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!

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!

Overheated? Turn up the AC with AWS IoT

Thermostat

The IoT thermostat looks a little different… Photo courtesy of alex_why(CC No Derivatives)

Is it hot in here? AWS IoT can help, and qwikLABS can show you how with our brand new lab: Introduction to AWS Internet of Things (IoT). Does this lab sound familiar? That’s because it was one of the #nextqwikLAB winners earlier this Summer. 

So what does AWS IoT have to do with heat? Other than IoT being hot new technology, this lab teaches you how to use AWS IoT to detect temperature changes in a simulated environment, and control the thermostat accordingly. It’s a three part lab (pretty in-depth for an intro freebie), but don’t let that scare you away. 

What I like about this lab:

  • This lab keeps you busy. In a good way! We try to keep intro-level labs simple. They are geared towards AWS first-timers and freshmen. This lab sticks to basic concepts, as an intro. But you do a lot, and when you finish, you feel like you’ve had a busy hour. 
  • You walk through a real-world scenario. Sounds obvious, but it’s great to get hands-on practice with a problem you know you will encounter in real life. As you go through the lab, envision applying the strategies and tools in the lab to your environment.
  • Lots of images. I appreciate visuals when I’m learning, especially when in unfamiliar territory (of course it’s a personal preference). I like to see screenshots that either confirm I’m doing it right, or point out that I’m doing it wrong and I need to try again. 

Four New Labs for AWS Olympians

An accomplishment of any size is something to be proud of

Photo courtesy of eddiecoyote(CC Attribution)

Are you in Rio watching athletes performing incredible feats? Imagine how much training each person put into reaching the pinnacle of their sport. 

Your career is just as important, and qwikLABS has a mission to help you train to be your best.  Each AWS lab you take, each Quest you complete, adds new strengths and skills to your arsenal (and your resume). 

So tighten your laces, grab a handful of chalk, and vault into four new additions to your training program! 

  1. Parallel File Copy and Consolidation for Amazon S3: Take big data through its paces. Learn to copy and aggregate large amounts of data with different utilities (S3DistCp, awscli, and hdfs dfs to name a few), then compare results.
  2. Introduction to AWS Application Discovery Service: This one’s on us! Learn how to discover and tag resources to plan for successful migrations. For a free lab, this is a pretty deep dive….
  3. Deploy Docker Compose Microservices to Amazon EC2 Container Service: Stick the landing with the Amazon ECS CLI when you deploy example Docker Compose apps! 
  4. Using AWS Elastic Beanstalk with .NET: Continue your .NET on AWS workout, this time working with AWS Elastic Beanstalk for application deployment.

Good luck on your next competition, whether it’s the 100 m butterfly or an interview for your dream job.

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.

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. 

Introducing qwikLABS Advantage Subscriptions

Now available: Advantage Monthly Subscriptions at qwikLABS! Starting today, get monthly access to the entire catalog of 90+ AWS-authorized labs, for one low price: $55.00 USD. 

Sign up here.

Why is this a big deal? The value of AWS knowledge is undeniable. The new Advantage subscription gets you full access to the growing list of AWS lab topics. Take as many labs as you want, any place and any pace, all with access to the real AWS Console. No simulations here! 

And why start offering subscriptions? Testing the idea a few months ago (thanks to all who participated BTW!) and your response to unlimited labs last month convinced us that Advantage subscriptions are the best, max-value way to get self-paced labs into your hands. 

Simply put, the cost of earning a single Quest badge is generally higher than 1 month’s subscription for access to *all* labs (more about Quests here). So we truly hope you take Advantage! (See what I did there?)

Any questions about the new Advantage subscription option? Check out these FAQs, or send us your question and we’ll be happy to help. Subscriptions aren’t for you? No worries, basic and bulk credit pricing are still available, exactly as before. 

I’m in! Where do I start?

Here are a few suggestions. Don’t forget to get your subscription first!

If you’re familiar with AWS already and want to skip the intros, check these labs out:

If you are new to AWS, get your first look at the AWS Console in less than 30 minutes with Intro to EC2 – one of our 30+ labs free of charge – then dive deeper into more complex labs like part 1 of Building a Media Sharing Website.

Does one of these catch your eye?