I created an Alexa trivia skill. Call me a nerd, but it was fun 🙂 If you haven’t already, check out the Alexa Skills Development quest from qwikLABS, the reason I’ve been eating, sleeping, and breathing Alexa Skills for the past couple of weeks.
My Alexa skill took me about 3 days between starting to work on the skill and clicking submit. It will probably take you less – I asked for outside help on my icon, which added some time (thanks to my sister-in-law for the awesome artwork!) and I spent an afternoon working on my trivia questions.
Here’s what I learned about developing an Alexa Skill:
1. My skill got rejected. Guess why?
Are you running Microsoft apps on AWS? Or interested in switching to AWS? You came to the right place for AWS for Windows training resources. Check out Scott Zimmerman’s blog post, outlining updates and new resources from both Amazon and qwikLABS available to you. Or check out the new training page, also on the Amazon site, AWS for Windows.
qwikLABS and AWS collaborated to develop four Quests, to help you focus on certain areas of AWS and Windows:
One or two of these would look AWSome on your resume…
The top AWS for Windows lab? Creating Amazon EC2 Instances with Microsoft Windows, with an average of 4.3 stars in the past month. Take this lab and fulfill 8 credits worth of requirements for three of the four AWS for Windows Quests in one shot. And if you’re just getting started, may I suggest the top intro (free!) AWS for Windows lab: Introduction to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) with Windows Server (highly rated at 4.1 stars).
Then follow up on the lab with a test drive:
Comment (or tweet us @qwikLAB) to share how your project is going – we would love to hear your insights. You never know, your advice could make a great lab!
The Serverless Design with AWS Lambda quest badge would look great on your cape… so what are you waiting for? Learn what you can do with serverless design and AWS Lambda with the latest quest from qwikLABS.
1. Use AWS Lambda to create your own Alexa skill – yep, voice design!
You can build your own Alexa skill – and feel free to use the skill in the lab as a template to make your own! While the Amazon Echo might not pass the Turing test (yet), there is an incredible amount of potential in the device (and a free t-shirt).
Got data? If you have lots of it, Amazon Redshift can help. And qwikLABS can help too, with the newest quest: Advanced Operations Using Amazon Redshift!
Click here to see all the labs in this Quest.
Your Quest, should you choose to accept it, delves deep into the world of Amazon Redshift. You will learn to optimize for storage efficiency and query performance, use your data to create prediction models, and more. After all, what’s the point of all that data if you can’t use it?
Here are some of the things you’ll do in the Quest:
Our phones can take us on 600 mile road trips with turn-by-turn instructions. Don’t feel like driving? Use that same phone to summon someone who is happy to chauffeur you.
Need an image for the perfect meme when your buddy tells you about a crazy dream he had last night? Here you go –>
Of course it’s not all about cat videos. One of the fastest growing technologies today is found in the realm of Deep Learning.
Deep learning uses networks to learn levels of representation and abstraction (think of this as classifying or categorizing things by many different characteristics). Deep Learning uses those levels to make sense of data like images and sound. Advances in Big Data mean that Deep Learning is able to learn better, faster, and more efficiently.
So what’s it good for? Medical technology, Artificial Intelligence (like self-driving cars), and voice recognition. (Have you spoken to Alexa, Siri, or Cortona lately? Is it just me or are they getting smarter?)
I’m not trying to say that you should know more about Deep Learning…. but you really should. Not only does it permeate daily life, but it’s cool! How does one learn about Deep Learning, you ask? Not to worry – there’s a lab for that!
The Introduction to Deep Learning lab is perfect for beginners, but still fun for more advanced users. Not only does this lab do interesting programmatic work, it is also totally free of charge.
You will complete 3 Deep Learning projects:
- Teach your program to recognize things in a photo (psst this is my favorite one!). Upload a photo (baby picture? your dog? selfie from your last vacation?) and challenge a program to identify what it is. No hints! It’s eerily accurate. Next you will teach a program to recognize objects in photos it has never seen before.
- Teach a program learn to read handwriting. Spoiler alert, the program learns to read (messy) handwriting with 98% accuracy.
- Give a monkey a typewriter and you may or may not get Shakespeare, but give this program the Shakespeare command and you get fully formed, properly punctuated Shakespeare-esque poetry! Sort of. You be the judge. “His life impossession craves thee.”
It is the first lab in the qwikLABS NVIDIA Deep Learning Quest. It’s a free intro lab, so I encourage you to check it out!
A better way to flair at work
Does your team use qwikLABS for training at work? (Check out this post on using share groups to get teams up to speed on AWS.) The Amazon team uses qwikLABS as a professional development tool. When someone at Amazon finishes a Quest, he or she gets to add the badge they earned to their profile in the company phone directory, recognizing their efforts and accomplishments. Does your company do something similar?
Do these come in buttons…
This type of recognition, in the company directory, can be a water cooler conversation that you actually want to have.
- Know who might be able to help you out with a new project with a service you’ve never used – like someone with the Deployment and Management Quest badge – and the best part is they’re only a phone call away!
How does your team recognize accomplishments?