John & Paddy cross time-zones to chat with Andy Larkin about the Cloud Academy online blended learning platform, covering:

  • What the Cloud Academy platform is all about
  • How Cloud Academy can help you be even more successful in your tech roles
  • What content and courses does the platform contain
  • How Cloud Academy’s blended approach works for all learning types
  • The importance of Certifications through the platform

Watch the video or read the transcript below. 

Episode transcript:

- [Narrator] Welcome to the Inspire the Nation podcast. We at QA are super excited to be bringing you a regular dose of thought leadership, industry insights on all things related to tech and learning. I'm Paddy Dhanda. And I head up the Agile Practices at QA, and I started off as a software engineer, and I accidentally stumbled into the world of learning, having headed up the Agile Learning for a global bank, and playing lots of Lego along the way. My biggest passion lays in creating, engaging experiences through elements of visual thinking, gamification and storytelling. This is my colleague John Gordon.

- [John] Thanks Paddy, so I'm John Gordon and I am a software practice director for QA, and really what we want to use this podcast for, is to inspire anyone into technology regardless of background. So for me personally, I really fell into software, so if I go back 10 years ago, I was working in air traffic control in the military, and really by chance I got into software development project. And really what we want to use this as to, meet some amazing guests with a real inspiration of trying to get people into tech jobs.

- So I'm super excited today, we've got a special guest all the way from New Zealand. So it's been an extra early wake up for John and myself, So welcome Andrew Larkin.

- Thanks for having me on the show.

- Oh, you're welcome Andrew. So Andrew, just to sort of kick off, we sort of know that you're heavily involved in our Cloud Academy platforms. So what we'd love to hear from you is a little bit about, what is Cloud Academy?

- Sure, okay so, Cloud Academy is basically a way to show people how to use cloud technologies in the online medium. We help people learn the basics of cloud technology by using hands on labs, showing people the basics of what are cloud services and how to use it, it's a very collaborative platform. It's great because you know, you can practice things in your own time in our lab environment, and we cover all the great technologies and most importantly, we show you how to use these technologies to solve business problems, because ultimately that's what we're about. We're not just about talking about what AWS is or what Azure is, we're about helping you learn how to use these services together to solve business problems. Now that's something that I'm very passionate about, it's certainly why I got into cloud and in the first place. And that's pretty much what we do at Cloud Academy, help you be successful in your roles by using all these great cloud services that are available.

- Oh, fantastic, and in terms of Cloud Academy and the QA sort of partnership, how long has that been going on? If you can tell us a little bit of background about how that came about.

- Fantastic, yeah so it's just over a year and a quarter, I think now, which has been, has gone very quickly and it's been a fantastic partnership. We were acquired QA around this time last year, and since that date, we've had a great two-way traffic of us being able to provide a online platform for the QA customer base, and of course, for QA to be able to help us grow our library of content.

- Great, and what sort of content do we have on the sort of numbers of courses, et cetera, can you give us any insight on that?

- Yeah, of course, so we've got over a thousand courses, and of course for us is around about a 60 minute learning video. We also have over 1500 labs and labs are the hands-on space where you can practice building things in a managed cloud account. You don't have to worry about the credentials or how much usage that's all done by us. And we have over 15,000 lab steps in that lab environment. And we use a thing called a learning path, which is basically a collaboration of course, lab and assessments. So assessments are quite important because that's a quick way for you to see how you're progressing with your skills. And one of the things that we love to see is the aha moment when we show customers how their skill profile is tracking in their organization. And for them to see that line going up from essentially having a baseline of zero or maybe some minimal skills around some cloud technologies, but actually being able to see after a period of six or seven months of using the platform, just how much skill knowledge has been, you know, acquired by people in the organization, that sort of up to the right graph is a fantastic sign of how successful people have been in using these combination of learning tools, if you like. And that combination is quite important because, we don't just do videos, we don't just do labs or just do assessments, we blend them all together and we find that blended learning experiences is the one reason why it really works you know 'cause we're all different, and we all have different ways of learning. There's no one magic bullet for how you become a cloud expert. And most of portlet, no one's born a cloud expert. All right, so it's all learned. And so, you know, everyone has their own special way that they like to learn, some of us are listeners, some of us are watchers, some of us are doers. So we'd like to give people as many different ways to learn the way they like within this learning path framework. And we have over 800 learning parts, which cover all of the top, you know, cloud vendors like AWS, Azure, GCP, all certs. We do 10 of the 11 AWS certs, eight of the 10 Azure certs, four of the four GCP certs, and certifications are often what people come to the platform for originally or initially it's like, "I really wanna get certified in AWS. You know, there's a solution architect. I think it's gonna be good for me to learn these technologies." So that's often where people start. And from there, you know, we can lead you into other areas of expertise. So really showing you how to use these services together to solve problems, because it's quite plausible to pass a certification exam, but still struggle on day one on your new role. We're here to help you be good in your roles, that's kind of what we do. And that the whole content lab is based around that. So in short, yeah, a thousand plus courses, most of these topics that we cover are DevOps engineering, you know, all of the containers, Kubernetes especially, all of the CICD based practices, programming, you know, Python, every one of those sort of cloud, you know, popular languages. And most importantly, you know how to use the infrastructure to just generate, efficient safe environments for business services.

- It's a really great insight Andy, and you mentioned and touched on it a little bit there about certifications, for the listeners today, like how important are cloud certifications and kind of becoming a cloud expert, do you think.

- Well, I think they're a great benchmark. You know, it's a public benchmark that shows your credibility and your ability to do things in a consistent and safe way. And as a good starting point, it's a fantastic bar. So listen, if you're interested in cloud services, but you're not quite sure where to start, then aiming for a certification is a really good goal. You know, it's something that you can, a path that you can follow and it's got a measurable outcome of the end, which you know, is valuable in the market. But I think the AWS Solution Architect Associate certification, is still one of the most valued certifications in market and there was a recent Forbes survey within the last 12 or 24 months I believe, that showed that, the average US salary for people with the Solutions Architect Associate certification was around a hundred K, which is a pretty good going.

- I need to get that set .

- Yeah, well, there's plenty of them and it's quite difficult to know where to start to like, the cloud environment for better or for worse is constantly changing. It's very difficult to keep up with it and to be frank. So, you know, for example, in the last year, AWS released over a thousand new features. So, you know, as a cloud architect, it's difficult to keep across all of these new services and essentially know how to use them in a practical way to solve a situation or improve a business process. So it can be a little bit overwhelming. And I think the certifications give you just a really good place to start. I recommend the AWS cloud practitioner for those people that are completely new to cloud, but are interested in it, enough to see the business marriage, who would like to get a good understanding of what the business benefits are potentially. And then, you know, once you've progressed past that, or if you are a more of a technical person, then start with the Solution Architect Associate, it's a really good broad certification. It's not going to test you on specific details of services, it's going to test you on your ability to select the right service, to meet the right requirements and to get the best business outcome for an end customer. So those are the good places to start in my view.

- And just on the point of the volumes of courses, and just sounds like there's a whole host of offerings within the platform. I mean, how has the demand been during COVID? 'Cause I can imagine the sort of platforms have been quite popular, but if you can give us some insights on, was that a surprise or were you expecting the level of demand that we've had?

- Well, yeah, I mean, it's been very disruptive for a lot of, for everybody in a number of different ways, that's probably one thing that none of us were expecting, I suppose, in our industry, it's probably been business as usual would be how I describe it, we've had customers increase their usage of our platform because obviously it's a great way to train people when they are potentially on the bench or not able to be out, seeing customers, et cetera. So, I guess we've probably had more of a growth than anything else during this period, but that said, it's still the disruption that these lock downs and just the whole change that people have had to make to working environments, has been a challenge. From where I sit it's kind of like, it's like the sort of disruption that we all could see happening over the next five or six years, this all sort of happened in a year, or even in four months, and so, you know, I think it's, in some ways, if you can see a silver lining in all of the, you know, difficulties that we've all had over the last 12 months, I think the silver lining is that it's made people more resilient and more able to work remotely, and to perhaps leverage, you know, the benefits of the internet more than ever before. You know, it's not just about social media, social media and, you know, being able to, you know, exchange things really easily with the internet, the internet is actually doing something really good now, it's allowing people to work remotely, collaborate really quickly and ultimately saving time and money because there's less transport between moving people between locations et cetera. And I think that human adapt to adaptivity has been, you know, a really good outcome from a really bad situation, if there was one that's the only thing I could see.

- Hmm, now great points there Andrew, 'cause I see a lot of online platforms now obviously trying to cater for the demand at the moment, but it sounds like the Cloud Academy platform, it is quite rich in terms of capabilities, so that's I think really important, isn't it? To differentiate yourself, especially when there is that disruption going on.

- Yeah, well we've been doing this for five years, and it feels like the, we've only just begun in some ways, but we also feel like we're just slightly ahead of the curve with the feature set at the moment, which means that it's easy to get people, the functionality that they need right now, collaboration, the lab has been able to stand up labs for multiple types of technology, like Google cloud platform being able to run, data engineering and data science builds that, traditionally would have taken months and months to find a way to do this and train people on it. That's been where we've been quite, quietly pleased that we did the homework, over the last five years, and it's sort of been useful to see how we can help people with the technology as it stands at the moment. But then it said, you just have to keep making it better, there's way more functionality that we all need, like we need to collaborate better and I think being able to work on projects together, so that we're all sort of given a blueprint, or if you like a fo project to try out. And especially when we're asking people to do things differently, you know, a lot of the disruption transformation that we hear people, top-down wanting to see in their organizations, I wanna transform this business, I wanna get more smarter, faster, better, I want more agility. That sort of top-down message from executives, is quite difficult because we're often asking people to change the way that they're doing things or have done them for years, and to just suddenly start working together differently I mean, we all know that's a behavioral pattern that's difficult to break, and it's always going to be a challenge, it's a behavioral challenge. So I love the idea that you could do a project together, as a group and just actually run through the task, ideally with all of it built in for you. So imagine if we were just saying, "Okay, we're an insurance company, we'd like to learn how to make an insurance claim system." How would you go about that? You know, and just walk someone through the process of actually planning it, you know, planning the adjuncts components of sprints, et cetera, and then the actual development and all of the, you know, testing and user acceptance that goes with that sort of a development project, having that all done for you so you could walk through it, so that you actually could go on as a group and actually build this yourselves, that's the sort of thing I think that we need to deliver next, that's the next big thing.

- Great, now thank you Andrew. And so just before I hand over to John, 'cause he's eager to ask you some quick fire questions, and have a bit of fun on that, this is the first time I've met you, Andrews. I know John and yourself have been in sort of in contact quite a bit so--

- We talk all the time.

- Yeah, I'd love to know a little bit more about you and what was your career path? How did you end up where you have today?

- Oh okay, well, I've been, I'm 55 and I've been doing this, I've been in internet technologies for 27 years, and I've sort of been in bleeding edge roles and people often ask me why are you are, you know, why you do the job you do, and I actually quite say, "Well, I was born to do this role." And while I'm joking, I'm actually deadly serious, 'cause all of the experience that I've had over the last 20 years, 25 years, has helped me get ready to help people , learn how to use these internet services to do things. And I think there's three personality disorders that I've adopted over the last sort of 30 years, that's one that I'm obsessive, I'm totally average, and I love telling stories and you know, most of my background, I started with a BA in, a bachelor of fine arts doing filmmaking of all things, you know, back in 1840 when I was at college, and, you know, I just sort of fell into the internet. I was sort of working as a support help desk analyst, after doing my time in Burrow High Street of all places for a financial company called Market Intelligence Information, and during my time there, this was about 1860, maybe I can't remember exactly, Burrow High Street looked quite different from what it does today, but it was just there I started messing around with Visual Basic, 'cause essentially we used to send out these stock market updates to all of the brokers in the London area on a floppy disk. And we used to courier these floppy disks out at the end of a trading day. So you can imagine how laborious that was, and just finding such smart, fast ways of actually getting that data to people, using electronic media means was really quite exciting. This was in 1995, and it was just sort of starting to become, the internet was just starting to become a thing basically. And when I arrived back in my hometown of Oakland, New Zealand, I had a job as a help desk endless. And I was basically given a Silicon Graphics Indy, which is a high end Unix or IRX workstation, which came bundled with the WebFORCE Netscape Navigator, WebFORCE web server, and the Netscape Navigator. And in 1996, I started playing around with this thing and I just couldn't believe how great it was being able to animate things, make things come to life using HTML, and I just became obsessed with HTML, JavaScript, and of all things Visual Basic scripting and Perl scripting. And that just got me into the internet at a really early start. And from that moment on, I was just able to just go from role to role. And, you know, it gave me this sort of this knowledge that helped me just basically choose whatever job I wanted. I was elevated to the, like I was a lead internet consultant at Wang Computers, I was like, I was director of strategy at Saatchi & Saatchi, the advertising agency doing interactive media for them. I worked for Adobe as like business development lead for the Australian region, doing all of the Adobe creative suites. And this was all due to this fact that I had this, you know, this knowledge of how to do things with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Perl. And there was simple skills, but people were just desperate for these pre 2000. So, you know, I had my own business for five years, I ran that a software business for five years, really enjoyed that, but just every time, just miraculously slipped into the next role which, just helped me progress towards where I am today, which is, you know, taking all those lessons that I've learned from these various industries, you know, working at Adobe taught me a lot about how to really manage software at scale, working in the creative industry in the interactive industry at Saatchi & Saatchi, taught me how to sell, how to actually deliver solutions at scale, using creative services, you know, and also how to run web development workshops, and like running a complete web team, you know, large teams alerts so much from those organizations about how to do these things, simply because I was an expert with these services. And then from there I worked at AWS, I worked for a startup for five years at AWS, I just love, I basically got the job at AWS because I just loved the fact that we ran our entire business at Ooyala on AWS. So I was obsessed with AWS at that point, and just sort of fell into the technology so it was an easy transition to go work at AWS. So that obsessive nature has always been something that's really helped me move from one thing to the other. The other thing I mentioned I have is that I'm totally average. So I absolutely just literally do not go into anything thinking I know how to do it, but I love watching other people who are better than me, do things with technology and I will watch them and just basically learn from watching someone better than me, and then go practice it myself. 'Cause I know I'm not an expert at it, especially with programming for example, I will just like, literally look at someone who's done this and go, "That's so clever, so I want to learn how to do that." And it's that sort of average level, knowing that you're just gonna be totally average all the time, and that whatever you build is gonna be okay, but it's enough to get started, and so, you know, you can iterate on that and make it better. That's one sort of characteristic I think that's helped. And the telling stories thing just comes back from that, my first initial love was filmmaking, where I used to wear a BRA and, you know, like make art movies that no one wanted to see, but it didn't teach me how to cut things together and how to assemble and tell stories using injury to medium. So, it actually helped out in the long run. And that's why I say today, you know, as head of content at Cloud Academy, you know, I was literally born to do this job and I love my day at Cloud Academy because every day I'm getting to see customers use our services to learn how to use these great, cloud services out there to solve problems and to build business solutions, and that's just totally rewarding. There isn't one day when I don't just love my job. In fact, you know, if I was to give anyone advice on jobs, just find the thing that you love doing, and build your work around that. And if you're doing a job at the moment and you get curious about some part of it, like I did as a help desk analyst for Unix platforms, right? I started to get curious about the browser, and I wanted to know how you can make cool pictures in the browser. So if you find that interest, just grab hold of it, with two hands and follow it, get passionate about it because, you know, if you can self-teach yourself how to do something, you can get that huge advantage and you know, this technology's changing so quickly, if you have any skill right now in the market it's valuable, it's something that people are willing to pay for, just learn it. And I think that's the one great thing I love about what we do with the platform, is that, you know, you can come into that and you've got all of this, you know, opportunity to learn. And if you're curious, you can, in the period of zero to three months, you can teach yourself how to be a Python programmer, how to do data engineering, how to become a data scientist, you know, all these high valuable high value positions, this is where you can learn how to do it. So curiosity is just the number one thing, but you've got to enjoy it, there's no point trying to force yourself to do something. If you don't enjoy it, you will always be thinking it's a job. And what I noticed now at 55, is that I never feel like I'm at work. You know, to me every day feels like it's just something I do, which I enjoy, I've never really noticed the time. That's the magic of having a job that you love.

- Wow, that's just phenomenal. I think we could have a whole extra episode, we're just done on your career Andrew, for that, that is great advice. And I was gonna say my eight year old makes me feel average every day when I see him playing Fortnite, so I love that. So thank you for that, over to you John.

- Yeah this is one of the things that we really love doing is getting to know our guests a little bit better. So we've got to just do some quick fire questions, just get to know Andy Larkin. So question number one, so you've kind of spoke about technology as your real passion, but with that, what really gets you out of bed in the morning?

- Well, I love the fact that, you know, at the moment we've got re-invent on right now, so every day there's new features being released by AWS. And we've got a week of new features, and as I mentioned, there's up to a thousand minimum released a year, and we've already had four really interesting ones released this morning by an Andy Jesse's keynote. So there's a really fantastic service, which I'm just doing a course on right now, actually, before I to spoke to you guys, it's on Amazon SageMaker Data Wrangler, so the SageMaker Studio is really cool 'cause it's like literally a service that lets you take, you know, large volumes of data, and apply models to them and get business insight. And you can imagine how great this is because data science has always been such a black box. So, if you're an organization you wanted to start to look at your data and find out some patterns that can help you transform it, or even react to the situations that we're dealing with out in the market today with massive disruption, how can I take the data I've got on my customer interactions, my help desk or transactions, and just turn that into an insight so I can come up with a new product or service to keep my customers happy? And that would take months and months you know, trying to do that out in the gray old days of data science, where you have your own models and you have, you know, there would just be so like incredibly detailed, that no one else could ever work out your own modeling systems and you know, some of the CAFCA things can get quite complex, but here we have a service provided by AWS, which gives you a really high-end computing platform, and you can literally like NGS data and start to model it with stored models, and then, you know, derive insight directly from it without ever having to go out and buy a massive computing wreck that you will have to have in the old days where you'd have to have thousands of gigabytes of memory just to process half of these transactions. So SageMaker in itself is just brilliant, you know, and that's such a time-saver, plus it can be used by average people like us. So you just have to have a basic knowledge, and you can get in there and start to become a serious expert. And that the new thing that Andy mentioned this morning is Data Wrangler, which is an even an easier way of ingesting data 'cause you spend a lot of the time as a data engineer or a data scientist, just manipulating data, getting it ready to start, you know, drawing insight from, and you can imagine like you've got comments taken from web boards, you've got customer feedback, CSVs, you've got huge data warehouses that store all of the feedback you've had from customers over the last five years for example, and there's massive gaps in that, there's a post freeze in the wrong place, there's names around the wrong way, and so the data is a big mess. And generally that has to be manipulated by hand, here this Data Wrangler service, as I'm just fine, I'm just, I enjoying writing this course about it, because it's just literally come out today, is just, you know, taking our way, a lot of those headaches for us all, and that's fantastic, I mean, that's just, it's just the best thing out, I love that.

- Yeah, completely there are so many great announcements coming in today. So speaking about you a little bit more then, so what's on your Spotify playlist at the moment, if you've got Spotify, that is?

- Yeah true, I've got some tragic playlists, so some days it will be like roots dance hall, some other it'll be like tragic '80s hits. I always have a bit of a reggae streak. I think it's just the slow bit slow, I'm a bass fan, so most of my music is quite bass heavy, and if I had to choose any one playlist, I don't know, like, you know, Roots Manuva, one of my favorite artists, I'd like to see something new from him. Jack White another good one, I've been just going back into some of his old reckon tours.

- I like Jack White.

- Track on tracks this month, yeah he's great, talented guy.

- Yeah, super talented. So the kind of final, quick reg question is, if you were stuck on a desert island tomorrow, and you could have three things and only three things with you, what would you take on, why?

- Okay, first of all, I want my 800 megabit connection that I have at home, 'cause literally I don't have a remote problem at all 'cause I'm just down the road from the Waikiki cable, which lands in Manga Five, just up the road from my house. So I've got this like direct pipe to Seattle basically, which means I have sometimes like one gigabit performance, both up and downstream, which is like unbelievably fast, so that's the first thing I'd take. Secondly, I had to take Kimmy my partner, who's been with me for so long, for 35 years, and you know, she's my lighthouse, she's absolutely keeps me sane, stable thinking right, is my best friend and my partner, my mother to two of my kids, if I, you know, I'm gonna leave the kids behind, I'll take her instead. Aand the third thing I would have to be would have to be my dog Indy. So the dog's called Indy, which is after the Silicon Graphics workstation that I first started working on, which was a Silicon Graphics Indy, so those are the three things I'd take, which are totally useless, but at least I could still do things with the internet connection, and I'll be happy, so that's all I need.

- I've just got a new puppy as well and me and Paddy have been, I've been kinda discussing if that's gonna be the mascot for the podcast Gone Forward, but she's too jumpy at the moment. So maybe next year she can come in and finch, she's not being too much.

- You have to get her on as a guest or I think at some point. Yeah I'm still--

- Puppies are so awfully cute you just fall, it is like overtake your health, you know, they're so cute, that's amazing.

- I was actually this morning that I was good on the walk, and I was actually listening to the, to Reinvent, an ancient spits on a podcast called Serverless Chats, while so is walking, so it's actually, added to my learning experience when I'm having the dog, so it has been a great part just from every kinda aspects.

- I do that too, I listened to the podcast, the AWS podcasts on my bike, I do a lot of cycling to keep fit. And I just love listening to those, you know, those sort of 60 minute updates there, dog walking is another great way of doing it.

- So kinda getting back into technology and that again, so really like you kinda spoke about your amazing career and you kinda spoke about Cloud Academy, what is your favorite three things about technology in particularly if you're going to hold it down?

- Yeah, I liked the way that services is simplified, you know, in the early days of building applications with web services, it was really messy. Just thinking back to all of them, you know, the obsession we had with browsers, and, you know, even before Google launched, we had things like AltaVista, Ask Jeeves, we had thousands of different ways you could search for things, everything was different, so you had to manage many standards. The browsers themselves, we had Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, and every time you wrote a page, you'd have to like use a test for all of these different DOMs, Document Object Models, which was a pain, a total time-waster. And we did, we went through the same with video formats, we had like HLS and HDS so, you know, they're basically different delivery mechanisms for HTTP live streaming and for HDS, for the Adobe Flash Client, et cetera. So every time, and also for mobile, you have to deliver it, you know, using a different HTML player. So there's a lot of different things that we've had to deal with for the last 10 years. What I love most over the last two years is that a lot of those have been simplified. So, you know, Document Object Model frameworks, you know, React node, et cetera, simplify the front end interactions, and bring some standards. Web standards is something that we never really had, even though we had the World Wide Web consortium, we weren't really driven to standards until HTML5 came along and started to have people thinking, you know, consistently about play out, about delivery, about user inter interactions and user interfaces. So, I think we've got a lot more standardization now, which is really good, it's like a maturing of the internet industry if you like, and I think that's one of the first things I love. Secondly, I do like the vendor activities. So I love the fact that AWS and Microsoft and Google are driving these services because they are so much better. It's so much easier solving problems with cloud services. You know, think back to the old days of client server, of having to write applications for a platform, you know, it was really hard work. It used to take a lot of time and you would constantly, managing exceptions and having the, you know, these powerhouses, continually, right? Refreshing and improving all of these services and the infrastructure that they run on, is fantastic. That is, I couldn't ask for anything better. You know, that literally is everything made clear for me because, you know, seriously, the time, the amount of time we'd waste on dealing with standards and crappy ideas and really badly forms, you know, platforms and service was really time consuming. And I think the third thing is seeing the Tesla design, not the Tesla company, but Tesla himself, the first, you know, the first entrepreneur in MindView, seeing his beauty becoming real, like I wouldn't have believed 20 years ago when I was 30, that I would be driving an electric car. You know, I just couldn't believe that. And I had an electric car, and I love it. And the fact that, you know, electric, the electric motor is just so much better, than the combustion engine. The combustion engine was a mistake, literally a mistake 'cause Tesla and Ford would, you know, playing around with these technologies around about the same time and unfortunately we went down that route, that's missy and has caused, you know, a lot of impact on our environment. So if things had gone the other way, we probably wouldn't be in the situations that we are in today, but that's just my thinking. But being able to see that transition happen, and seeing, you know, the state of California committing to have all electric vehicles by 2035, I think it is. And just seeing that, you know, top-down commitment to electric vehicles and reducing carbon emissions, that to me is just the third thing that's just fantastic. And you see that drift through to, you know, the AWS strategies for zero carbon emissions as well. That's the kind of corporate responsibility I'd like to see a lot more of. And being able to see that today at 55 is really exciting for me because boy, it used to be it's bad now, but it used to be really bad in the '80s.

- Yeah I guess so much. Yeah, I just seen like how things have evolved, so I remember maybe 10 years ago when I kinda got into to software engineering, right in my first kinda API and using the kinda Red Hat and JBoss products and, writing this big Soupy API, and then having to use GMs to get stuff onto a queue, and then you had all the kind of big sequel then, you kinda see what's happening now with the kind of serverless today, now you can just do it with API gateway and, and obviously Lambda and if that bridge and onto maybe like a Dyn or DBQ in minutes, so like the whole, not just building, but the deployment models completely changed. So the innovation and that the whole space, and as you said, like a Tesla was one of my dreams to get so.

- Yeah, I've got on this sand leaf, so I'm starting small and building at once. So you and I together will be in our Teslas, okay? At some point in the next 50 years.

- I don't own a car, so I'm kind of not in that game.

- Even better, I've got electric bikes as well. So that's the other like, plus like getting a little bit older and slower, being a cyclist, being able to ride an electric bike is just the biggest plus as well.

- Oh, wow.

- No car, it's good on you.

- Yeah, I just sort of, I had one for years and years and then with working from home a lot, and then pinching my wife's car. I thought, actually I probably don't need one for myself. So, I've tried it and lucky because of COVID, it would've just sat in the drive, so I think I got lucky with that one.

- It's the silver lining, isn't it? It's difficult to think, is there a silver lining? But that was one thing I loved about lockdown was that there was no cars, for a period of two weeks or so, we had quite rigorous lock downs early here, out in New Zealand, which worked, you know, but it meant that the place was just deserted for two weeks, which was beautiful, it was just the best, anyway.

- Coming on to our kind of final two questions and starting to wrap things up, I know at the moment there's some amazing projects and innovation going on within Cloud Academy, but kinda looking at your roadmap, what kinda key things excite you of kinda where you think Cloud Academy is gonna be the next 12 months?

- I think for content, like that's my domain, we're building out a lot of new programming content, which really helps people go from zero to hero as a programmer, and more of a software engineer. So, showing everybody, not just people who are coders, how to use code to create solutions and solve problems. And I think even just having that code literacy, gives people a lot more confidence and credibility when they're talking to people that do write applications, so it's not just about being a good full time coder. It's about having a knowledge of how things are built, makes you more effective and agile teams in my view. So we're actually building a lot of that content over the next four months, which is really exciting, adding a lot more of the machine learning content as well and in new services that we're seeing released right now at Reinvent are a good example of that. Excuse me. And then on the product front or the product front, sorry, we have some interesting features coming out, one of my favorites is live sessions. So this is basically providing a blend of online learning and self self-paced learning in labs, et cetera, mixed with that mentoring that we get from being able to talk one-to-one with an instructor. And I love that idea of blending the formats together. And I think this is gonna be the first step towards having that kind of collaborative way to learn. And if you are someone who likes to listen or just needs to ask a question, you now have a way to do that. So, that's gonna be really interesting. And just building some smarts around, how we just keep recommending things to you so that it's stuff that's relevant to you.

- It sounds absolutely awesome, what you're kinda doing in that space, in that life circumstance that you mentioned, that's, I think something that's been really missing from the market from a long time. So when you're kinda maybe stuck working on a bad project, having that experience of someone that can do it helping, I think will be invaluable for the kinda Cloud Academy QA customer base.

- I think so, 'cause it's just that great mix, you know, like we know they both work like we know that people like to do things online and people also like to do things in the classroom. So if we can find that middle ground where you've got the ability to mix or choose, I think we, I think we can help people learn faster, and hopefully they'll feel a bit more confident with it as well so they'll move through it. And I think that's the only way that we can tackle that big behavioral challenge of learning, especially when we're trying to learn something new. And learning how to do things differently is just not in our DNA, let's face it. No one goes to work every day going, "Yay, I hope I get to learn how to do my job all over again today." That's going to be fantastic, you know, so just having that sort of sense of, "Well, if I get my head around this and I can do this, I can work this way." And starting to see the benefit of, I think as well, when you've got a one-way learning mechanism, that's sort of telling you how to do something, I think we all naturally feel a little bit put out by that, so having the chance to talk it through, and even just being able to say, "Look, I don't get security groups, can you just explain those to me? I really I've tried everything, but just show me." And having someone go, "Oh yeah okay. Well, I'll just, I'll build one for you now." And the reason why we do this is, you know, often that why is missing from most of the learning materials we have, I mean, in the classroom, you won't put your hand up and say, "Why you do that again?" 'Cause you don't wanna look stupid in front of everybody else, right? You just have that kind of, that sort of, I suppose, a nervousness to, you know, ask the stupid questions and I'm hoping that this format will help us all. That should be great.

- That's absolutely awesome. Paddy, have you got any kind of final questions for Andy before I ask him the big one and we kinda finish up?

- To be honest, I think I've exhausted all my questions, but I'm gonna definitely follow up with Andrew, 'cause there's a whole ton of other questions I've got for Cloud Academy where selfishly, I would love to know more about sort of the non-tech elements around methods such as Agile and so forth. So I'm gonna save those for another time, but no, thank you from my side.

- So Andy, you've already kinda touched on it, and the whole point of this podcast is, trying to inspire people into tech careers, given all the terrible year that lots of people had. So the kind of big question for you is, what piece of advice would you give someone, that wants to get into a tech career?

- Yeah, that's easy, don't be afraid to make mistakes, accept your averageness, just go out and do something because you know, it's, you have to fail and fail fist and just get on with the next thing. And you actually learn a lot from making mistakes, and often the mistakes that you'll make in the learning environment, aren't going to be, you know, aren't gonna ruin your career, and don't be afraid to go out and just try something new. Like you just literally have to use a sampler plate approach to this, like get into the look at the cloud stacks, look what people are doing with some of the cloud services, and think, "Okay, that's interesting that appeals to me, I might just try that." There's many roles and new opportunities with this transformation that's occurred in the IT industry. It's brought a technology forward for everybody, and it's really important that you learn it, because it's going to be what people are using in the future, there's no doubt about that. And I'm not sort of saying that artificial intelligence is gonna take us over and we're all going to be replaced by robots or anything like that, but the thing is that these services, that are being put out there, make things easier. If they take out a lot of the undifferentiated, heavy lifting of some of the manual things that we've, you know, that we do with technology. And this is no different from the Industrial Revolution where things got disrupted by machines, maybe even the Agrarian Revolution where, you know, farming and the way that we harvested food became more practical. This is just the next wave and so just get into it, and even having a basic understanding of how projects work, how agile projects are run, understanding of the roles, or even just what the processes or steps might be, in solution architecture for example, testing any of those areas, you don't have to get right into it, but if you just have enough knowledge to be able to be confident with it, it will open up a whole realm of opportunities for you, and I just say, grab it with both hands right now.

- I completely agree, like I don't think technology has ever been more accessible for people. So for everyone listen right there, just go and give it a try. You can get a sample application like running now, and nearly any framework within minutes. So like to the listeners, just go and give it a shot and learn from your failures, we are all average and, I mean, you don't need to be an absolute nuclear scientist to build applications nowadays.

- Yes, and remember no one is born, a cloud or technology expert, nobody, all right? It's all learned. So if we can all learn it, you can as well.

- Andy, thank you so much. It's been a great podcast. We could have probably went on for two hours, but I know it's quite late in New Zealand and you need to get to bed, thanks for your time mate, it's been really insightful.

- Been a pleasure, thank you Andrew.

- Okay, ciao for now.

Related Articles

Comments

Be the first to comment!

Add a comment