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Minimal blog about IT

2023 as AWS Community Builder

2024-01-21 6 min read 3sky


It’s the 3rd week of January 2024. The Community Builder form for the current year is probably already closed, right? Ah, it’s not true. It will be closed on the 27th of January, so you still have some time - 5 days. If you need a TLDR, go and apply as fast as possible! Do it now! If you’ve already applied, I have some stories to share or rather an extended 2023 summary. Please treat this as a possible path; I think you can do it better.


That was a regular January. I worked for ISS A/S as a Platform Architect. My main task was migrating the Atlassian Platform to AWS, including Jira, Confluence, and Crowd implementation. I have some AWS-oriented skills, as I’ve already worked with Cloud Computing for more than 2 years as a general consultant. Also, I know a bit about Machine Learning, so I reserved a spot on the SageMaker Immersion Day, conducted by Chaos Gears, on the 4th of February. An important note: Wojtek GawroĊ„ski shared the Community Builder application form on LinkedIn. So, without being involved in the AWS Community, I decided to apply. I wasn’t very optimistic. I only have 2 blog posts related to AWS and a newsletter.


The SageMaker Immersion Day was great. Tomek provided a lot of information to the audience, and the general experience was great. During the event, I met Dominik. I already knew that he was a Community Builder, so I asked him, “Is it good to be a Community Builder?” Dominik said that it’s a great thing and it’s worth becoming part of the program. Now I know that he was lying, as he decided to become an “AWS Hero.” Just kidding.

24th of February

During 5 hours, I was accepted as a Community Builder, then refused and accepted again. cb-approval Thankfully, it was night in Poland, and I was able to read email after email. However, I was a bit confused at the beginning. After that, I was an official AWS Community Builder. So, what does it mean? In general, access to a community of experts. For example, if you are interested in a topic, like DNS resolving of a private DB in a private network inside the regular Internet, you can just ask. There is a huge chance that an AWS employee who knows the internal logic very well will respond. Besides that:

  • free exam voucher
  • re:Invent discount
  • $500 AWS credits
  • swag

But, in general, the community on Slack is the biggest advantage of the program.


I submitted my first talk for AWS User Group Warsaw. The title was Self-service or not to self-service, a good topic, and quite a solid presentation. My talk was accepted for the event and at the end of March, I had my first public talk. I was very stressed, also execution was hm, could have been better.


I passed AWS SA Pro, without any AWS exam before. On first attend, however, it required a lot of work and preparation. In my opinion, it’s not an exam that you can pass based on your hands-on experience. Some questions need in-depth knowledge about a particular domain, not used in regular day-to-day work. Why not start with the Associate exam? There was a promotion code, that allowed you to get 50% off on the Pro/Speciality exam, so I decided that If I could get it for 150$, I prefer to start from a higher bar. And boom - passed.


AWS Community Day, Warsaw, PGE Narodowy. The big event, where I also submitted a talk. Now it was in English and the topic was more technical - Use Machine Learning for video subtitles. My presentation was the last talk, with solid talks in parallel. Now I was stressed, as you can guess English isn’t my native language, also the rank of the event was big. Overall score after the talk? 3.5/5, only two questions. So, yes it could be better, however, I was proud that I was accepted and able to deliver.


After a vacation, I had a chance to conduct the same talk on WarsawJS, as the whole implementation was done in TypeScript. The talk wasn’t recorded due, to technical issues, but you can watch it as post-recording here. After that, even I show it to an internal workshop for my external client. So at this point, I was after 3 public talks.


During my work for ISS, I met Filip who is a Security Architect, he was asked to become a member of the program committee in the cloud security area at THS. During the coffee chat, he asked if I was interested in presenting something. As I enjoyed public speaking more and more, there was only one answer - yes. So for this conference, I prepared a talk called “Secure access to EC2: SSH, SSM, EC2 Instance Connect”. Rather technical, with many slides with recorded demo, and implementation in CloudFormation. I got a good rating - 5/5, however, my presentation was conducted almost at the beginning of the conference, very early.


AWS Security Speciality exam passed! I used my voucher for it. The exam wasn’t very hard after SA Pro, however, required deep knowledge in a few domains, of course, security-oriented. Also I accepted an offer from Red Hat, so If you know me a bit, for me that’s the “dream” company since I was an Intern at LinuxPolska.


I conducted my talk about EC2 access at another conference called yavaconf. The last talk, was on Sunday, during Java-oriented programmers. So I decided to add implementation in Java, with the usage of CDK as a live demo part. I enjoyed this presentation a lot, even if the audience was very small, I had a chance to conduct a talk in the biggest room in my old college building.


So during the last year (2023), I wrote 7 articles on my blog, conducted 5 public talks (one recorded), and passed two AWS exams. All of these elements were motivated by the Community Builder program. Without that, I probably would have skipped the exam, had no motivation to speak in public, or write so many blog posts.

Even the number of people I met during this year is outstanding; all of them are great and helpful. Ahh, I almost forgot:

So, if you’re interested in being part of a great community or getting a real motivation boost, that’s a great place to be.