Review: Learn AWS By Using It

Book cover for learning Amazon Web Service

Recently I’ve been trying to ramp up my cloud knowledge, specifically around Amazon’s web services (AWS). Earlier this month I passed the certified cloud practitioner test and the thing that really stuck with me was how much more effective it was to actually use the services rather than just reading about them. About the same time I was studying for the AWS test I found Kyle Galbraith’s blog which has some great getting-started guides for hosting a static website on AWS S3. I went through both of these walk-throughs:

If you’re curious, the static website I created is called Engineering Tourist; see the site and sign up if you want to know when it launches! UPDATE: See How to Host a Coming Soon Landing Page on AWS S3 for more details about all the services used for this project.

I decided to give Kyle’s Learn AWS by Using it eBook a try. I bought the Total package which includes several screencasts. The summary of this book had me sold right away:

Accelerate your learning of AWS – Stop getting lost in the documentation and actually learn Amazon Web Services by using it.

Through the task of hosting a static website, you’ll use and learn the basics of several Amazon web services including:

  • S3
  • CloudFront
  • Route 53
  • Web Application Firewall
  • API Gateway
  • Lambda

The bonus chapters cover a quick start to Infrastructure as Code as well as Continuous Integration / Deployment (CI/CD) which will give you a taste of:

  • Terraform
  • CodePipeline
  • CodeBuild

Overall I thought the book & screencasts were valuable and useful (and affordable). The earliest parts of the training are very similar to those original blog posts, so I already had those steps covered pretty well. The early chapters also led me through securing my account by finally getting off the root user (something that AWS kept reminding me about but I had been procrastinating). The bonus chapters including the Terraform stuff were good, but pretty code heavy, so I need to go back through that in more detail. Things I want to dig into next on AWS include containers and database services – in fact those along with EC2 could make a good “Part 2” for this book!