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Rohini Gaonkar for AWS

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The Ultimate Guide to AWS Community : SAARC

As Solutions Architect and as a Developer Advocate at AWS, I have been working with the AWS community for years now, either it is to deliver tech sessions or to help setup logistics for a meet-ups.

The community is a great space for learning, sharing and ofcourse networking.

A lot of times I get questions on how one can get involved with the AWS Community, especially in my region - India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Hence, this blog to summarise some of the amazing efforts of our community and the various AWS programs we have. Many of these programs are global while some are regional, you could still access regional content from anywhere.

AWS User Groups

Global program
AWS has 400+ AWS-focused User Groups(UGs) around the world. These are communities that meet regularly to share ideas, answer questions, learn about AWS services and best practices, and even a great pool for hiring talented professionals.

AWS User Groups

As a Developer Advocate, along with my colleagues, I work with the AWS User Groups across India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. I officially started interacting with these UGs since May 2020. While I have met many members in the pre-pandemic world, most of our interactions have been virtually since you-know-when. Inspite of the WFH mode, many of our communities still connect regularly and help each other grow.

You can find all the UGs here in SAARC at AWS User Groups in Asia Pacific. They come together for sessions they live stream, or setup their own groups so people can communicate or even have their own certifications bootcamp.

Find a local group that is close to you. Last year we launched 6 new UGs across India, so do visit above link. Also, subscribe to the AWS UserGroup India YouTube channel as most UGs also stream to this channel regularly.

🤷 What can you do?

  • Attend sessions, workshops, bootcamps, etc
  • Passionate about a topic? Reach out to the UG Leaders of any user group you want and find a speaking slot. Share your knowledge with others.
  • Connect with others for jobs, certifications, etc.
  • Stand a chance to win goodies, credits or vouchers.

AWS Community Days

Global program
Every year the user group leaders come together to create tech conferences called as Community Day. They feature technical discussions, workshops, and hands-on labs led by expert AWS users and industry leaders from around the world. These were in city 1-2 day events for enthusiasts to come, network and learn together. Since the pandemic, the conference has been virtual and sessions are available online for everyones benefit.

In 2021, the user group leaders of India, Bangladesh,Nepal, and Sri Lanka came together to create AWS Community Day South Asia Virtual Edition 2021. You can watch all the sessions from this event on the website.

This community day we also experimented with AWS JAM where you put your skills to the test by solving challenges that emulate real AWS use-cases. This was very well appreciated by the community as it took a different approach to learning.

AWS Community Days

AWS Heroes

Global program
The AWS Heroes program recognises a group of AWS experts(who are not AWS employees) for their enthusiasm for knowledge-sharing. They write blog posts, present at conferences, host regular meet-ups, contribute to open source, and more. At its core they all are community champs, who are self-driven and self motivated to help the community. They share knowledge to enable others via any medium and help the community grow.

🤷 A lot of times we are asked, what should I do to become a hero? This is an honorary recognition by AWS. There is no said checklist of do these 10 things or apply here and you are a hero. Heroes are given this title to appreciate all the amazing work they have been doing. They are not doing work for the title but to genuinely help the community. So if you have been doing awesome work, continue doing so. Actively work with the community and you will not be missed. Last year we added 3 new Heroes in SAARC to recognise their work, bringing our total to 15 Heroes in the region.

There are different categories of heroes too. Do check out the AWS Heroes worldwide list for more information and don't miss out the Content library

LinkedIn post by AWS Hero Dijeesh Padinharethil with Adam Selipsky CEO of AWS LinkedIn post by AWS Hero Dijeesh Padinharethil with Adam Selipsky CEO of AWS.

AWS Community Builders

Global program
The AWS Community Builders program offers technical resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities to AWS technical enthusiasts and emerging thought leaders from the community who are passionate about sharing knowledge and connecting with the technical community. Last year we had 100s of Community Builders selected.

Want to learn from existing Community Builders? Check out their content on dev.to.

Want to become a Community Builder? We just closed our recent application. However, feel free to add yourself in the waitlist now.

Read these articles from Community Builders:


AWS re:Skill

Regional program
We also have our own learning platform called as AWS re:Skill that is developed for the community to help developers learn and upskill/reskill themselves on the AWS platform.

🤷 What can you do?

  • We do weekly and monthly challenges. You can learn from sessions, take part in the quizzes and earn rewards.
  • If you are writing blogs and want wider reach, add the links to your re:skill profile.
  • If you are interested to present a session, feel free to reach out to me via LinkedIn DM.

AWS Developer Stories

Regional program
In 2021, we wanted to share unique stories of our community celebrating their passion of building tech and how the AWS community has helped them level up in their journey. Our Developer Marketing Manager, Ridhima Kapoor, has done beautiful work with these stories that have been appreciated globally. Do watch and read about our community 4 stories, hoping this inspires you to be part of a vibrant community and help with your goals.

Developer Stories

AWS Women in Tech Community Edition

Regional program
We also had yearly one day event for Women in Tech. The sessions were a good mix of tech and non-tech topics. We had huge response for this from the community. You can watch all the on-demand videos on YouTube playlist.

AWS Women in Tech Community Edition

AWS and other communities

I always tell this to cloud newbies - think of AWS as an added flower in your bouquet of skills. AWS has the breadth across many different technologies that you may have already have experience in. Apply that knowledge to AWS and learn how to do that with AWS for a quick-start. And for this reason we also participate and engage with communities that are not necessarily only AWS. For instance, we have been engaging with communities of Women in Big Data, GitHub, Postman and more. If you are part of a community and would love AWS to come collaborate with you, reach out to me via LinkedIn DM or reach out to any UG Leader or Hero.

AWS and Open Source

We have been involved in lot of Open Source discussions. We participate and host events for Open Source. In India we had 2 major events last year - our AWS Jaipur User group hosted OS Tech, and we had a whole day AWS track at Open Source India and more. We will continued investing more into Open Source discussion. So stay tuned.

Summary

Hope this gives you some insight into the active participation AWS communities in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

How can you stay updated on all of these?
Simple, follow me (and AWS heroes on LinkedIn), join user group communities and be an active member.

Can we do more?
Ofcourse! If you have great ideas of what we can do to enable builders of tomorrow, tell us in the comments section or DM me on LinkedIn.

Let's enable developers to be highly skilled and set them on a path to be the best versions of themselves.

Follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, GitHub, Youtube

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