Planning his AWS accreditation path

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We ask William why he chose his career route and how he has planned and  achieved his accreditations.

Welcome to the latest in our ongoing series of articles, looking at the people behind the scenes that make CirrusHQ the leading Amazon Web Services (AWS) Advanced Consulting and Solution Provider Partner we are today. 

In this edition we speak to Cloud Systems Administrator, William Chalmers, one of our more recent recruits, who joined us in January 2021, just 19 months after graduating from New College Lanarkshire after studying Computing Science and IT Networking.

Given the increasing demand for young talented individuals to choose a career in technology, it is interesting to see how William arrived at his decision to pursue a life in IT, how he arrived at CirrusHQ and what life’s been like since he joined.

Q – When did you develop an interest in IT?

A – Like a lot of young people, I first had my interest in technology sparked at school and in particular when studying computing science, which was a great introduction into computational thinking and coding. At school, there is a standard refrain for kids studying maths, or science, along the lines of ‘when am I going to use this’ usually when algebra crops up. But now I know when I’m going to use the stuff I learned at school, because I use aspects of the theory we learned years ago, on an almost daily basis, working as part of the Managed Services team here at CirrusHQ, in a DevOps environment.

Q – What was your first step into a career in technology?

A – When I was 18 I took up an IT apprenticeship with a software development company that happened to use a lot of Cloud services. Although at the start I wasn’t really involved in the Cloud side of things, after about eight months I had a good grasp of everything else I did at that point, so getting me involved in the Cloud work was the natural progression. It was then I realised just how much I enjoyed working in Cloud and just what was possible. 

Q – Even early on did you know Cloud was your future?

A – No, I knew I wanted a career in IT as it’s where there seems to be a growing demand particularly if you have the right skillset and a good understanding of AWS. It was this first introduction to Cloud and what could be done that really ignited my passion for it. Once I’d really started to grasp the Cloud work, my manager at the software company left and it was largely left to me to handle the company’s infrastructure in the Cloud and without the right guidance and advice, that’s a lot of responsibility on young shoulders.

Q – Were you already aware of AWS with your Cloud work?

A – The work in my first role involved applications hosted on AWS, so not only was I aware of the benefits of AWS, but the need to achieve my certifications if I wanted to progress. I started as everyone does with the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, which gives a really good basic understanding of what AWS is all about, without getting into too much technical detail. I think it also helped frame the AWS Cloud value proposition in a commercial setting, so you begin to understand the technology is designed to deliver an outcome for a client, not there just for the sake of the technology. It also opens your eyes to the scale and complexity of the AWS global infrastructure and the AWS Cloud architectural principles, which I’d come to know in detail in the role at CirrusHQ. 

Q – Is the AWS certification process important?

A – Before I joined CirrusHQ, I’d also gained my second certification, AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate, which was important, not just for me but for demonstrating to employers like CirrusHQ that despite my young age, I had the skills and determination to achieve the necessary certifications. The certifications are very important, both to the individual and to the business. People like to go for them for two main reasons, firstly, you have to study hard for them and you gain a vast amount of knowledge when you’re studying for the certifications as they cover such a wide breadth of services, tools, processes etc. The second reason is when you get certification, it validates that you have a certain level of knowledge that you can prove, whether it be new employers or potential clients.  Amazon has verified that I can do this.

Part two to follow 

In part two of this article about William, we will look at why he chose CirrusHQ to progress his career and how it’s been going in his first eight months with the business – spoiler alert, it’s been going pretty well.

If you like what you’ve read so far and feel your career might benefit from a role here at CirrusHQ, then please review the current vacancies and see if your skillset and ambition match our needs. If they do, please get in touch and hopefully you’ll soon be the topic of one of our articles about members of the CirrusHQ team.