This week I attended my first AWS Immersion Day. The event was hosted by Justin McWhirter [justindm.me]. The focus of the day was serverless, and was centered around the Wild Rydes Workshops. By the end of the day we ended up with a web application that looked like this that was built upon many integrated AWS services such as Cognito, Kinesis, S3, Lambda, Amplify, API Gateway, and more. As someone who spends my time generally focused on networking within AWS this was a welcomed change of pace and a good learning experience.

Value

This event was free, snacks and lunch were provided, stickers were handed out and prizes were awarded all in a great location. Even if you were someone who knew all of the technical content you could get a free meal and network with AWS employees and fellow community members. It’s more than worth it!

Venue

This particular event was held at the Desthil Brewery in Normal, IL. It was interesting for a training day, but the building is new and spacious. The staff was great. The venue supplied the food as well and it was top notch. My only complaint would be that the room made it a bit difficult to hear due to fans.

AWS Reps

Justin and the team were very accommodating. They were knowledgeable and quick to answer questions and provide some one-on-one support if needed. They were even patient as a portion of the class worked through a technical difficulty unrelated to their content. The trivia and prizes provided a couple of breaks and some fun. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with them again.

Technical Content

I have an operational background primarily focused on networking. I have some experience with other AWS services. In fact, this blog runs on S3, CloudFront, and Lambda with a CI/CD pipeline. My other site also uses API gateway and some Polly. My job also takes me into other services and technologies.

Immersion Day was definitely operationally focused. The goal of the day was to introduce AWS services and demonstrate how to stitch them together into a functioning website with a powerful monitoring backend. All of the necessary development code was provided.

My favorite part was the functioning tracking map on the backend which utilized customizable producer and consumer scripts.

Even with my background, I was exposed to a couple of new services. I did a couple of new things with Kinesis and Cognito I’ve never done before as well. The rest either provided needed practice or good reinforcement. I thought the technical content was probably somewhat overwhelming for AWS newbies, but still possible. For those well-versed in AWS technologies there was still some challenging content. There was enough freedom in the course that those who were experienced could probably have even challenged themselves and practiced things beyond the scope of the labs. I feel it was an appropriate middle-ground.

Recommendation

I highly recommend attending an AWS Immersion Day whether you’ve never attended one or you are a regular. There is something for everyone, and being a part of the community is invaluable. I can’t wait to attend the next one!