Google Labs just released!

Qwiklabs has big news – Google labs are available now! Just in time for Next ’17. Even better news: all Google Cloud labs are available free of charge (for a limited time).

Click here to see all Google Cloud labs.

If you are already a Qwiklabs user, you can use your Qwiklabs credentials to log in (even though the URL is slightly different than what you’re used to seeing). You will find Google Cloud labs for all experience levels. Want to learn the basics? Try one of these introductory labs:

Or, expand your skillset with a more advanced lab:

Questers, we’ve got something for you too! Be one of the first to add a Google Cloud badge to your resume. Enroll now, and complete your quest while all the labs are available free!

Google Cloud Qwiklabs badges

Got questions I didn’t answer? I’m here to help. Just post a comment here and we’ll get back to you right away.

Happy lab-taking!

Google acquires Qwiklabs to skill up the world on Google Cloud

Big news today: Google has acquired Qwiklabs! We will be joining the Google Cloud team to help deliver hands-on lab learning for Google Cloud Platform, G Suite, and other products. We’re incredibly excited to now be a part of Google’s legendary cast of innovators.

Since starting Qwiklabs back in 2012, over half a million users have collectively spent over 5 million hours learning cloud technology through our platform. Our mission has been to transform technology learning from a passive watching experience to a hands-on doing experience. We’ve had to solve some gnarly technology problems along the way, but we eventually figured out how to deliver real-world lab learning environments in a reliable and operationally efficient way. It’s been an incredible rocket ride, and joining Google gives us more fuel to power the continued journey to realize our vision.

We plan to continue to offer lab learning credits and subscriptions for sale on Qwiklabs.com. Owners of existing credits and subscriptions continue to enjoy the same access to our library of hands-on labs. Our partners who deliver instructor-led training sessions and events can continue to do so.

We would like to thank all of our customers, partners, investors, and our employees and their families for their incredible support in bringing us this far. Great things lie ahead, and we can’t wait to get started.

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:

qwikLABS Acquires Outlearn

We recently acquired Outlearn, a seed-stage Boston-based startup backed by General Catalyst Partners. Outlearn created a technical learning publishing system designed to make it easy for subject matter experts to publish custom learning paths using existing web content and original content authored in Markdown.

Outlearn was created by an amazing roster of all-star talent that we are very happy to now have on our team. We’re also very happy to welcome General Catalyst Partners as a qwikLABS investor through this transaction.

We plan to use the Outlearn team’s expertise to improve the learning and authoring experience on the qwikLABS product and to accelerate our growth in the years ahead. The Outlearn service has been shut down, but the company’s vision of flexible, modular online learning for software developers and IT professionals lives on.

If you were inspired by Outlearn, we would love to talk to you. Click here to connect.

qwikLABS

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!

Alexa, what’s the new qwikLABS Quest?

Today we’re announcing a new quest, and it’s all about Alexa! Have you met her yet? Alexa is the voice behind the Amazon Echo, Tap, and Dot devices. The technology is at the cutting edge of voice design. 

Check out the Alexa Skills Development Quest now.

You do not need an Alexa device for this Quest. Testing tools and an Alexa voice simulator are available in the Amazon Developer Portal (same great Alexa voice, just through your browser). 

The new Alexa Quest walks you through creating 5 different types of Alexa Skills. “Skills” are very similar to apps, but instead of your phone or tablet, you use them on an Echo device. You learn how to design each type of interaction between the skill and the user (practical applications of voice design), as well as the AWS Lambda infrastructure that runs behind the scenes. 

As you go through the Quest, you will download templates for each type of skill you create. After completing the lab, the skills you build in the lab will remain in your Amazon Developer account. You can customize them to build your own skills. Plus, you can add this badge to your CV!

Here’s a sample of what you’ll do in your Quest (should you choose to accept it):

1. Introduction to AWS Lambda – Learn the basics of AWS Lambda, the infrastructure behind running your Alexa skill. This lab’s a freebie, and it knocks out a requirement for the Serverless Design with AWS Lambda Quest too. 

2. Working with Alexa: Build a Fact Skill – This is a good first-time Alexa Skill project. Familiarize yourself with the practical applications of voice design as you learn to set up interactions between your users and your Alexa skill.

3. Working with Alexa: Build a How-To Skill – This skill’s interactions are a little more complicated so you will get an in-depth look at setting up utterances and custom slots. Minecraft-ers, you will like this template. 

If you haven’t met Alexa yet, head over to this browser-based simulator and say hi. Planning to publish your own Alexa skill, or interested in more Alexa resources? I’ll share my Alexa experience here tomorrow. You can learn from my mistakes 🙂 

Tweet us (@qwikLAB) when your Alexa skill is live with the hashtag #AlexaQuest. You can be one of the first developers to publish an Alexa Skill – and get the t-shirt to prove it! 

Notice something different?

Nope, not a new haircut. Next time you log into qwikLABS, you’ll see a few changes – for the better! Curious? Read on, then log in to see the new stuff for yourself.  

1. Your lab connection details, including the password you use to log into the Console and take the lab, are on a new sliding tab labeled “Connect” on the right side of your screen. When you start your lab, click the tab to see your connection info.

We’re phoning a friend…

Thanks to all who shared their ideas for the #nextqwikLAB!
You sent us 125 brilliant ideas. We were able to get the list down to 10, but now we are asking for help – phoning you – to select the final 3.
Vote below for your favorite idea for the next qwikLAB. 
The 3 with the most votes will be turned into qwikLABS. And if you happened to suggest that idea, you will win 100 qwikLAB credits. Voting for yourself is allowed 🙂

Continue reading “We’re phoning a friend…”

Meet the new Quest: Serverless Design with AWS Lambda

The newest AWS Quest is here! Serverless Design with AWS Lambda takes you deep into the hot new trend in Cloud computing. 

Click here to check out the new Quest!

Let’s go behind the scenes with the newest AWS Quest, for some Q&A.

I want to use Lambda for event driven programming. Is it more efficient than what I’m using now? How does it work?

This Quest can give you a bunch of insights into how Lambda can help you improve your efficiency (and reliability, and your monthly bottom line too). Test drive event driven programming with Serverless Architectures with Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon Kinesis Streams with AWS Lambda. Build a real-world application using AWS Triggers, which combines DynamoDB Streams and Lambda.