolio project, along with some code review, mentorship, and networking.

The challenge ended up becoming surprisingly successful, building a diverse community of hundreds of active participants, many of whom are true career changers from nontraditional backgrounds. 

The challenge is not easy; when I first launched it, some predicted that nobody without significant IT background would be able to complete it. And yet we’ve registered dozens of champions from more than 20 countries on 6 continents — and counting. Many have landed interviews and several have been hired into their first cloud job.

For that reason, more and more challengers are asking: what’s next? Do you have another project I could do?

By now, the challenge has scaled too large for me to administer on my own, even with the help of several wonderful volunteer mentors. So today, I’m excited to announce that A Cloud Guru has started a spiritual successor to the Cloud Resume Challenge, a monthly project called the #CloudGuruChallenge.

What you need to know

Each month, an A Cloud Guru instructor will introduce a project that requires the use of cloud services, technologies, and skills. You can start in on the September 2020 project right now.

You can complete the project requirements as quickly or slowly as you want, by yourself or in collaboration with others. Feel free to ask questions in the discussion forum or on social media using the #CloudGuruChallenge hashtag!

When you finish all the steps of the project, post your GitHub repository link and your LinkedIn profile in the designated forum thread. The ACG instructor will then be able to endorse you on LinkedIn for the skills you demonstrated in this project! (You’ll also be entered to win some cool swag!)

Most importantly, the #CloudGuruChallenge is FREE and available to everyone; all you need is an ACG free-tier membership to make your forum posts.

Why the challenge works

What makes the #CloudGuruChallenge format different from most tutorial or project-style learning out there? It doesn’t tell you exactly what to do. Like a real job assignment, the challenge is spec-based. You have to open the Google tabs and go down the rabbit holes to figure out each step.

This is Learn By Doing taken to a ridiculous extreme. It has helped people pass interviews and get hired, as the project makes great conversation fodder in a job interview. It also seems to produce an Ikea Effect: learners get passionate about the community and the challenge because they put so much of their own work and creativity into the project.

Hiring managers overwhelmingly say that demonstrated hands-on skills are the most important thing to them when evaluating job candidates. The #CloudGuruChallenge projects are designed to build your project portfolio, connect you to other passionate professionals, and level up your career.

We can’t wait to see you rise to the challenge!

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