AWS Projects: When You Want to Have More to Show cover image

When people get interested in AWS certifications, it’s rarely out of personal interest. It’s understandable – using the AWS cloud is not something you would typically do in your spare time: it’s a highly career-oriented skill that is usually gained in hopes of attracting a great new job, getting a promotion or a raise, or even reskilling completely. If you’re one of those who wish to use certifications as a way to make their resume stand out, you might have also looked into other alternatives. Passing an exam is great, but who says you need to stop there?

Take AWS projects, for example. How cool would it be to be able to show your potential employer not just a badge of certification, but also an actual working website or application that you completed and deployed on your own? And with the smörgåsbord of products and services AWS offers, you have all the tools you need to do it! All that’s left to do is pick some AWS project ideas to get you going. We hope this guide will not only highlight some excellent sources of ideas for AWS projects but also serve as an inspiration: you can do anything you put your mind to!

The Main Services to Know Before You Dive Into AWS Projects

If you haven’t passed your certification exam or even looked at the actual services AWS encompasses yet, you might get a little spooked once you do. The variety is overwhelming – and it doesn’t stop growing, either! The good news is, you don’t need to know them all like the back of your hand to actually start working on your own AWS project ideas. Three or four services are usually enough for a simple beginner-level project. Which are the most commonly used ones, you ask?

According to cloud experts, there’s a handful of services every aspiring specialist should be familiar with, as they are used basically everywhere – and AWS projects for beginners are not an exception. Let’s review the main products you should get to know:

  • Simple Storage Service (S3) is meant for object storage: this is what you’d use to keep your apps, websites, archives, and all the other files you need for your AWS projects
  • Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) lets you define a virtual network and launch AWS resources into it without using any special hardware, physical data centers, or VPNs
  • Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) basically rents out computing power, storage space, and network connectivity for you to use in your AWS projects
  • Elastic Block Store (EBS), just as the name suggests, is a block storage service, built to be used with EC2 for severe workloads
  • Relational Database Service (RDS) is another self-explanatory name: using this service, you can build, manage, and scale a relational database in the AWS cloud
  • CloudWatch allows you to easily monitor your apps and keep the relevant data in logs, metrics, and events, so you can make sure everything is running a-okay and catch any unwanted changes in time

Naturally, the more specific your AWS project ideas get, the more specialized services you might need to use. The good news is, if you can think of it, AWS probably has it – from developer tools to quantum technologies, it’s all there in your console!

Are All AWS Project Ideas for Beginners Equally Good?

AWS is a cloud computing trailblazer for a reason. By providing all the tools in one place, it’s capable of serving various businesses and appealing to a lot of different positions in them. It’s a powerhouse – and as an aspiring tech professional, you would be silly not to take advantage of it!

You can find some AWS sample projects on the official website and GitHub repository of AWS itself. The variety is breathtaking – from creating an audio transcript in 10 minutes to deploying cloud desktops in a couple of days! However, there are two reasons these projects might not tickle your fancy, so to speak. First of all, to follow these AWS project ideas, you will have to use your own AWS account, and some of them include using services that aren’t available in the free tier. This, however, is a small disadvantage: most of the project will only cost you a few bucks to complete, as AWS follows the pay-for-what-you-use logic, and most projects won’t require you to use the services for more than an hour or two.

Secondly, the AWS projects you can find on the official website are highly practical. This can be a good thing, of course – but it also means ordinary. If you’re someone with a dash of a creative spirit, it might be hard to feel engaged in those, as they’re not exactly very original or innovative (hosting a static website… Give us a break!). Moreover, the ideas that can be simply found on the official AWS website are the ones most people see and try, so they’re far from the best choice when it comes to impressing recruiters with your unique achievements.

AWS Projects That Will Set You Apart

Let me tell you a little secret: your chances to find innovative ideas for AWS projects get a lot higher when you include non-AWS specific websites and databases in your search. While browsing them might take a bit more time than merely taking the first item off the official AWS-curated list, it’s a lot more likely your employer or recruiter will not have seen the actual project in action before – which translates into better chances to stand out. Let’s look at a few options for such sites, shall we?

Qwiklabs focuses on Google Cloud Platform and AWS projects. What sets this website apart is the fact that it provides temporary credentials to the platforms, so you don’t need to settle for simulations or worry about building your own account just yet. There is, of course, a resource limit set for every project to make sure you don’t use the credentials for unrelated activities. Aside from AWS projects for beginners, they have multi-day courses, and the topics are a lot more engaging than the ones on the official website: you can, for example, learn to monetize a live video stream or implement a Slack chatbot. The range of topics varies from application development to machine learning and security, so there’s definitely something for everyone.

Another excellent option for those who simply cannot sit still without their creative juice flowing all around is Hackster. While this platform houses a ton of various project ideas designed for different platforms, products, and topics, there’s currently almost 800 that focus on AWS. As the website’s name suggests, these AWS projects are a lot more experimental – and hence, a lot more intriguing! They are, on the other hand, more complex, and often require using various types of hardware as well (e.g., Raspberry PIs, Arduinos, or even 3D printers). Still, if your goal is to impress someone – or if you’re an avid hobbyist – you’re going to have a ton of fun with your AWS projects from Hackster!

Before You Roll Up Your Sleeves

At the end of the day, whether you decide to stay practical with the AWS sample projects offered on the official website or build an all-encompassing smart home security system from Hackster, the important thing is for you to know your options. AWS provides you with a great deal of possibilities, and it’s up to you to put them to a good use!

Who wouldn’t want a professional who’s both knowledgeable and passionate about the systems they’re working with? Paired with an AWS certification, a couple of completed AWS projects will surely leave a great first impression to your future employer – just don’t forget to iron your shirt before you leave for the interview!

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Vaida Jėčienė