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.

Got AWS Enterprise Support? Then you’ve got labs.

qwikLABS is now part of the AWS Enterprise Support perks! Read more here. Wondering what to do with your shiny new qwikLABS credits? Here are a few ways to take advantage of your new benefits:

Prepare for AWS certification with one of the certification exam prep Quests. (Here’s more about what a Quest is.) Did you know that to be part of the AWS Partner Network (APN), you need a certain number of AWS certified staff? 

qwikLABS can help you prepare for the Developer-Associate Exam, the SA Associate Exam, the SA Professional Exam, and the SysOps-Associate Exam. Which badge appeals to you?

qwikLABS badges: AWS Certification Prep

Notice something different about us?

qwikLABS has a new look. Click here to check it out! You’ll notice a few new features that we think you’ll like (whether you do or not, we’d love to hear about it). Most of the changes are small, but we hope they will AWSome-ize your lab experience. 

New AWS lab interface

Do you like my UI?.

Here are some of the changes you should know about: 

AWS re:Invent 2016 – Seeking your pro-tips

Attention! We are seeking your best tips, tricks, and must-not-misses for AWS re:Invent 2016. Been before? Heard from re:Invent veterans? What should you do to get the most of of your re:Invent experience? 

Send us your tips – tagged with #qwikLABS – tweet us @qwikLAB, post on our Facebook wall, our LinkedIn page, or comment on this post (sending an email does not count). Next week, we will pick the 10 best tips and share them with you. 

….And what’s the fun of a contest without a prize? The 10 winners will get 15 qwikLABS credits each, good for any AWS lab (or labs) in the catalog!

The deadline is September 16 if you want to be eligible for the contest.

Some ideas to get the conversation started…

  • What one event is an absolute must?
  • What’s your strategy for getting the best seats?
  • Who has the best swag? 
  • What was the most useful thing you brought home with you? (Maybe a handful of qwikLABS token cards..?)
  • Unforgettable breakfast spots, where you run into the most interesting people?
  • Which event has the best snacks?

Good luck!

AWS re:Invent 2016 – Getting there

Las Vegas Boulevard South

Coming Soon: AWS re:Invent 2016. Photo courtesy of D-Stanley(CC Attribution)

Are you planning to be at AWS re:Invent in November? qwikLABS is going, and we hope to see you there! 

This is the first in a series of posts we’ll write leading up to the event. You will see all kinds of information, from packing lists to treasure maps. Today’s topic? How to get your ticket.

The easiest way, of course, is to register. 

Looking for a challenge? There are a few ways to get to re:Invent for less…

Win a ticket with the Serverless Chat Bot Competition

  • The challenge: Build a chat bot and win a ticket to re:Invent 2016! 8 tickets (plus other goodies) are up for grabs.
  • Deadline: Sept. 29
  • Click here for official details from the AWS team
  • Wondering where to start? Sign up for a free webinar from AWS. The webinar promises in-depth exploration of the skills you’ll need to master to build your own chat bot. 
  • … and finally, qwikLABS can help you learn to build a serverless chat bot! (Handy, eh?) With this Slack Chat Bot lab, you’ll get step-by-step instructions and a template for creating a chat bot. You can customize it to your heart’s content, then use it to enter the competition!

Earn the Alexa Developer Discount

If we find other nifty competitions or promos, we’ll be sure to share them. Good luck!