Labs at re:Invent 2016: GO!

The Hands-On Labs room is open! Find us in the Veronese room (close to the business center, if you’re following signs – across from the Lego display). We’re here all week. See our full schedule and highlights here.

Day 1 is the perfect time to set some goals:

  • Finish a Quest. There are 22 to choose from – may I suggest the newest Security on AWS Quest? Or, learn to build your own Alexa skill with the Alexa Skills Development Quest. Finish a Quest at re:Invent and claim your t-shirt – hurry, supplies are limited!
  • Qwiklabs t shirt
  • Challenge yourself! This year, a totally new type of lab challenges you to solve a problem. No steps, no hints, just your own smarts. Finish the Challenge Lab at re:Invent with 100% completion and claim your sticker! While supplies last. 
  • Qwiklabs Challenge Lab
What will you learn this week? Browse the catalog – something for everyone – and see you soon!

re:Invent Hands-On Labs room

re:Invent 2016: Ready, set…

For the fifth year, Qwiklabs is at re:Invent, bringing Hands-On Labs to you! We’ll open the doors tomorrow morning, bright and early. Even if you’re not at re:Invent, keep an eye out this week for ways you’ll be able to join the fun (:

Find Qwiklabs in the Hands-On Lab room, in the Venetian. Here’s our schedule, and why you should swing by:

  • We’re open Tuesday thru Friday, starting at 8 am. You can find our schedule (and highlights!) here: http://reinvent.qwiklabs.com/ 
  • Earn a badge at re:Invent and get your Qwiklabs t-shirt! Only for re:Invent badge-earners, you’ll look spiffy in your comfy new tee. Once you earn your badge, come see us in the waiting area and claim your reward, while supplies last. 
Qwiklabs shirt

Considering the AWS Certified Security – Specialty (Beta) exam?

The new AWS Certified Security – Specialty (Beta) exam is available now. Perfect timing! You can study up with the new Security on AWS Quest. Click here to enroll (enrolling is free). Get hands-on experience working with real use cases in the AWS Console while learning the practical applications of critical AWS security concepts and strategies. 

Here’s what you should know about the new exam:

  • For a limited time, sign up and get beta pricing. That’s a 50% discount (normally $300, now $150 – but register soon, the promo won’t last). 
  • In your next job upgrade, with this exam on your resume, target IT security-related positions around the world. According to Glassdoor.com, the average salary for an “IT Security” position is $95k in the US. Fine print: this isn’t a guarantee of any future salary in any way (but it’s a pretty compelling reason to explore opportunities). 
  • There are some eligibility requirements for this exam. For starters, you will need one of the following current AWS Certifications: AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate, AWS Certified Developer – Associate, or AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate. Qwiklabs can help you study up for those, too. Check out the Solutions Architect – AssociateDeveloper – Associate, or the SysOps Administrator – Associate exam prep Quests. 

AWS Certification Quests

New Quest: Security on AWS

A secure cloud environment is critical to doing business today. Prepare yourself (and your resume) to take on the security dragon with the newest Qwiklabs Quest: Security on AWS. Click here to enroll.

Security on AWS Quest badge

In this Quest, you will start by learning the basics of IAM and security-related tools like VPCs and the AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF). Then you’ll level-up to more advanced tools and use cases. This Quest is a great way to study up for the AWS Certified Security – Specialty exam (more on that tomorrow).

There are a total of six new labs in this Quest. If you’re an Advantage Subscriber, you already have unlimited access to the new labs (smart move!). If you’re not a subscriber, now might be a good time to consider signing up

Here’s all the new stuff (the Quest costs a total of 69 credits, or save with a US $55 subscription):

AWS Educate Program for Veterans & Family

On Veteran’s Day, AWS Educate announced a new program to help US veterans and their spouses skill up with cloud training and career resources. Are you a vet? Do you know a vet? This program is worth checking out.  

The AWS Educate Program helps individuals skill up on the cloud with career-centric training and learning resources. The program focuses on 4 job families that align with the AWS Educate Job Board: 

  • Cloud Architect
  • Software Developer
  • Operations-Support Engineer
  • Analytics and Big Data Specialist
Within these categories, the AWS Educate program offers 25+ different paths to prepare you for the next step in your cloud career. 

AWS Educate Program benefits include:

Happy birthday, Alexa

What’s so special about November 7? On this date in 1492, the Ensisheim Meteorite, the oldest meteorite with a known date of impact, struck a wheat field in France. And, two years ago, we got Alexa! 

Amazon Alexa is changing the way the world thinks about technology, whether you’re looking for some help when your kid might have a fever or if you want to modernize a 10-year-old Father’s day gift. Alexa has become an ubiquitous household helper. 

But the real power of Alexa is developer accessibility. Literally anyone can get an Alexa skill up and running in a matter of hours. Got an idea? Yours can be the next “skill” (the Alexa equivalent of an app) in the library. And Qwiklabs can help! Click here to see all the different types of skills you can develop with Qwiklabs.

re:Invent your resume with AWS Certification & get these exclusive benefits

Heading AWS re:Invent-ward? Pre-register for an AWS Certification exam at re:Invent and get your hands on these exclusive benefits:

  • Study up with 25 free Qwiklabs credits. Register for an onsite exam by Nov. 8 (11:59 PM PST) and you will get 25 free Qwiklabs credits (rewarded to your Qwiklabs account Nov. 9). Don’t have a Qwiklabs account yet? No worries, sign up by Nov. 8 and one will be created for you, with 25 credits ready and waiting. Already pre-registered? Your name’s on the list and you will see your reward Nov. 9. Click here for full details.

Use the credits however you want! But may I suggest enrolling in one of the AWS Exam Prep Quests (you can add a Quest badge to your resume too – show off your “flight hours” with the AWS Console!):

Developer-Associate Exam Prep Quest: Practice fundamental and advanced concepts for working with Amazon Simple Storage Service, AWS IAM, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon API Gateway, AWS Lambda, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, AWS Security Token Service, Amazon CloudFront and Auto Scaling.

SysOps Administrator-Associate Exam Prep Quest: Practice fundamental and advanced concepts for working with AWS IAM, Amazon EC2, Amazon EBS, Amazon RDS, Amazon VPC, Auto Scaling, AWS CLI, and AWS CloudFormation.

Solutions Architect-Associate Exam Prep Quest: Practice fundamental and advanced concepts for working with Amazon EC2, Amazon CloudFront, Amazon EBS, AWS IAM, and Amazon VPC.

Solutions Architect-Professional Exam Prep Quest: Go to the next level of hands-on practice with key services addressed in the AWS Certified Solutions Architect –Professional exam blueprint.

AWS Certification Exam Prep Quests

More exclusive benefits at AWS re:Invent 2016:

Raising the banner

Have you noticed anything different about Qwiklabs lately? We made some major changes to help make your lab experience even better. Here’s what’s new:

  • Our Twitter handle is now (finally!) @Qwiklabs. Follow us and keep yourself up to date on the newest additions to the lab catalog.

And of course a new sign in the Boston office! Stay tuned – we are excited to continue improving your lab experience (:

The lab catalog you’ve been waiting for

It’s here: the new, improved, redesigned lab catalog! Click here to check it out.

Select your next Quest with the greatest of ease. Know what you’re looking for? The Quest catalog gives you the number of labs in each Quest, the cost in credits (which you can ignore if you have an Advantage Subscription), and the estimated time needed to complete the Quest and earn your badge. 

Qwiklabs Quest catalog

The lab catalog got a new coat of paint too – you can see ratings, costs, and time estimates right there in the catalog. 

Qwiklabs lab catalog

Know what you’re looking for? Search is your new best friend. 

Qwiklabs search

We would love to hear what you think – and stay tuned for more changes, coming soon!

Can you pass the Turing test?

Pass the Turing test, get your share of a $2.5 million prize. Fine print: your original socialbot, powered by Alexa, is actually what gets tested. 

The Alexa Prize, announced last week, is a $2.5 million competition to advance conversational artificial intelligence. 

Have you heard any of this from your device(s) of choice?

  • “Hmm, I didn’t catch that”
  • “Sorry, I’ll try harder”
  • “Can you please repeat the question”

The people behind the Alexa Prize want to scrub these phrases from the memory banks forever.