“See first with your mind, then with your eyes, and finally with your body.” — Yagyu Munenori

During my journey across the flow of a large-scale enterprise cloud adoption, I discovered that the greatest barrier to mass migrations isn’t the engineering challenges — it’s the short supply of developers with cloud-related skills.

Cloud has gone mainstream, and large companies are now scrambling for trained developers. Cloud computing skills are essential for modern software shops.

This article will show you the way of a cloud guru, and the path toward enlightenment. Your journey toward securing these sought-after skills begins where everyone starts — as a white belt in training.

White Belt

The White Belt signifies the birth of a seed as it lies beneath the snow in the winter.

An Intro to Cloud Computing is a great place for the student who is thirsting for knowledge and seeking answers to “what is cloud computing?”.

This free course is full of excellent material to get you headed in the right direction. The introduction guides you through the fundamentals of cloud computing, and explore the buzzwords to help demystify the cloud.

Yellow Belt

The Yellow Belt signifies the first beams of sunlight which shine upon the seed giving it new strength.

Exploring the AWS services will help the yellow belt student obtain the first ray of knowledge and open your mind. The free AWS Technical Essentials course teaches everything you need to know about the “how” and “why” of AWS.

This is great for beginners — no AWS or programming experience is required. The 1-hour course guide you through the fundamentals of cloud computing, until you become more confident with the AWS concepts and terminology.

Orange Belt

The Orange Belt represents the growing power of the sun as it warms the earth to prepare for new growth.

As the orange belt student starts to feel the body and mind open and develop, you should sign-up for an AWS Free Tier account. Once you register and create an AWS account, you can use any of the AWS services for free within certain usage limits.

The free tier offers hands-on experience with AWS Services, without the safety net of the lab environment or instruction. Consider applying the learnings from the lab training to create your own personal website or an Alexa skill using multiple services.

Green Belt

The Green Belt signifies the growth of the seed as it sprouts from the earth reaching toward the sun.

To establish strong roots and a firm foundation, the green belt student should look for opportunities to apply their early learnings. A fun and simple way is by using your free-tier account to create a basic Alexa skill.

Why learning to code Alexa Skills is the gateway to a cloud computing job
There are radical economic shifts underway. Society is moving from commodity-based capital toward intellectual capital…medium.freecodecamp.org

The free Intro to Alexa training series is designed to help anyone learn how to design and program an Alexa skill.

Not only will you learn the fundamentals of creating Alexa skills, you will learn the basics of using Node.JS and fundamental Amazon Web Services (AWS) services such as Lambda, DynamoDB, and Simple Storage Service (S3).

Blue Belt

The Blue Belt signifies the blue sky as the plant continues to grow upward. Just as a plant grows taller, a blue belt student moves up higher in rank as knowledge and experience grows.

For students interested in growing their knowledge of the cloud, the associate-level AWS Certified Solutions Architect is the #1 cloud certification for 2 years in a row. The cloud architect certification training is for anyone seeking to learn the major components of Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Given the high rate of speed that AWS delivers new features and services, it’s important that the instructors are subject matter experts and keep their content up-to-date. The certification training provided by Ryan Kroonenburg reflects his expertise as an AWS Community Hero and passion for teaching others about cloud computing.

Purple Belt

The Purple Belt represents the changing sky of dawn. As the student undergoes the transition to an advanced level, a purple belt begins to understand the meaning of the black belt.

The AWS Whitepapers and AWS FAQs offer the purple belt student an opportunity to fill in the details and solidify their knowledge before scheduling the certification exam.

The ‘must read’ whitepapers include:

Brown Belt

The Brown Belt represents the ripening of the seed. A brown belt is an advanced student whose techniques are beginning to mature.

To achieve a fuller appreciation of cloud computing, the brown belt student understands the importance of exploring the entire ecosystem of services.

For those seeking to expand their changing horizons, A Cloud Guru offers a series of courses on a variety of cloud computing services. AWS is constantly evolving their platform, with over 1,000 product release each year.

To stay current, explore deep-dives into AWS services such CloudFormation, DynamoDB, S3, Application Load Balancers, Cost Control, Security, and CodeDeploy.

You can easily keep up with the latest releases by listening to a weekly five-minute episode of AWS This Week.

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Red Belt

The Red Belt signifies the red-hot heat of the Sun as the plant continues to thrive. Red is a sign of danger, and the red belt is starting to become dangerous with knowledge and abilities.

After passing the AWS Certification exam, a cloud guru is obliged to share learnings with others in the community. As cloud gurus “pay it forward”, their students blossom and grow through the ranks.

Join an AWS User Group in your area to explain and explore emerging trends, while always seeking opportunities to mentor others in your local community.

Black Belt

The Black Belt signifies the darkness beyond the Sun as the student seeks more profound knowledge. As the student begins to teach others, new seeds are planted to grow and mature.

At this stage of enlightenment, a cloud guru continually thirsts for new knowledge. Explore free introductions to other cloud providers including Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform — and it’s never too late to start learning how to code in the cloud!

A Cloud Guru also supports a community-sourced publication with articles from engineers and leaders in the industry. It’s another free source of cloud insights — with a lot of hands-on tutorials and fun projects.

The journey of a cloud guru is a never-ending process of self-growth, knowledge, and enlightenment. Now that you know the path to enlightenment, take your first step forward today.

About the Author

I help migrate talent to the cloud. Follow me on Twitter @drewfirment.