I started learning to write code in August when I began attending the Turing School of Software and Design. While I have a bit of a background in technology, it was always a very high level view primarily over hardware.
I have been building gaming computers for twenty years and even though I was the “computer guy” in most of my personal circles, I always knew I didn’t know much about how computers actually worked. Turing School and AWS have confirmed this hunch that hung with me for decades.
Amazon Web Services or AWS is a platform provided by Amazon with just about every cloud driven solution you or your business could ask for. Just one look at the AWS console and the complexity of what Amazon is doing becomes clear. Each icon has a color and shape that represents some part of the AWS system; orange is computing, red is storage, blue is database systems etc. My understanding is that most SysAdmins or Ops Professionals that use the AWS platform are vaguely familiar with most of the services offered and fully understand how to use a half a dozen or so within their professional capacity.
My introduction to AWS started when I found A Cloud Guru’s AWS tutorials and courses. The Cloud Guru team offer hours of lesson and lab courses that prepare you for an AWS certification course and they tailor the introductory courses for the Associate tier certifications toward the AWS free tier services. I test drove their service by spending a hour listening to one of the free lessons they offer to get a feel for the
style and substance I could expect if I became a student. I opted for the AWS Associate Certification Bundle which, at the time, cost $69. This particular bundle contains about 30 hours of lessons and labs and it is recommended that you sign up for an AWS free tier account before you get started.
The free tier gives you access to five of the AWS services but you will still be required to enter your credit card information if you wish to use it. For some services, like the S3 storage buckets, you will be required to enable the free tier option before you begin using it (I deployed a web application for a Turing project that we integrated into the S3 service and I was charged $.01 for use of the service as I failed to enable the free service for the buckets). While the credit card requirement for the free tier of AWS might scare some people away from utilizing the service, I can speak from experience that the overall cost of making a mistake is low unless you accidentally publish your secret key of GitHub or elsewhere and someone steals it. However, even if you do push it to GitHub, the site is constantly scraped for these keys and an email will be sent to you to inform you that your key was pushed
. AWS also allows its users to set billing alarms that will send you an email if you exceed a certain dollar value within a billing cycle. I have set my billing alarm to $.50 to let me know when I have been charged for any of the services. Through the month of November, including the Turing project deployment, I have incurred $.55 in charges through AWS with $.53 of that being a monthly recurring Route 53 charge for supplying this blog with a name server through my domain provider.
All in all I would highly recommend anyone interested in software development understand, at a high level, what AWS has to offer. Odds are, even if you work for a firm that racks their own servers, they will use AWS for trial deployments, cloud storage, or any number of other services that Amazon provides. If you are more interested in the DevOps side of software development, I would highly recommend ACloudGuru as a means of becoming introduced to AWS services. In my next post, I will explain how I deployed this WordPress site on an AWS EC2 instance and discuss some of the roadblocks and issues I encountered along the way.
Originally published at www.nzenitram.com on November 27, 2016.