AWS Community Builders – Year 3 Renewal and Reflection


This morning, I woke up to a positive email that I was hoping to receive: My application for the AWS Community Builders program was approved, and I was renewed for the third year!

I’m so happy to be part of this program. I’ve connected with so many amazing people through AWS events, the Community Builders program, and AWS New Voices; and I find it such a wonderful way to interact with other community members with similar passions.

In this article I will recap some of the major things with AWS that I did this year, and reflect on what I’d like to do going forward.

AWS Cloud Project Boot Camp

I started the year by participating in Andrew Brown’s Free AWS Cloud Project Boot Camp. It was a great experience doing some practical project work, and had a great community behind it. It was a lot of work to keep up with week to week, and I ended up burning out a bit towards the end, but still managed to do enough to achieve Blue Squad.

I wrote a number of articles to support the other boot camp members; including homework recaps, development environment tips, and more. I received a lot of messages of appreciation for the resources, which I was very happy about.

If you’re interested in doing a project that teaches a lot of practical skills when developing on AWS, definitely check out the website and video archive. This can be done on your own time, but hopefully there will be another cohort for the boot camp in the future. In the meantime, you can check out the entire playlist on FreeCodeCamp in this video:

Huge thank you to Andrew Brown for organizing and leading the bootcamp, and all of the instructors and volunteers that helped out.

You can find all of the resources on the ExamPro YouTube Playlist and the Bootcamp Website.

AWS Summit 2023 – Toronto

This was my second year attending AWS Summit in Toronto. It was held on June 14, 2023 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

AWS Summits are a series of free online and in-person events that bring the cloud computing community together to connect, collaborate, and learn about AWS. This year the Summit was only one day, and it was a bit smaller than the previous year. It was still a great experience, with a lot of good panels and presentations. It was also a great opportunity to network and chat with others in the tech community.

I was happy to see some of my fellow AWS Community Builders present at the AWS Dev Chats stage in the main Expo area, and I got to meet Jason Dunn in person, as he was keeping an eye on things there.

Here’s a quick recap, and I’ll add my photos to the bottom of this article if you want to have a peek.

Training and Certification

I did a bunch of courses and exams this year to increase my knowledge of AWS. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to take a number of instructor led courses from the AWS + Cisco partnership, and I had a couple of free exam vouchers that I wanted to use up. I managed to pass the exams for AWS Cloud Practitioner and AWS Solutions Architect Associate. On top of this, I completed a couple of AWS Partner accreditations, and a couple of AWS badges. You can see all of these on my Portfolio page, as well as my Credly profile.

On top of this, I’m proud that the Training & Certification WebEx Group I started at Cisco grew to over 1700 members. It was very active with many employees asking questions, looking for training resources, and sharing knowledge. Our AWS account managers also participated, so it was a great source of information and collaboration. Our training team organized a number of certification challenges and training initiatives, and provided resources alongside AWS to drive cloud adoption.

I’ll be continuing my own learning path on AWS, most likely working next towards the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate certification.

AWS New Voices Program

One of the wonderful things with the AWS Community Builders program is all of the support and resources from the community. We don’t just discuss technical topics around AWS, but also content creation and public speaking. One of the newer initiatives that was put together this year was the AWS New Voices program, which is a 5 week foundational program to help improve public speaking. I participated in this program earlier this year, and gave a number of presentations using the skills learned to my local Linux User Group, as well as a college course I started teaching recently.

The program was immensely positive, and I can’t say enough good things about it. I wrote an article up with my thoughts and some of the lessons learned on the program.

AI Hackathon

In November 2023, Cisco held an internal Hackathon themed around using AI/ML tools. We were provided access to OpenAI resources, Amazon Sagemaker, and Amazon Bedrock through test accounts. A number of training classes and other resources were also made available to help us learn to use these tools. I led a team of seven teammates to build some tools around AI/ML and Kubernetes. Our goal was to develop AI based tools and automation that could enable developers using our Kubernetes platform to self service, by troubleshooting their own issue and provide real-time support to assist with remediating issues. The idea was to reducing the burden to on-call support resources, reduce cost by decreasing time to resolution, and provide quick status updates via AI Chatbots on the state of the clusters.

Initially we set up Amazon Sagemaker Jumpstart, and set up models such as Falcon 7B to attempt to analyze data. We did some work with pulling logs from Datadog and passing it to various LLMs to see what kind of insights we could get back.

Eventually, we found the K8sGPT Project, which did a lot of what we were looking to accomplish. We set this up to scan our test Kubernetes cluster, and report back identified errors and potential solutions. This worked rather well, as it was able to identify lists of pods experiencing issues, as well as do more in-depth analysis of individual pods and namespaces.

I’ll be doing more work on this topic in future articles.


It’s been a busy year with work, and I’m happy I’ve been able to work a lot on gaining experience and knowledge with AWS to further my career. I was fortunate to work a lot on AWS, and have access to so many resources to learn and grow.

I’m also grateful to Augusto Valdivia for introducing me to the AWS Community Builders program, as I had not heard of it before attending my first AWS Summit, and seeing his T-Shirt (informed swag FTW).

Thank you AWS for accepting me for another year in the program, and I look forward to contributing even more!


Here are my photos from AWS Summit Toronto 2023. I don’t think I caught enough, as I was usually busy listening to the presentations or chats. More next year!


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