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

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:

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.

How to show your qwikLABS badge – and get away with it

Completing a qwikLABS quest and earning a badge is a huge accomplishment – and one you should be proud of. When you earn a badge, you demonstrate to the world that you mastered a skill set with Amazon Web Services. Not only that, you have real, hands-on experience with the AWS Console. Whether you earn a badge on your own or your employer sponsors your qwikLABS lab work, your badge is undeniably yours. You earned it! 

By default, your badge is not public when you first earn it. You maintain total control of what information is shared, when, and how. You can post a link to your badge anywhere you want (online profiles like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), you can send links to badges through email, and you can even copy/paste a link onto your resume. But first, you have to choose what information to share and make your badge public!

qwikLABS profile

Profile roulette anyone? Here's what a badge looks like.

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! 

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. 

How GPU Technology Conferences are Part of a Vast Conspiracy

… to make the impossible possible with GPU technologies! 

Last day of the GPU Tech Conference, be sure to take advantage of self-paced labs with qwikLABS. Get your lab on – starting at 9:30 (and if you’re not there, check out our online labs). 

Did you partake of yesterday’s baked-to-perfection cookies? Or are you just there for the robots?

Seriously looks like a great party, but even more seriously, take things into your own hands and get into NVIDIA technology, fast. Check out these live, hands-on labs and learn to program GPUs with C++, or Python, or Fortran, or MATLAB – any place, your pace. Check out labs on OpenACC and Deep Learning too (Intro to Deep Learning is free!). 

GPU Tech Conference 2016

So what flavor doughnut did you get? 

Check out the NVIDIA Deep Learning badge

Are you at the GPU Technology Conference? We promised pics – read on to see if you made it into any of the shots! 

Check the schedule for bootcamps and self-paced labs. You’ll find qwikLABS there! Even if you didn’t make it to the conference, check out the NVIDIA lab catalog, and try our newest NVIDIA Quest, Introduction to Deep Learning.

What’s a Quest, you might ask? And why should I care? Each Quest consists of a collection  of labs that focus on a specific area of GPU computing and practical use cases. At the end of a Quest, you get two things:

  • Advanced knowledge of that specific area of GPU computing
  • A shareable badge to show what you accomplished (looks great on your resume, social media profiles, and more!)

Why should I take the Deep Learning Quest? Deep learning is helping to solve big data problems such as computer vision (self-driving cars!), speech recognition, and language processing. NVIDIA provides high-performance tools and libraries to power these applications, and qwikLABS puts practical training, curated by experts, into your hands. Earn your Deep Learning Badge today!

As promised, here are a few snapshots of the conference. Have you checked out the self-paced labs yet?

Self-pacedlabs
Self-paced labs zone

Presentation3
Presentations

Presentation1
Are you in this shot?

Presentation2
How about this one?

Challenge yourself to a Quest

We noticed a massive jump in Quest selections this week as a result of #AWSCloud10 – so we thought this would be a good time to talk about how qwikLABS Quests work.

Each Quest consists of a collection  of labs that focus on a specific area of AWS organized by technologies, specific services (e.g. Amazon Web Services) and practical use cases.

At the end of a Quest, you get two things:

  • Advanced knowledge of that specific area of AWS
  • A shareable badge to show what you accomplished (for your resume, social media profiles, and more)

The most popular Quest right now? Compute & Networking. Second most popular? Solutions Architect – Associate exam prep.

While we’re celebrating #AWSCloud10, all labs are offered at no cost, so now is the perfect time to take a Quest or two and add to your badge collection (psst, normally the most expensive Quest is Deployment & Management).

Don’t have the bandwidth to finish a Quest between now and the 31st? No worries – there is no time limit on Quests. Enroll in a quest now, take advantage of as many labs as you’re able to (in any order you want) at no charge, then finish at your own pace later (after March 31, you may have to pay for some labs).

What Quest are you taking next?