Many enterprises have realized the benefits of the cloud. The cloud brings rapid innovation, scalability, lower upfront costs, fault tolerance, access to powerful compute power and more. These benefits have caused many enterprises to migrate to the cloud, driving up the tech industry’s demand for people who know how to architect and build cloud-native solutions.
Save 40% on Personal Annual plans
Accelerate your cloud career with this limited-time offer!
While the cloud has been a game-changer for enterprises and small businesses, it has also unexpectedly leveled the playing field for women in tech.
Why the cloud is a game-changer for women in tech
The trajectory of my career (and many other women in tech) skyrocketed when I decided to pursue Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a long-term career choice. When I analyzed what made this possible, I realized several interesting facts:
1. The cloud is still new
Many enterprises have yet to realize the benefits of the cloud and still run on-premises workloads. While the cloud has grown in popularity, AWS is only 16 years old. Amazon S3 launched in March 2006, with Amazon EC2 following a few months later. Additionally, AWS releases new services each year, which means we’re all learning the cloud together.
Women can use this newness to our advantage by being the first to learn new services and features, allowing us to build expertise before others do.
2. Cloud education is more accessible
Accessible education levels the playing field for women. Gone are the days of having to fly out of town for a week to attend expensive technical training.
When my kids were younger, it was very challenging to be away from home for multiple days at a time.
Now, with accessible cloud education and platforms like A Cloud Guru and Pluralsight, anyone who desires to learn cloud computing can, at an affordable cost. AWS also provides several free training resources — you can even watch all past sessions from AWS re:Invent on YouTube!
3. There are free environments where you can learn as you build
The AWS Free Tier helped me start my cloud journey by exploring and trying out AWS services free of charge. The gender pay gap is real, so opportunities opening doors for others are significant.
Women can take advantage of the AWS Free Tier to explore, build, and innovate. There’s no need to sign lengthy contracts or use your employer’s AWS account to get started.
4. The massive demand for cloud skills forces enterprises to cast a wider net when looking for talent
While the cloud was already popular, the pandemic heightened the pressure for enterprises to adopt cloud technologies. As a result, the demand for cloud professionals has skyrocketed, and the growing deficit has caused a talent war.
Companies are desperate for talent and forced to cast a wider net when filling open positions. People who would typically be discounted due to their non-traditional tech background, gender, or race now have the same opportunities presented to them as others.
How to get started with the cloud and AWS
If you have no technical background, get started with the cloud by pursuing the entry-level AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification. My course on A Cloud Guru teaches you the foundational knowledge needed to pass the exam and excel in the cloud.
If you already know the fundamentals or have a tech background, there are several options:
- Check out AWS Amplify to build your cool app idea
- Explore Amazon SageMaker Studio Lab to experiment with machine learning for free
- Tinker with AI by developing an Alexa skill using the AWS ecosystem
- Experiment with NoSQL databases by creating an Amazon DynamoDB table and using Amazon API Gateway as a proxy to populate it with data
- Learn Python programming using AWS Lambda as your playground
- Save money on your hosting fees by deploying your personal website to Amazon S3 and Amazon CloudFront
Start building your cloud skills with these 10 fun hands-on projects to learn AWS.
How to succeed in the cloud
Getting started with the cloud is easy, but how do you succeed?
Early in my tech journey, I learned that I needed to constantly step outside my comfort zone and shift to a continuous learning mindset to be successful. I remember when I took a chance on a new programming language called Java and left Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP) behind; I remember pursuing machine learning because I thought it was going to change the world in unimaginable ways; I remember learning AWS when others around me were reluctant to change.
My growth mindset encourages me to take on new challenges and quickly adapt to change and disruption. To succeed in the cloud, you’ll need to have a similar attitude. Plus, if you’re a woman in tech, I say to take a chance on yourself and believe in yourself at all times. If you desire to learn the cloud, you have the tools, resources, training, and mentors available to be successful. Shoot for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll be among the clouds!
About the Author
Kesha Williams is an award-winning technology leader. She’s also an AWS Machine Learning Hero, HackerRank All-Star, and Alexa Champion.
Accelerate your career in cloud