Five Steps to Becoming an AWS APN Ambassador

Varun Kumar Manik
13 min readFeb 6, 2024

Journey Toward the APN Ambassador: “The Varun Kumar Manik Blueprint”

How to Become an AWS APN Ambassador? : A Comprehensive Guide

In the rapidly evolving realm of cloud computing, the AWS Partner Network (APN) Ambassador Program stands out as a beacon of excellence, recognizing individuals who not only possess deep technical expertise in Amazon Web Services (AWS) but also demonstrate a passionate commitment to sharing this knowledge within the community. The journey to achieving the prestigious title of an AWS APN Ambassador is both challenging and rewarding, requiring a unique blend of skills, dedication, and community spirit.

Case Study: Varun Kumar’s inspiring ascent to AWS APN Ambassadorship serves as a compelling blueprint for cloud professionals aiming to reach the pinnacle of AWS expertise and influence. As a Manager in the Cloud Engineering team at Deloitte Southeast Asia, Varun has not only showcased his profound technical proficiency across multiple AWS certifications but has also made significant contributions to the global cloud community through blogging, public speaking, and mentorship.

This blog post delves into the five critical steps that define the path to becoming an AWS APN Ambassador, drawing from Varun Kumar’s exemplary journey. From gaining hands-on experience and earning AWS certifications to actively contributing to the community and beyond, we explore how aspiring cloud professionals can navigate their way to ambassadorship, inspired by Varun’s dedication and achievements. Whether you’re starting your AWS journey or looking to elevate your expertise and community engagement to new heights, Varun’s story offers invaluable insights and motivation. Join us as we unravel the journey to AWS APN Ambassadorship, a journey of continuous learning, sharing, and innovation in the cloud

Understand the AWS APN Ambassador Program

The AWS APN Ambassador Program is designed for individuals who possess advanced technical knowledge and experience in AWS services. Ambassadors are typically part of the AWS Partner Network and are recognized for their efforts in contributing to the community through blogs, public speaking, and participation in various AWS-related events and initiatives.

Eligibility Criteria

To become an AWS APN Ambassador, you must:

  1. Be employed by an AWS APN Consulting Partner: The program is exclusive to professionals working with AWS Consulting Partners who are in good standing. (Example: Deloitte)
  2. Hold multiple AWS Certifications: At least one Associate-level and one Professional-level certification are generally required.
  3. Demonstrate deep technical expertise: This includes having a strong understanding of AWS architecture, best practices, and the ability to design complex AWS solutions.
  4. Actively contribute to the AWS community: Whether through blogs, social media, public speaking, or contributing to open-source projects, your active participation is key.
  5. Continue Your AWS Journey: Even after achieving Ambassador status, it’s important to continue learning and contributing. The cloud landscape is ever-evolving, and staying updated is key to maintaining your status as an Ambassador.

Steps to Becoming an AWS APN Ambassador

Step 1: Gain Experience and Certifications

Start by gaining hands-on experience with AWS services. Work on various projects that allow you to explore different aspects of AWS. Simultaneously, pursue AWS certifications, starting with the foundational level and moving up to the Associate and Professional levels.

Case study:

Path to AWS APN Ambassadorship: Highlighting Varun Kumar’s Journey

Embarking on a journey to become an AWS APN Ambassador demands a blend of deep technical expertise, a passion for sharing knowledge, and a commitment to the AWS community. Varun Kumar, a Manager in the Cloud Engineering team at Deloitte, exemplifies what it means to achieve this prestigious status. With a comprehensive portfolio of AWS certifications and a rich background in cloud engineering, Varun’s path provides invaluable insights for aspiring AWS professionals.

Varun Kumar’s Credentials

Varun stands out as a beacon of expertise in the AWS landscape, holding all six pivotal AWS certifications, showcasing his broad and deep command over various AWS domains:

  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer — Professional (Certification ID: 893B15S19JQ11PK8)
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate (Certification ID: ZM8H1H2CFJEQQLGT)
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator — Associate (Certification ID: CW3N7VJ1MFQQQDKV)
  • AWS Certified Developer — Associate (Certification ID: 8D9S34P2G111Q39B)
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Professional (Certification ID: R2GQQHTC3FR1QM3R)
  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (Certification ID: 6Z26VC5CH2VE1C5C)

Gain Experience and Certifications

Varun’s journey underscores the importance of a hands-on, immersive experience in AWS services. By engaging in diverse projects, he explored the multifaceted world of AWS, from foundational services to advanced solutions. His commitment to continuous learning is evident in his pursuit of AWS certifications, systematically advancing from the foundational Cloud Practitioner level through to the Professional certifications in Solutions Architect and DevOps Engineer.

This methodical approach not only solidified his technical acumen but also prepared him for the challenges and responsibilities of an AWS APN Ambassador.

The Path Forward

For professionals inspired by Varun Kumar’s accomplishments, the first step towards becoming an AWS APN Ambassador involves gaining practical experience and a thorough understanding of AWS services. This foundational step is crucial and multifaceted, involving:

  • Engagement in Diverse Projects: Dive into projects that span various AWS services to develop a comprehensive understanding and hands-on experience. This real-world application is invaluable.
  • Certification Journey: Follow Varun’s lead by starting with the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification and progressively tackling more advanced certifications. Each certification not only validates your skills but also deepens your knowledge base.

Step 2: Contribute to the Community

Community contribution is a cornerstone of the Ambassador program. Start a blog, speak at AWS or cloud computing events, contribute to forums like the AWS re: Post or GitHub open-source project, and share your knowledge on social media platforms.

Case study:

A Beacon of Knowledge in the AWS Community

Varun Kumar’s journey as an AWS APN Ambassador is not just marked by his impressive array of certifications but also by his substantial contributions to the AWS community. His active engagement across various platforms exemplifies the essence of what it means to be a leader and influencer in the cloud computing space.

Community Contributions

Blogs on Medium: Varun maintains a prolific presence on Medium (@varunmanik1), where he shares in-depth insights, tutorials, and best practices on AWS services and DevOps methodologies. His articles serve as a valuable resource for both beginners and experienced professionals seeking to deepen their understanding of cloud technologies.

Global Speaking Engagements: Known for his expertise in DevOps, Varun is a sought-after speaker at international forums in countries like India and Malaysia, among others. His sessions, often focused on innovative AWS solutions and the transformative power of DevOps, inspire professionals worldwide to leverage cloud technologies for enhanced efficiency and innovation.

AWS Events and Community Talks: Varun’s voice resonates within the AWS ecosystem through his participation in numerous AWS events. These platforms enable him to share his knowledge, experiences, and best practices with a wider audience, fostering a culture of learning and development.

YouTube Channel: His YouTube channel (@ManikCloud) is a treasure trove of hands-on videos on AWS DevOps topics. Through these tutorials, Varun demystifies complex concepts and demonstrates practical implementations, making cloud computing accessible to a broad audience.

Open Source Projects on GitHub: Varun actively contributes to open-source projects related to AWS on GitHub (manikcloud). His repositories are a testament to his commitment to the open-source ethos, providing tools, scripts, and frameworks that empower developers to build more robust and efficient cloud-native applications.

The Impact of Community Contribution

Varun Kumar’s extensive community work underscores the importance of sharing knowledge and experiences in the tech world. His efforts not only help in demystifying cloud technologies but also play a crucial role in building a supportive and informed AWS community. For those aspiring to become AWS APN Ambassadors, Varun’s journey highlights the significance of:

  • Sharing Knowledge: Through blogging and speaking engagements, you can contribute to the collective learning of the community.
  • Demonstrating Expertise: Hands-on videos and open-source contributions showcase your skills and offer practical solutions to common challenges.
  • Fostering Community: Participation in forums and AWS events helps in building networks and supporting others in their learning journey.

Step 3: Join an AWS APN Consulting Partner

If you’re not already part of an AWS Consulting Partner organization, consider joining one. Being part of such an organization is a prerequisite for the Ambassador program.

Case study:

Journey to AWS APN Ambassadorship with Deloitte SEA

Varun Kumar’s trajectory within the AWS ecosystem serves as a stellar example of leveraging opportunities and making significant contributions, even in challenging times. Joining Deloitte Southeast Asia (SEA) in August 2019, Varun quickly distinguished himself as a cloud engineering expert, culminating in his nomination as an AWS APN Ambassador in April 2020 — a remarkable achievement within less than a year of his tenure.

Embracing Opportunities in Unprecedented Times

The global shift to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic presented unique challenges and opportunities. Varun capitalized on this period, dedicating his time to writing blogs and sharing his knowledge on YouTube. This effort not only demonstrated his commitment to the AWS community but also showcased his ability to adapt and thrive in uncertain times.

The Path to Promotion

Varun’s dedication and contributions were recognized in Sept. 2021 with a well-deserved promotion to Manager within Deloitte’s cloud engineering team. This promotion was a testament to his technical prowess, leadership capabilities, and the positive impact of his community engagement on the broader AWS ecosystem.

Joining an AWS APN Consulting Partner

Varun’s journey underscores the importance of being associated with an AWS APN Consulting Partner. Deloitte SEA, known for its leading-edge solutions and services in the cloud domain, provided the perfect platform for Varun to excel and eventually earn the prestigious AWS APN Ambassador nomination. This affiliation not only enabled him to work on innovative projects but also offered him avenues to share his expertise more broadly.

  • Leverage Your Platform: Working with an AWS APN Consulting Partner like Deloitte SEA can offer unmatched exposure to cutting-edge projects and a community of experts. This environment is conducive to learning, growth, and showcasing your expertise.
  • Utilize Every Opportunity: Varun’s story highlights how periods of adversity, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can be transformed into opportunities for personal and professional development.
  • Commit to Community Engagement: Active participation in the community through blogging, video tutorials, and public speaking is crucial. These activities not only enhance your profile but also contribute significantly to the AWS ecosystem.
  • Pursue Continuous Learning and Sharing: Varun’s journey from joining Deloitte SEA to becoming an AWS APN Ambassador within a year is a powerful reminder of the importance of continuous learning and sharing. His dedication to acquiring certifications and his enthusiasm for sharing knowledge were key factors in his rapid rise.

Step 4: Nomination

Ambassadorship is by nomination either from your APN Consulting Partner or by AWS. Ensure your contributions and achievements are visible to your organization and the AWS team. Participation in AWS programs and initiatives can increase your visibility.

Case study:

Ascent to AWS APN Ambassador: The Nomination Journey

Varun Kumar’s path to becoming an AWS APN Ambassador is a testament to his dedication, expertise, and substantial contributions to the AWS community. His nomination journey, marked by significant achievements and recognitions, underscores the essence of excellence in the cloud computing domain.

The Nomination Process

In April 2020, Deloitte, recognizing Varun’s exceptional skills and contributions, submitted his case for the AWS APN Ambassador Program. This move by Deloitte SEA was a testament to their acknowledgment of Varun’s expertise and his potential to represent the organization and AWS with distinction. The nomination process highlights the critical role of an AWS APN Consulting Partner in identifying and promoting talent within their ranks.

Recognition by AWS and the Tech Community

Varun’s nomination was further solidified in July 2020 when AWS officially recognized him as an APN Ambassador. This accolade was not just a nod to his technical proficiency but also to his passionate advocacy for AWS technologies. Varun’s influence and contributions were so impactful that Mr. Jeff Barr, Vice President and Chief Evangelist for AWS, highlighted Varun’s DevOps blog on his Twitter handle, further amplifying Varun’s visibility within the tech community.

Accolades and Achievements

Since his nomination, Varun has not only maintained his status as an AWS APN Ambassador but also garnered numerous accolades, including:

  • Top Contributor ASEAN in the APN Ambassador Program 2020: This award is a testament to Varun’s unparalleled contributions and his leadership in the ASEAN region.
  • Nominated as Technical Expertise Blogger in ASEAN from AWS 2020: Recognizing his ability to demystify complex AWS solutions and share knowledge through compelling blog content.

The Importance of Visibility and Participation

Varun Kumar’s journey accentuates the importance of visibility and active participation within the AWS ecosystem. His engagement through blogging, speaking at events, and contributing to open-source projects exemplified how contributions outside of traditional work roles could significantly enhance one’s professional trajectory. Participation in AWS programs and initiatives not only increased his visibility but also positioned him as a thought leader in cloud computing.

Step 5: Continue Your AWS Journey

Even after achieving Ambassador status, it’s important to continue learning and contributing. The cloud landscape is ever-evolving, and staying updated is key to maintaining your status as an Ambassador.

Benefits of Being an AWS APN Ambassador

Becoming an Ambassador offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Recognition: As an Ambassador, you’ll be recognized as a leader in the AWS community.
  • Networking: You’ll join a network of like-minded professionals and AWS experts.
  • Access to AWS resources: Ambassadors gain access to additional AWS training and resources.
  • Increased visibility: Through speaking engagements, blog posts, and AWS events, you’ll have platforms to share your expertise.

Case study:

Sustaining Excellence: Continuous Journey in Cloud Innovation

Achieving the prestigious status of an AWS APN Ambassador is a significant milestone, yet for Varun Kumar, it marked just the beginning of a deeper, ongoing commitment to the cloud community and continuous learning. Varun’s journey exemplifies the essence of sustained excellence and the impact of continual contributions across multiple cloud platforms globally.

Global Impact through Community Contribution

Varun’s dedication to sharing his knowledge and expertise has had a profound impact worldwide. His efforts have:

  • Benefited over 5,000 professionals in various training aspects, spanning across multiple cloud platforms. This remarkable achievement highlights Varun’s role not just as an expert but as a mentor and educator in the cloud computing domain.

Continuing the AWS Journey

For Varun, and indeed for any AWS APN Ambassador, the journey doesn’t end with the attainment of the title. The cloud computing landscape is dynamic, with new technologies, practices, and challenges emerging regularly. Staying at the forefront of these changes is crucial for maintaining the relevance and value of one’s contributions to the community. Here are key strategies that Varun employs to continue his AWS journey:

  • Engage in Continuous Learning: Varun keeps abreast of the latest AWS innovations and updates through continuous learning. This includes participating in AWS training sessions, exploring new services, and obtaining new certifications as they become available.
  • Expand Community Engagement: Varun continues to expand his global impact by engaging with the community through various platforms. This includes delivering webinars, contributing to forums, and mentoring professionals seeking to enhance their cloud skills.
  • Contribute to New Areas: With the cloud landscape evolving, Varun explores new areas within AWS, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT) and serverless architectures, DevOps & DevSecOps principles. This not only enhances his expertise but also allows him to provide valuable insights and guidance on emerging technologies.
  • Share Knowledge and Innovations: Through his blogs, YouTube channel, and public speaking engagements, Varun shares his learnings and innovations, helping others navigate the complexities of cloud computing and encouraging best practices in the industry.

The Ripple Effect of Varun’s Contributions

Varun’s continued journey and contributions create a ripple effect, inspiring others within the AWS community to pursue their own paths of learning and sharing. His impact goes beyond individual achievements, fostering a culture of knowledge sharing, innovation, and community support that is vital for the growth and evolution of cloud computing practices globally.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the journey to becoming an AWS APN Ambassador, as exemplified by Varun Kumar, is a testament to the relentless pursuit of excellence in the cloud computing domain. This story is not just a narrative of personal achievement but a beacon of inspiration for aspiring cloud professionals. It underscores the importance of a comprehensive approach that includes gaining deep technical expertise, earning relevant certifications, and significantly, contributing to the broader AWS community.

Varun’s path from joining Deloitte Southeast Asia to becoming an esteemed AWS APN Ambassador highlights the pivotal role of continuous learning, active community participation, and the value of sharing knowledge. His achievements, from being recognized globally for his contributions to influencing over 5,000 professionals through various training initiatives, exemplify the profound impact one individual can have within the cloud computing ecosystem.

For those embarking on or continuing their journey in cloud computing, remember that the path to becoming an AWS APN Ambassador is as much about enriching yourself as it is about enriching others. It’s about leveraging every opportunity to learn, share, and contribute to a community that thrives on collaboration and innovation. Varun Kumar’s journey illustrates that with dedication, expertise, and a commitment to community engagement, achieving ambassadorship and making a significant impact in the cloud community is within reach.

Let this story inspire you to chart your own course in the AWS landscape, fostering a spirit of continuous improvement and community engagement. The journey to AWS APN Ambassadorship is a rewarding voyage of professional growth, leadership, and contribution to the cloud computing revolution.

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Varun Kumar Manik

AWS APN Ambassador | SME of DevOps DevSecOps | Cloud Architect & Trainer | Blogger | Youtuber |Chef