Intro to AWS for Beginners with Jacob from Sabio

Liz Eggleston

Written By Liz Eggleston

Last updated on May 31, 2022

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Let’s dive into AWS for beginners! Jacob from Sabio joins to explain Amazon Web Services, one of the largest providers of cloud hosting services in the world. If you’re researching coding bootcamps, then you’ve inevitably come across AWS a bootcamp curriculum – Jacob will explain how engineers use AWS on the job, the pros and cons of this prolific technology, and how to get started learning AWS at Sabio and elsewhere!

Meet The Expert: Jacob from Sabio

  • Jacob’s career in tech was anything but traditional – he started off in the Navy. After transitioning out, he spent time in the medical field. But Jacob always had an interest in computers and found the coding bootcamp, Sabio. 
  • He did a 180 career switch, and now Jacob is an instructor at Sabio, teaching .NET, Node.js, React, and more. 

What Is AWS?

High level, what is AWS, what problems does it solve? What are we talking about at a high level?

AWS is an acronym that stands for Amazon Web Services and it’s a solution for a cloud-based platform which offers a ton of different services for developers ranging from things like hosting, to storage, and everything else in between. The reason why so many companies and developers like it is because it's easy to set up, it's very secure, it's resilient and easily scalable. You could use AWS for just one user or for millions of users. 

So for instance, if you needed to create a website to store millions of photos something like Facebook or Twitter, you could try to do things yourself – you would have all these hard drives, in some room somewhere and you'd have to buy them and you'd have to figure out where to store them and how you were going to scale up the solution if you ever got a spike in users.

That would be a massive pain to set up by yourself. AWS makes it very, very easy to have these things set up, have them as big or as small as you need it and everything just depending on your company needs.

How long has AWS been popular?

AWS started in 2002, about 20 years ago now. But recently, computing needs have increased and websites have been getting bigger and somebody's been searching for more and more solutions on how to host these websites, how to handle these processes, and how to handle these storage solutions. 

AWS was really the first and biggest competitor in that space. They were really the first ones to do it, beating out meeting Microsoft and Google. Now they have a firm platform in cloud computing and cloud hosting. So whenever somebody mentions cloud development, cloud platforms or cloud engineering there’s a good chance that they're talking about AWS.

How Engineers use AWS On the Job

Could you run through a couple of examples of how an engineer might use AWS on the job?

AWS is comprised of a lot of little different services. One of the more popular AWS services is called S3, which is an acronym for a Simple Storage Service. S3 can store any type of an object. Companies like Union Bank use it in the financial industry to hold records and hold information. In the medical field, data goes back and forth to share patient history, to hold x-ray information and lab results – a lot of that can be stored on S3. 

AWS can also be used for large scale image holding. Companies like Twitter or Facebook would use something like S3 to hold a massive amount of images.

We can't talk about AWS without mentioning cloud computing. So how do those two fit together? Are they inextricably linked?

A cloud is more or less somebody else's computer or server, existing somewhere else. A Cloud Engineer is somebody who manages these systems and these processes at a company. 

In Cloud Engineering, your role would be setting up the architecture based on the needs of the company, managing security groups, making sure these storage and databases and hosting systems are secure, and troubleshooting and maintenance whenever things happen because things do happen. Every now and then they'll need maintenance on these systems as new updates come out. Another big task that I've seen Cloud Engineers do is migrating older existing systems to newer to AWS. 

Cloud Engineering is, in my experience, a niche role. But you could expect to see more dedicated Cloud Engineers working at bigger companies. In smaller companies, software engineers and full-stack engineers can work in AWS as well. In my experience, the bigger the company, the more you'll have dedicated cloud engineers.

Have any of your Sabio students, or even classmates from Sabio, gone on to work as Cloud Engineers, or even AWS Developers?

Yeah. So people do end up getting hired as cloud developers outside of Sabio. Recently, there was a recent cohort that graduated where five of their people were hired as cloud engineers in Orange county. And so when they get there on the job, they're getting paid to learn and take their AWS Cloud Certification. There also have been some Sabio graduates who actually get hired and work at AWS. So not only do Sabio graduates work on the cloud, we have people building it as well.

AWS Competitors & Drawbacks

What about competitors? What are the other cloud services companies that you might run into as you're researching AWS?

The two biggest competitors of AWS are Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Obviously, these are all multi-billion dollar companies that can afford to host these big cloud services. 

AWS offers a lot of services, a lot of great documentation, and a lot of scalable options, depending on the size of the application that you're trying to host. Azure and Google do that as well. To me, it's all preference. I've never really used anything other than AWS because by the time I get to a company, everybody is already using AWS. 

Are there any downsides to AWS or cloud services in general? Can you run into any problems not owning your own servers?

Yeah, absolutely. A big disadvantage is that you're at the mercy of wherever your data is hosted. A good example of this is last year in December, there was a massive AWS outage that took out the US West 1 and US West 2 servers. That meant sites like Hulu, Twitch, the League of Legends and PlayStation Network platforms. It was just frustrating for everybody. 

As an engineer, you have to weigh the pros and cons when you make the decision to work in cloud. No solution is ever perfect and everything that we do is gonna be susceptible to data loss or leaks or some security issues. There's always going to be a pro and con on hosting on the cloud or any using any cloud-based services. It really is dependent on what you need and if you're willing to accept those cons as opposed to hosting it yourself.

Getting Started: How to Learn AWS

When do students learn AWS at Sabio? Is AWS easy to learn or is it a bit more advanced? 

We teach the basics of AWS in regards to storing and receiving data via the S3 storage bucket. Some people, when they're advanced and they go through Sabio, they're able to advance to the point of the curriculum where they're able to implement it themselves. 

We feel AWS is something that's a little bit more advanced and we can't possibly teach everything in AWS during their time at Sabio. When students get to their final project, everybody will get their hands in AWS and start configuring things. So by the time the students graduate, they'll all have some experience with working with AWS. 

Jacob, what are your favorite kinds of resources for beginners who are interested in AWS or cloud engineering?

If you're interested in Cloud or AWS in general, there are a ton of resources. YouTube and in particular has a lot of free tutorials to get with building on AWS. There's also a ton of free courses on Udemy and a highly recommended course on Coursera for AWS.

AWS also provides their own hands-on tutorials like setting up a database, launching and hosting your own WordPress site, hosting your own storage bucket. You can go in and get your hands dirty. They also have a very generous free tier where you can try out many other services for free for a personal project, nothing too major. 

My big recommendation is that if you want to learn something, just go build it, break things, make mistakes, ask questions. It's the best way to learn things in my opinion.

Thank you so much, Jacob, for joining us and giving us an intro to AWS, Amazon Web Services, and a little bit about cloud development. If you are watching this video, I hope you learned something about AWS today. Comment below, let us know if you have any questions about what you might be learning about cloud at a coding bootcamp, any questions for Jacob and just let us know what you'd like to see covered on the next core support video on our YouTube channel. 


Find out more and read Sabio reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Sabio.

About The Author

Liz Eggleston

Liz Eggleston

Liz Eggleston is co-founder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students choosing a coding bootcamp. Liz has dedicated her career to empowering passionate career changers to break into tech, providing valuable insights and guidance in the rapidly evolving field of tech education.  At Course Report, Liz has built a trusted platform that helps thousands of students navigate the complex landscape of coding bootcamps.

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