Zero to Hero: Understanding AWS for the Junior Developer

Joel Spira | Thu, 04 Feb 2016

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I can vividly recall attending my first AWS meetup in Sydney, Australia. My understanding of AWS was almost nil, and after exchanging some pleasantries with the room I sought refuge within the walls of my second box of complimentary stir fried noodles. I even remember thinking to myself, “these noodles are delicious”.

With each bite the flavour soured however, my mind digesting its subconscious realisation that my understanding of AWS was poor at best. This was catharsis in a takeaway box.

Like a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle taking form, understanding the bigger picture of cloud infrastructure and AWS is something that will certainly excite. In the words of my favourite comedian reggie watts “...If you like anything that you enjoy, you may find this palatable”.

This is a dedication to all the junior developers out there, looking for that cathartic takeaway box of their own. A slingshot into the world of AWS and cloud infrastructure.

1. The ‘Cloud’ isn't a cloud. Cloud is the business of specialisation in the provision of computing infrastructure on an incredible scale

Step 1 in getting a better understanding of cloud infrastructure is to distance yourself from the perception of the cloud being this powerful thing in the sky. The cloud rather is real, tangible hardware. AWS alone, the largest provider of cloud infrastructure, has millions of servers distributed across the globe. The business of the cloud is to provide the most cloud computing capacity in the most regions with the richest tools and features.

2. AWS is a platform for applications

AWS truly is a powerful platform. With a vast array of onboard tools to handle everything from computation, storage & content delivery, databases & networking, it is the one-stop shop for everything you need to run any application at any scale.

For my first ever web development project Note, I found that I could use the AWS API Gateway with AWS Lambda to run a serverless back end. Pretty neat solution using just a fraction of the tools available to you as a user of AWS. This is one example of why AWS is great for the beginner developer, removing the need to build servers and handle system administration, letting you get on with the task at hand.

3. The software being developed today needs scalable infrastructure to support the growth of tomorrow

As far as my understanding goes, this seems to be the real driver of the trend in cloud adoption. Whether it be a new startup, a growing digital media group or an established financial institution looking to increase their scale, the universal requirement is to have a dynamic IT foundation that is perfectly elastic to increased growth. This is what AWS does for you, they manage the complexities of IT and system administration so that others can focus on their core businesses. This is textbook specialisation, and it works really well.

Concluding message

If you are a junior developer looking to piece together a killer set of core skills I would highly encourage you have a deeper look into AWS. You will develop breadth to your knowledge base, and inherit a collection of solutions to solve a huge range of problems for you or your employer.

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