re:Invent Your Resume

re:Invent 2016 is going strong – new services and expanded capabilities are being announced almost hourly. Whether you are in Las Vegas or keeping an eye on new developments at home, it’s the perfect time to start reinventing your career. AWS experts are in demand, and Qwiklabs is a great tool to expand your Cloud and AWS smarts.

One way to maximize your resume is to add a Qwiklabs Quest badge (click here to see all available Quests). Did you know that Quest badges are AWS-authorized? When you complete a Quest and earn a badge, do yourself a favor and add a qwik line to your resume.

What’s a Quest? It’s a collection of hands-on labs, usually between 6 and 8 labs total, geared towards learning a specific area of AWS. For example, the Lambda Quest is an 8-labber. It starts with the Intro to AWS Lambda lab, and progresses through more advanced use cases, including building an Alexa skill with Lambda, and finishes with a lab exploring how to access RDS and ElastiCache behind a VPC with Lambda. (It also happens to be one of the most popular Quests. Interested? Enroll here.) Pick from 20+ Quests, including certification prep Quests – something for everyone! 

Click here to pick your Quest (enrolling is free).

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.

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.