How to Motivate your Team to get AWS Certified

How to Motivate your Team to get AWS Certification

In a recent Team Survey by Wattsnext HR Consultants, TechConnect scored off the charts for the Training and Development opportunities it offers Team Members. We put heaps of effort into this and are proud of the result. In light of this, we thought we would share some of our methodologies on how to motivate your team to get AWS certification.

TechConnect is a cloud-based consultancy firm and we require our team members to always be a few steps ahead of the customers when it comes to tech ability. We have found that studying and completing the AWS certification exams really do assist with fantastic project outcomes and delighted customers, so we have invested heavily in this area.

If  you have a group of over-worked Techies that crawl out the door after a 10 hour slog most days, how do you motivate and invigorate them to further their qualifications? Letting your techies take a moment to sharpen their axe rather than keeping them at it with a blunt one greatly benefits both your employees and your business.  Our proven program is outlined below and is with reference to the AWS exams, but can be altered for other Tech based exams.

 

TechConnect AWS Certification Training and exam ideas :

  • Speak to AWS about understanding their training programs and look at setting up a training plan for your business. The training they have is extremely relevant and the labs are gold.
  • Subscribe to the AWS online training portal.
  • Offer your team instructor-led training. These are nearly always 3-day courses with some very relevant Labs.
  • If you are not located near a training centre or have people that prefer their own space, give the team member 3 days off to complete the online study. We use A Cloud Guru and it has been great.
  • Wherever possible, give the person relevant work to give them experience on the particular tools they will be assessed on. Giving a person a lot of devops work when they are studying for the AWS Certified Big Data exam does not help.
  • Dependent on the exam, we give the person a day off prior to the exam to help them study and prepare.
  • Pay for the cost of the exam for the team member – on the proviso that they pass!
  • Our big clincher is that we have a menu of bonuses the team member gets for passing. We have heaps of guys completing the exams in the lead up to Christmas as they want a little extra cash for the Christmas period. By way of example:
    • Associate Exam – $500
    • Big Data Exam – $2,500
    • Professional Exam – $2,500
  • speak to your account manager to see if they can assist as AWS are usually very excited about us getting people AWS certification
  • Set-up Friday afternoon tech sessions where the guys can ask the more experienced team members the questions they have.
  • Ensure the leaders set good examples for the team. Two of our directors are AWS Certified Professional Architects.

At TechConnect we strongly believe that we are a learning organisation and all team members buy into this culture. Our team members give up their own time to ensure the others are well equipped to study for and take the exams. We’re all here to help support each other!

Outcomes of our program:

  • We have a highly qualified workforce that is ready to delight customers with their expertise.
  • We are looking to achieve several AWS competencies. TechConnect now have our sights on the Big Data competency and are nearly there. The certifications enable the competencies.
  • A knowledgeable workforce works faster which allows us to be competitive in an already competitive market
  • Retention – We have great employee retention due to the investment we make in the team members.  This reminds me of the age-old joke:

Two managers are talking about training their employees. The first asks, “Yeah, but what if we train them, and they just leave?” The second responds, “What if we don’t train them, and they stay?”

  • Lazy team members don’t like to get qualified whereas energetic team members do. We scare the lazy ones and attract the energetic ones who become the high performing team members. This in turn makes Tech Connect a high performing organisation.

At TechConnect, we have had remarkable results with investing in training and hope this article helps in some way in steering your ship. If you are an employee, share this with your Leaders so they can assist in getting you skilled. If they don’t and you believe you are one of the energetic ones, jump on our website and drop us an email 😊

Training graduates for the cloud

How to Train your Grads

How to Train your Graduates

TechConnect is an AWS advanced partner and does a large amount of work in the cloud specifically around making sense of people’s complex data problems. Due to this, the technologies we work with are all relatively new and to find new team members with the necessary skill set is like finding a needle in a haystack.  We have searched far and wide to fill positions with people who have skills in Elastic Mapreduce, Redshift, Kinesis etc. with not much luck.

As we could not find them, we decided to make our own. The recipe was quite simple – train a graduate:

  • Write a study program for getting graduates skilled fast. Amazon Web Services offers a lot of free courses for graduates and there are several excellent value online courses.
  • Create an attractive year long roadmap for graduates to go from entry level salary to a very competitive salary if they hit certain milestones.
  • Ensure your company has a strong culture of sharing knowledge.
  • Attend Ribit University days where students can be introduced to the business.
  • Advertise on Ribit for free.
  • Interview graduates and assess whether their personality is an ideal fit as well as having a competent language ability.
  • Create a test to challenge graduates that want to work for TechConnect.
  • Get graduates to complete the tests.
  • Take on the best performing graduates.
  • Accelerate them through the program.
  • Make sure you have excellent support structures for the graduates. You need to ensure your ratio of graduates to seniors is appropriate for the work you do.

We have found this has worked excellently for us with definite advantages:

  • It’s really great to give back to the community. The whole team enjoys watching the graduates develop and revel in their success. Our team is very passionate in helping people grow their skillsets.
  • The graduate’s brains are like sponges and they take every opportunity to soak up knowledge
  • They are surprisingly very commercially astute.
  • They are loyal as they know you provided them with this excellent opportunity.
  • TechConnect acquires cost effective people that are trained in the exact technologies the company uses.
  • Our graduates have excellent customer service and do not need to be hidden away.
  • No one has 15 years’ experience in Redshift or Kinesis.
  • The graduates we have are generally excellent mathematicians which is gold in the data space.

Some tips with training your graduates:

  • When something new comes out in cloud that you know you will need (eg. AWS Athena) get the graduates to research the new product and then present a report during a brown bag session. As soon as the product is required, the seniors can call on that graduates to help and suddenly, they are subject matter experts.
  • The graduates generally do some really funky projects at Uni that make commercial projects seem quite dull. Let the graduates know this before they come onboard! We have had no complaints from the graduates as we always manage expectations. They are moving from doing intriguing AI projects with limited time pressures to crunching boring financial numbers and presenting this in some visualisation product. We do have interesting projects, but they are not all drones and underwater camera kind of projects.
  • Ensure you know what your graduates have studied. If you get a data project in the health space and you have a Biomedical graduate, they will be of enormous value.
  • Employ seniors who have a passion for upskilling and mentoring others. This is paramount to the success of the program.
  • They can be a bit nervous at times so make sure you explain company strategy and plans. For example, we do quarterly one on ones and had an excellent graduate very nervous that we were letting them go.
  • Graduates don’t know older or more enterprise technologies like SAP or Oracle and to be honest they won’t be too interested in these.
  • Don’t be afraid of taking on PhDs. They are phenomenally clever, and it sounds really cool when introducing them to your customers. We have two PhDs and two in the final stages of getting their PhDs.

Everything said, we have had 9 graduates pass through our doors and have retained 8. Some have been with us for 4 years now and therefore are pretty senior when it comes to cloud technologies.

I started my career off as a Physics/Chem teacher, so I am very passionate in regard to watching people grow. If you have any questions, please give us a hoy.

Banner image © DreamWorks Animation