Introducing the #NikemaLearns DevOps Blog Series

Introducing the #NikemaLearns DevOps Blog Series

I am geeked out about learning! I get enjoyment out of adding to my knowledge and pushing at the edges of my comfort zone. While continuous learning is important to me, It’s easy to fall out of practice when work and family time demand a lot of my attention.

Part of what excited me about joining the Armory crew was the culture that promotes a growth mindset, experimentation, and psychological safety. One of our employee perks is an educational budget that we can use for professional development.

Since Armory is offering to invest in my education, I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity to level up my skills and learn on the job. I see value in documenting my learning in public with a blog series, and that’s what I’m announcing today. 

My hope is that my fellow technologists (especially developers) who are new to DevOps will see me wobbling about on my training wheels and feel encouraged to learn more about this field for themselves. 

GIF alt text: Person swaying with books stacked on their head. Pencils and writing utensils in the background. Text: Always Be Learning

My Starting Point

I started out making webpages on our family computer as a kid and tech has been part of my life ever since. What I love about our industry is that there’s always more to learn, there’s always the next level. 

As I discover more about myself and my aptitude, it has been a fun challenge to see which areas of tech align the most with my natural abilities and interests. I have the most exposure to programming (in a variety of languages) and front-end development (HTML, CSS, JavaScript). I’ve dipped my toe in lots of things; I’m not an expert in any of them. I consider myself a language-agnostic generalist. 

My relative inexperience with cloud computing and DevOps triggered my insecurities in my early days at Armory. I accept that It’s normal and natural to be wobbly when taking on something new. Starting in a new role and feeling like everything is new is nerve-wracking. It took me a minute, but I’ve started to settle in to remember who I am. 

GIF alt text: Cartoony, anthropomorphized, cloud literally making it rain dollar bills.
Nikema’s sidenote: There’s a lot of money to be made in this industry and you don’t necessarily need to be a programmer 👀. Don’t forget the wide variety of tech roles available for you to pursue.

I trust myself enough to know that I can learn new things and I can do hard things. After investing a few hours into getting up to speed in this new domain, I realize that I’m coming in with more than a blank slate. I have peripheral knowledge and experience. 

My pre-training self-assessment is that I’m an advanced-beginner. I’m solidly in noob territory but I know a couple of things.

My Objective

My first milestone objective is to earn the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification. I chose this certification for several reasons:

  • I had a false start to this learning in public blog series because without enough structure, I struggle to stay on task. With a popular certification, I can easily find structured study plans off the shelf.
  • I needed a confidence boost. Learning something new and having the receipts of my progress (the blog series and the certificate in this case) is my approach to combatting impostor syndrome. Also Cloud Practitioner is the foundational certification, it feels well within reach of my starting point.
  • The more familiar I get with cloud infrastructure and DevOps the more comfortable I’ll be in my role at Armory. I’m looking forward to having a deeper understanding about what we do and how my work serves our vision to “unlock innovation through software.” 

I have access to O’Reilly study materials and the online learning platform provided by AWS. My first step will be to take the practice exams. In my next post, I’ll have a more defined study plan and a projected testing date. 

The Format

Every other Friday I’ll publish a blog reflecting on what I learned and what I did in the preceding weeks. I haven’t decided on the exact format for these posts yet, but I’m aiming for the standard of “really good notes” as defined by Joel Hooks.

Let’s Go!

I’m excited to get back into focused and structured learning. Not only will I learn the foundations of the AWS cloud, but I’ll also get to practice what mentor-in-my-head Angie Jones calls “working out loud.”

I aspire to be a developer advocate and building a public body of work is how I intend to prove I’m capable of that role.

If you want to follow my learning journey on social media, I’ll be using the hashtag #NikemaLearns to talk about it with links to each blog post. 

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Getting started with Epic React – #NikemaLearns React

I finished the welcome section of Epic React and I’m super excited about getting started with React Fundamentals. The plan is to document my learning as I progress through the course.

Reflecting on and sharing what you’ve learned is baked into the course. I love that and the KCD Learning Clubs. I know peer coaching works to reinforce learning and staying motivated on the path to completion. There are no open clubs at the moment and I don’t really feel like starting one myself. Let’s see how it works out for me.

#NikemaLearns about DevOps – Day 2

I worked on a bit more of the DevOps Prerequisites Course – Getting started with DevOps.

I covered some commands for user accounts, downloading files with curl and wget, checking the OS version, RPM and Yum, and services.

Using systemctl is definitely new, I never learned that. I would always use service ... start, stop, enable, etc.

I stopped the video at the point where the instructor is introducing the vi editor. I’m interested to see if I will pick up some new tips. I can use vi well enough, (I know how to exit 😀), but I never took the time to learn to use it well. I generally use VS Code or nano.

#NikemaLearns about DevOps – Day 1

#NikemaLearns about DevOps – Day 1

On my first of n posts, I always like to make it simple and easy. Getting started alone is an achievement. Let’s go!

I’ll be making daily updates in the style of 100 Days of Code. That’s the plan at least. I’m starting with free resources for learning DevOps tools and concepts. My first lessons are coming from this video: DevOps Prerequisites Course – Getting started with DevOps.

I covered the first section and completed the labs in Teachable. This section included the course introduction and using the Linux CLI. A lot of the content was a review, but I learned a few things. I took notes by hand, just like I did in the old days 😀