Interested in learning more about AWS? You should take the AWS Concepts Course by Linux Academy on Udemy – and here’s why.
AWS, or Amazon Web Services, is rapidly growing in popularity. It’s a revolutionary and valuable technology that is not only user-friendly but also affordable. Whether you’re a computing professional or ab business owner, this Udemy course will acquaint you with all the basics of how to get started.
It’s not necessarily a “how-to” course. You won’t learn everything you need to know to get set up with AWS in just one class. However, it will acquaint you with the basic concepts, benefits, and services offered by AWS in an easy-to-understand format.
Designed for beginners, this class has a ton of features that are perfect for somebody who is just getting started.
What is AWS?
If you’re new to computing, you might wonder why learning AWS is important – and what AWS actually is.
It sounds complicated, but at its core, is quite simple.
AWS, or Amazon Web Service, is merely a cloud service provider offered by Amazon. It lets you develop an app (application) without having to worry about database, network, hardware, and the other physical infrastructure you need to develop and run an application.
So this class is only for computing professionals, right?
It’s also a great choice if you need or want to develop an online application for your business. People in any sector of business will benefit from this class, because it will teach you about the benefits and costs (which are minimal) of using AWS to develop an online application.
AWS solves many dilemmas that business owners face in developing an online application. Normally, when starting an app, you’ll have to rent a data center and purchase routers, servers, databases, and other expensive services and equipment just to get started. This can be a huge undertaking, both financially and logistically, for business owners.
AWS gets rid of that issue by renting out its infrastructure and servers at a nominal cost compared to those you might have to pay when setting these services up for yourself.
Today, Amazon (yes, the same online retail giant responsible for Prime Shipping and the free video streaming services you know and love) offers multiple data centers around the world to support its myriad businesses. As a business owner, you can take advantage of that existing infrastructure by renting out some of that space to develop your own apps.
This AWS Concepts class actually goes quite in-depth into the many benefits of using AWS, so I won’t get into all of them here. However, one of the biggest ones is that AWS eliminates many of the start-up costs for businesses. For instance, if you want to start a data center, you’ll need to buy servers.
Say you buy 10 servers and databases, but you only use five of them because your capacity and usage don’t end up being what you anticipated. The ones that are remaining then go completely to waste. They are going to continue draining you of resources – both in your start-up investment and also in terms of your maintenance.
When you use AWS, you can start small and scale up quickly. You eliminate the need for the initial investment. Once you see traffic increasing, you can order new servers and boost your infrastructure in a matter of hours (instead of months). In addition, you won’t need to hire database administrators, UNIx administrators, or network administrators to handle your services – AWS can handle it all, and at a fraction of the cost.
What Kinds of Content Does the Course Cover?
This course lasts exactly one hour and seventeen minutes. If you’re like me (and have a limited attention span!) That’s a good chunk of time to sit through. However, the course is broken down into six sections and ten separate lectures, each of which only lasts around five minutes or so.
I won’t go into detail about the major concepts covered by the class in case you plan on taking it yourself, but here is a brief overview of what you’ll learn.
AWS & The Cloud
In this first module (the course does include a brief introduction first to let you know what you’re going to cover, along with a lengthy pitch for the free Linux Academy Community Account) you will learn exactly what AWS is and how it relates to the cloud.
You’ll learn more about what the cloud has to offer, both in general and in relation to AWS. It includes a few easy-to-understand examples that will put AWS into perspective for you – and show you how the cloud can be beneficial for your business (a huge benefit if you are not a computing professional).
Introduction to Core AWS Services
This next section is a bit longer. You’ll learn more about VPC, EC2, RDS, and S3. This section gets a little more technical, but the instructor, Thomas Haslett, does a nice job of simplifying the material and relating it back to concepts that you might be familiar with as a layperson, such as Facebook and Netflix.
AWS Global Infrastructure
I like this section of the course because it helps break down how AWS can be useful on a global scale. You’ll learn more about Amazon data centers and availability and be able to drill down to local data centers to make things a bit more relatable for you, too. This is particularly helpful for business owners who want to know how AWS can be used at a local level.
The Udemy Course Platform
This was the first class I’ve ever taken on Udemy, and I have to say, I enjoyed all of its features.
Udemy offers a wide array of free and paid courses – not just in computing, but in other fields, too. When you take classes with Udemy, you can go at your own pace and learn from industry experts. There are video courses on almost any topic, including business, development, personal development, and more.
Once you select a course, the platform is broken down quite simply for newcomers. Before beginning a class, you will be able to view a list of course content (with descriptions for each section) and an overview of the class (and of the instructor’s credentials). There is also a section where you can take digital notes while moving through the material (no pen and paper necessary!) or view announcements.
You can move through the material at your own pace. You can even jump around to different sections, if you’d like. This isn’t necessarily something I’d recommend when you’re taking a course in a topic you’re totally new to, but if you just want a refresher, this feature is super helpful.
Related reading: Udemy Review – Is Udemy Worth It?
Major Benefits of Taking This Course
Access to Linux Academy’s Resources
When you first begin the class, you’ll be required to listen to a ten and a half minute overview of Linux Academy’s resources.
I’ll admit – I was a bit annoyed by this when I first started the class. I felt like that was a long introduction to have to sit through before I could get to the real “meat” of the lectures.
However, after listening to the spiel, I have to (begrudgingly) admit that it was worth it.
When you take this course – which is free, I might add (and another benefit of the class that I’ll discuss in more detail below) – you get automatic access to a Linux Academy Community Account. When you sign up for one of these accounts, you’ll have access to a wealth of resources that will serve you well on your way to understanding a variety of computing concepts.
Linux Academy offers resources like digital flashcards (just like the ones you used in middle school and high school, but all grown up) and hands-on labs. Although this basic AWS Concepts Course doesn’t include any terms you might need to memorize (besides basic ones like “the cloud,” “EC2s” or “VPCs”) Linux Academy will give you more in-depth training and resources to help you remember your newly acquired knowledge.
When you take this course, you’ll also get clear instructions on how to sign up for an account and access those resources.
Why would you want to?
For starters, the LInux Academy resources are incredibly helpful as you are learning and growing in the cloud environment. With lots of cloud providers now offering online certification exams, there’s no reason not to try and learn something new as you advance in the profession.
Linux Academy offers a variety of free certification-focused courses in addition to the AWS Concepts resources I already told you about. For example, just in the month of June, Linux Academy is offering the following training programs:
- Serverless Concepts
- Cloud Migration Fundamentals
- PowerShell Core for Linux Admins
When you sign up for an account, you’ll also be able to take free trainings and mastery courses in things like:
- How to Get a Linux Job
- Vim – The Improved Editor
- LXC/LXD Deep Dive
- Mastering Regular Expressions
- Build Your Own Linux from Scratch
- Jenkins Quickstart
- Amazon DynamoDB Deep Dive
- Google Cloud Essentials
- Big Data Essentials
- AWS Essentials (the “all-grown-up” sibling to this course, AWS Concepts)
Again, you’ll get resources like flashcards, community access (so you can chat with others who are taking the course along with instructors), videos, quizzes, labs, and access to a mobile application. For some of these features, you may have to access to a full membership (which requires a fee) but many are available totally free of charge.
Clear Instruction from a Skilled Practitioner
This course is taught by Thomas Haslett, a skilled AWS practitioner. He is an instructor who is well-acquainted with the major concepts of Cloud Computing and Amazon Web Services. He’s also a certified AWS developer.
He also holds all three AWS certifications at the associate level, including AWS Solutions Architect, SysOps Admin, and Developer. Haslett, along with other Linux Academy instructors, is a full-time instructor who has created content on AWS, Linux, Azure, Big Data, OpenStack, DevOps, and other resources, too.
He has several years of experience in creating and designing proprietary business applications, android apps, and virtual reality games.
Haslett really knows his stuff, and that’s clear when you hear him delivering instruction in the course. However, as knowledgeable as he is, his lectures aren’t stuffy or filled with technical jargon that the average layperson wouldn’t understand.
As a beginner, I found his calm, slow instruction comforting. He walked through each concept slowly and took time not necessarily to “dumb things down,” when it came to the content, but to make it relatable to somebody without any formal training in computing.
This was a feature of the course I really appreciated. Again, I have no experience in computing, and I’ve found it frustrating to try to learn in the past. Other courses often assume a certain level of understanding or background training (even of beginners). This can be daunting and discouraging, because wading through the difficult language is off putting to somebody who is just getting started.
Prepares You for AWS Certification Exams
If you’re interested in taking an AWS Certification exam, you’ll want to take this course (or at least one a lot like it) first. This certification exam is much like any other IT certification exam (like one you might take for Spring, Oracle, or Java certification). It consists of 60 or more multiple choice questions and is a timed exam.
Some of these can be difficult to solve, since they are scenario-based. You have to score at least 72% to pass the exam.
This course won’t give you everything you need to prepare, but it will provide you with the first step. You’ll learn about the core concepts of AWS so that you can move onto more technical classes – I don’t recommend moving on to more technical courses unless you’ve mastered the basic terminology of AWS first. This class will help you do that.
Designed for Absolute Beginners
Have I mentioned that I’m a beginner yet?
This course was perfect for somebody who is just getting started with AWS. It is short enough in duration to not be overwhelming. At less than an hour and a half of run time, the course can easily be completed in an afternoon. I went back through and rewatched it, too, to help solidify the major concepts. With a longer course, that would not be possible.
The class is perfect for someone new to AWS and to computing. Haslett moves slowly through every concept and uses analogies and comparisons that would be understood by anybody living in the 21st century, computing background or not.
For example, when discussing VPCs, he uses the very relatable comparison of Facebook’s homepage set-up to describe how VPCs, or Virtual Private Clouds, can serve as private sections of AWS where you can place your resources (and either allow or restrict access to them).
Later, he explains how concepts like EC2s work in relation to common services like Netflix.
These comparisons make the somewhat challenging, lofty concepts of core AWS services a bit easier to understand for someone with limited knowledge.
I won’t drone on about why this is an awesome feature – you can probably figure that one out for yourself! Udemy offers both free and paid courses. If you really want to get in-depth with AWS, the paid courses might be better options, since you’ll get access to online video content, a certificate of completion, instructor Q&A, and direct messaging with an instructor.
If you’re only interested in learning about AWS at a basic level, though, I really don’t think these features are necessary – the free version of the class is perfectly acceptable and lets you learn more without having to make a huge monetary investment.
Another thing I appreciated about this course was its compatibility across all devices. Originally, I began the course on my desktop computer. It worked fine in that setting, and I liked that everything was blown up on my screen with the ability to take visual notes (a feature offered by Udemy) as I worked.
However, I didn’t have access to the computer later on in the day and wanted to finish up the course on my smartphone. I wasn’t sure how well the program would work, since I have an older iPhone 6 that hasn’t always done a great job of handling other online courses and web conferencing programs (the service tends to be glitchy and programs freeze and crash a lot).
Udemy allows you to take the course either through a browser on your smartphone or by downloading the app. I tried both, and found they both worked beautifully (although I ultimately preferred the app, as it gave me more versatility when taking the course). You’ll move automatically through the course sections so you don’t have to keep pulling up then screen to move forward.
The class can be taken by downloading the Udemy app on both Android and iOS systems. It is a completely free app, and the beauty of downloading it is that you can then use the app to take other free Udemy courses later on.
After completing the modules, you’ll be prompted to continue on to an AWS Concepts Quiz.
Now, this is a free course, and you’re not going to be getting any kind of certificate of completion or major certification when you’re done. There’s really nothing saying you have to take the quiz – so don’t worry if you’re one of those people who has major testing anxiety!
However, I found that taking the quiz was a good way to solidify my understanding of the content. There were a couple of questions that I didn’t do so hot on – and after realizing this, I was able to go back through to the course and review the information.
I really liked the way that the quiz was set up. You mark your answer and can immediately check to see whether you are right are wrong. If you’re right, you’ll receive a brief explanation of why – and if you’re wrong, you’ll be told to try again but you’ll also be prompted to revisit the specific section of the course that covered that information. There’s even a link you can follow so you don’t have to dig around for the information.
Finished with this basic concepts course? Once you’ve completed it, you should move on to AWS Essentials. This class is also offered by Linux Academy and is the “sequel,” so to speak, of AWS Concepts.
I wouldn’t recommend taking AWS Essentials if you haven’t taken AWS Concepts first (even if you have some experience in AWS). That’s because AWS Essentials does reference some material from AWS Concepts.
It goes into greater detail about AWS Core Services and is a bit longer, containing 50 lectures that cover various AWS concepts and cloud services. It’s divided into 14 easy-to-navigate sections, each of which covers a key AWS concept. You’ll learn abou things like:
- Virtual Private Clouds
- Simple Storage Services
- Identity and Access Management
- Elastic Compute Cloud Database
- Serverless Lambdas
- Auto Scaling
- Route 53
- Simple Notification Service
Also a free course, AWS Essentials is comprehensive and incredibly popular – more than 70,000 students have enrolled to date!
Complaints About the Course
I didn’t have a ton of complaints about the AWS Concepts Course, but as with anything, I think it’s helpful to discuss the negatives, too, to give you a complete, realistic picture before you take the class.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the constant repetitive reminders in every class. Each time a new module started, the instructor reminded you that the course was designed for beginners and that all the terms were vast generalizations.
I understood the need to remind users of this feature – since the course platform allows you to jump around, you could be coming in at any time – but, when taking the class straight through, it became somewhat monotonous and repetitive.
There’s also no certificate of completion. You don’t necessarily need one – there isn’t an industry standard or requirement, per say, for which this would be required. However, it would be nice to have that, even with the free course. After all, you’re investing your time in this class – you should have something to show for it.
Finally, there’s no direct interaction with the instructor. This wasn’t a huge deal breaker for me, personally, since I tend to be more of an independent learner. I would prefer to figure things out on my own. For some people, though, that might be a drawback. Again, you can get this feature if you sign up for a paid version of the course.
All in all, though, these drawbacks were very minor and not anything that should serve as major deterrents when you are taking the class.
Who is the AWS Concepts Course by Linux Academy on Udemy Best For?
This course is designed for the absolute beginner. It answers common questions surrounding AWS, such as, “What is the cloud?” and “What is AWS?” It also covers core AWS services and common uses of AWS.
It is not solely for computing professionals. The course is also a fantastic selection for somebody in the business world who is interested in learning more about how AWS services can be leveraged from a business standpoint.
Since the course includes no difficult technical jargon or definitions that you have to memorize, it is a great pick for beginners. It’s a good pick for visual learners, since it contains lots of graphs, charts, drawings, and videos to help you on your way to developing a solid knowledge of AWS.
The class doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty details of how to use and navigate AWS services. Instead, it’s strictly conceptual. It will tell you exactly what AWS is and how AWS can be used, but doesn’t get into how to use it.
Therefore, it’s a good class for somebody who simply wants to figure out what Amazon Web Services can be used for and whether it’s right for them, their computing needs, or their business. It provides the conceptual framework necessary to move on to more complex terminology and concepts – the kind of material you might tackle in a more advanced “how-to” course.
If you are interested in learning more about Linux and cloud technology, this course is a great fit for you. Whether you want to learn new skills as a hobby or get certified to advance professionally, you’ll find what you are looking for in this class.