Greetings to all!

I often get asked a bunch of different questions related to the Cloud. For example...

  • "How do I start my Cloud journey?"
  • "Which is better...Azure, AWS, or GCP?"
  • "Do you think I can move from Security to DevOps?"
  • "What should I do before I apply to an entry-level job in the cloud space?"

Let me start of by saying...there is no right or wrong way. The bottom line is this...it will take time, perseverance, and dedication. But as I sat down to think about these questions over the past few weeks, one question stuck out in my mind...Where do I start?

I got to thinking...are people starting from scratch? Are they looking to pivot in IT and switch from something like Networking or Security? Are they moving to a new Cloud platform? The more and more I thought about it, the same basic answer applied to all these questions.

First...you have to ENGAGE.

Engage that new subject. Is it cloud computing in general? Is it a specific platform like Azure? Find something to read about the subject. Find an online video to watch about the concept. Talk to someone who works in the field you are researching. Get recommendations from them. Don't worry about making mistakes. Don't worry about going down that rabbit hole and watching multiple videos or reading multiple blog posts.

This is supposed to be the fun part. Curiosity equals discovery. Find something in particular you love about this new topic. For cloud's sake...did you find something awesome about networking? Did you find something interesting on cloud security? What's this new thing called Machine Learning? Artificial Intelligence...and not the T-1000 kind.

Peel back those layers and dive as deep as you want.

Step number two...so you've spent a few weeks delving into the cloud.

Now it's time to ENHANCE!

Enhance your skillset in that one particular topic. Stop driving from town to town, trying to find something you're interested in. Pick a final destination. Let's say you've chosen the Azure path. More specifically, you've decided you want to start a career as a Cloud Engineer working with Azure.

What do you need to know to work as an entry-level Azure Engineer. Let's see...

  • Knowledge about the cloud in general.
  • You'll definitely need to know about Azure. What are some of the products available in Azure? What can these products do?
  • Do I need to know about Linux? Or for some...what is Linux?

These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself. For someone at this point, I'd recommend taking the AZ-900: Azure Fundamentals exam. So you do a search for AZ-900 on Google and find that the exam test you on the following subjects...

  • Describe cloud concepts (20-25%)
  • Describe core Azure services (15-20%)
  • Describe core solutions and management tools on Azure (10-15%)
  • Describe general security and network security features (10-15%)
  • Describe identity, governance, privacy, and compliance features (20-25%)
  • Describe Azure cost management and Service Level Agreements (10-15%)

Looks to me like you've got a plan...you could say a roadmap. Basic cloud concepts, core services and solutions, security, networking, and cost management. Not bad for a first dive into the cloud.

Time for the third and final step...ENFORCE!

You've spent your time researching the domain requirements for the AZ-900 exam. Maybe you bought a book or two. Maybe you subscribed to some online training... Cloudskills.io . It's time to prove you know what you're doing.

Schedule that exam. Don't wait. Schedule it now. Set a date for the exam so you have a firm deadline in mind. Take some practice tests. Get an Azure account setup and use the free credits that you get to play around in the cloud. Make things. Break things. But whatever you do...make sure to enforce those skills and take that exam.

Maybe an exam isn't relevant to what you are studying? In that case, start using those skills. Have you been studying Python? Start trying to use Python a little bit everyday. Start writing some Python code at home. Create a fun little project to work on. Once you're comfortable, start using it at work, if it's applicable.

Whatever you do...don't waste the time you've spent engaging and enhancing. Use those newfound skills. Look back at what you've accomplished and be proud.

Engage, Enhance, Enforce. The wonderful thing about this method is that it is completely repeatable. You've taken the AZ-900? Move on to the AZ-104: Azure Administrator exam. You've mastered infrastructure? Look at moving into Azure DevOps. DevOps? What is this new fangled concept? Stay tuned...more to follow.

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