3 ways to introduce yourself to Google Cloud (for free!)

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Photo courtesy of Thomas Leuthard(CC Attribution)

“The name is Cloud. Google Cloud.”

Getting to know a new technology can be intimidating. Maybe not as intimidating as meeting the world’s top secret agent, but still. And with 52% of enterprise companies in this Forbes contributor survey identifying themselves as “cloud first”, the pressure is on.

So what’s the best way for you to introduce yourself to the cloud? Here are three easy ways to start familiarizing yourself with Google Cloud. Even better, these resources are free of charge.

Are you ready for your Google Cloud introduction?

1. Google Cloud’s free trial

The fastest way to get started with GCP: new users are eligible for a $300 free trial. You can test-drive GCP with a new project, or try completing a Codelab or two.

2. Deep-dive webinars

Spend time with the experts! This webinar series offers five sessions, and you have two remaining opportunities to attend: 3/23 and 3/29.

You can make a whole day of it. Start at 10:00 PDT and learn how to take advantage of Google-grade security and industry-leading pricing and performance. Then at 1:00, see how to store petabytes of data with no upfront payment, no administrative costs, and no licensing fees. Finish the day with building several machine learning solutions. Or register for all of them!

Here’s the full course list:

Sessions are available today and 3/29, so claim your seat now! Click here to register.

3. Google Next ‘17 TFDA (too far, didn’t attend)

Help yourself to hours of product demos and announcements that happened at Next, whether or not you made it to San Francisco earlier this month. Here at Qwiklabs we are psyched to investigate how we can use Google Cloud Spanner, the first and only relational database service that is both strongly consistent and horizontally scalable. Click here for a demo.

Catch up on the latest with each day’s keynotes and breakout sessions. Start here with the highlights of day 1.

Next ’17: The Cloud Event of the Year

Next ‘17 is the most influential cloud event of the year, and it’s only 21 days away. Get up close and personal with Google cloud. Qwiklabs will be there – hope you can make it too!

Click here to register.

What do you want to get out of Next ‘17?

Next-ers will see keynotes from industry leaders, including Diane Greene and Sundar Pichai of Google.

Next '17 Keynote Speakers

In addition to the keynotes, you’ll get access to over 200 technical, strategic, and hands-on sessions on topics such as breakthrough machine learning, advanced analytics, modern application development, and every-level privacy and security. Review the full agenda and  customize your schedule.

Looking for insights on security, infrastructure, and enterprise migration? Get expert insights during sessions on topics such as:

Looking for something more developer-focused? You’ll find that too:

Next ’17 is a unique opportunity to network with your peers and thought leaders. This singular event brings experts and enthusiasts together to build the future of cloud.

Register now. See you there!

Notice something different about us?

We hope so! Over the last few months we’ve made a few changes to our website, and with the New Year we released the new Qwiklabs.com main page. 

Here are the new features you get:

  • Find what you’re looking for quickly and easily with the search tool at the top of the page. Simply type the AWS topic you’re interested in, and you’ll see all of the available AWS training resources in Qwiklabs. 

For example, are you curious about the new Amazon Aurora service announced at re:Invent? There’s a lab for that! 

  • Browse the catalog to see the full list of Quests and labs. 

  • Blocked account? Bummer, but it happens if you lose access to your email account. You can use the self-service unblock tool to recover your account. You can get to the unblock tool from the sign-in page (alternatively you can always shoot us an email at Support@qwiklabs.com and we’ll be happy to assist). 

Any credits you have purchased are unchanged. You can still use your credits in the Qwiklabs catalog. If you are a subscriber, your subscription has not changed. 

Check it out today – hope you like it!

An AWS challenge

How do you learn new skills? Do you read manuals? Watch videos? Listen to experts? Do you learn best by spending time in a “sandbox”? Or do you prefer getting tossed into the deep end with no floats? 

At Qwiklabs, we are passionate about hands-on learning. And we have something new for those of you who learn best jumping into the deep water of AWS environment setup and troubleshooting: the Challenge Lab.

Let

Photo courtesy of peasap(CC Attribution)

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

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):

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: 

3 reasons why Darth Vader is working on his own Alexa skill

1. Voice design is today’s Jedi mind trick. 

2. Vader wants a free t-shirt. It matches the rest of his wardrobe. 

3. So his Echo can answer him when he asks “Alexa, where is the Rebel Alliance base?” Hint: Not Alderaan. (Too soon?)

When Darth Vader asks, he gets what he wants. And what better way for him (and you) to take advantage of the latest lab, Working with Alexa: Build a Decision Tree Skill

This lab features a cleverly designed decision tree template. Take the lab, familiarize yourself with key concepts, then use the lab as a template to build and publish your own skill. It’s that easy to become part of the (growing) Alexa Developer community. Bonus: it’s part of the Alexa Skills Development Quest! These aren’t the labs you’re looking for…..

Alexa Badge

Can you imagine this pinned to Vader's cape?.

Need another reason? Check out how developing an Alexa skill can make your trip to AWS re:Invent 2016 a little easier… (Stay tuned- more on that later this week!)

New Quest: Serverless Web Apps Using Amazon DynamoDB

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Your mission… earn your DynamoDB badge. Photo courtesy of JD Hancock(CC Attribution)

The newest AWS Quest, Serverless Web Apps using Amazon DynamoDB awaits! With great power comes great responsibility, and DynamoDB and Lambda are powerful tools in your arsenal of AWS skills. Build a super hero mission dossier generator that retrieves data from DynamoDB via Lambda functions – and send super heroes on missions to save the world!

The Backstory 

Every super hero has a backstory, and this Quest is no exception. Start the Quest by learning the basics with Introduction to AWS Lambda, Introduction to Amazon DynamoDB, and Introduction to AWS API Gateway. (If you already completed these labs, you don’t need to take them again. They already count towards your badge. Unless you want a refresher of course!) 

Your mission, should you choose to accept it…

Now that you know the backstory, at the core of this Quest is a 3-part mission:

Part 1: Lay the groundwork for your mission. Create a DynamoDB table and practice adding data in several different ways. Then set up AWS IAM infrastructure you will need throughout the lab. 

Part 2: It’s up to you now… to create Lambda functions that retrieve data from the DynamoDB table in several different ways. Once you create the functions, you will test them. Challenge yourself to dig into the Lambda function code and modify the custom tests provided in the manual.

Part 3: Complete your mission! Conclude this three-part series by configuring an API using Amazon API Gateway and setting up a public website to retrieve information from your DynamoDB table via Lambda functions, using what you learned in all three labs to send super heroes off to save the world! 

Serverless Web Apps using Amazon DynamoDB Badge

This would look great on your resume.

Did you know that you can purchase a qwikLABS subscription? Get all-you-can-eat access to every single lab in our AWS catalog for $55/month. It’s the most economical way to earn a badge or two.