October 22, 2019 From Paper to Offer: Why Are Industry Certifications Needed? Specifically AWS – Dolica Gopisetty

From Paper to Offer: Why Are Industry Certifications Needed? Specifically AWS – Dolica Gopisetty

Podcast Series: “From Paper To Offer”- Dolica Gopisetty

Today we’ll be having a conversation with a recent Amazon Web Services (AWS)-certified college student, Dolica Gopisetty. Dolica is a senior at George Mason University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. We’ll be talking with her about what inspired her to obtain her AWS certification, about Women in Tech and about the importance and future of cloud technologies.

Our Podcast with Dolica is available here on YouTube.

Her Inspiration

In her second year of college, Dolica was unsure about her life’s direction. All she knew was that she wanted to be unique and pursue a career that represents the future. Dolica would attend a career event on her campus during that year that would change the trajectory of her life.

She met an industry IT professional at a career event from Capital One who helped her to find and form her direction by introducing her to the idea of taking cloud courses, such AWS cloud. However, at that time, Dolica felt intimidated when she learned that she needed to have approximately three years of experience working in the cloud to be able to pass the AWS certification exams. Furthermore, every article and blog she came across that offered advice about how to get certified was written by an industry professional. This intimidated her. To Dolica’s knowledge, there was no one at her level – as a second-year college student with little to no professional experience working in the cloud – who was tackling this certification.

That did not stop Dolica from pursuing her goal. Her values of being a hard worker and her desire to stand out from her peers, especially as an Indian woman, led her to undertake the challenge. Still, there were few study resources that she could find that were not prohibitively expensive for a matriculated undergraduate to obtain. So she did some research and, instead, bought the AWS Solutions Architect book and used YouTube tutorials and another online AWS learning community, A Cloud Guru, to begin the process without having to spend a fortune to get the fundamentals. Within four months of preparation at three to four hours per week – while also taking her course load as a full-time college student – Dolica took the exam and got certified. Having proceeded so rapidly to her goals, she also wanted to accelerate the next steps in the AWS learning process. She didn’t go down the traditional path that AWS offered, which is to get your foundational certification first; then work your way up to associate and professional. Dolica skipped the foundational and went straight for the professional Solutions Architect certification. Super ambitious! “I did not want to take that traditional route. I wanted to take up the challenge and see if I can do it. That’s the great thing about AWS,” Dolica said. “They are really opening up opportunities for many young people who are the future of tomorrow!”

After attaining her certification, Dolica was invited by the AWS Educate Team to attend the Amazon Web Services Public Sector Summit in June 2019 as a the only female Panel Speaker. This made her feel like she truly got recognized for her accomplishment: “I think being at the right place at the right time, interacting with the right people at the right time is definitely the key to success, in addition, of course, to hard work.” This notoriety led her to be a keynote speaker at an AWS conference in Seattle.

Dolica began her first corporate experience at Gannett USA Today Network as a Software Development Engineer. While she very much enjoyed having an opportunity while still in school to work for a major publisher, and to work in the technology field right away, her near-term goal is to leverage her certification and obtain a position as a Solutions Architect for the cloud. “I really want to put my certification to use because I really want to get hands-on corporate experience in cloud computing using my certification.”

Her Stance on Cloud Technologies

“The future is cloud! We started using cloud many years ago without even realizing it,” Dolica said. “Dropbox, Google Drive—all of these are cloud services that we use every day, [and], these days, businesses are able to run just being on cloud.”

Her vision is to make cloud products and other IT services easily, while also securely, available to businesses and general users. “With the help of the cloud,” Dolica said, “we can get to the point where we don’t have to wait anymore or rely on people to use services that help people to do their daily tasks and help businesses to grow.”

But that doesn’t mean people won’t have jobs. “People will still have jobs,” Dolica told us, “because someone has to sit in front of the screen and click the automate button, or write that code, or put the resources together.” She continued, “That’s why certifications are important because they help to train you from the earliest parts of your career.” She also discussed the value of having certifications early in your career development, “When you’re at a point when you can get a job, you can jump right in; you don’t need to have that training again. It’s just putting the right resource, certification, or skills into your career that makes you qualified for that next big thing.”

Women in Tech

“I’m a big supporter of women in tech,” Dolica said. “The best way to begin useful conversations about women in tech is to put both women and men in the same room and talk about it, not women separately and men separately,” she said. “I think by putting women in one room, you are empowering them but you’re not creating any awareness for the men because both of them have to learn from each other. Women have great insights to share and great things they want to do in life, but the other person has to also understand that perspective.”

“We think differently,” exclaimed Dolica. “A woman connects so many dots that don’t need to be connected. We overanalyze things. It’s because we are very conscious about what we do and what we are and that’s why we’re so creative sometimes.”

Communication is key! Dolica said to us, “If you’re not a good communicator, you’re not going to get a job. To create this awareness for Women in STEM and make sure women are also pursuing those STEM fields, men also have to understand and learn.”

Dolica insists that women pursue careers in STEM regardless of whether they have other priorities, such as families and children. “It’s all about being good at what you do and proving it,” she said. When you do that, no company will say ‘No’ to the other requirements that you have.” She continued: “I want to prove that other women [and, in particular, other minority women] can do this. It’s just the matter of making that choice in your mind and following it through regardless of what obstacles you come across.”

Nebula Academy is an AWS academy that is not a traditional university; rather, we are a workforce development organization that wants adults to rethink future careers and use AWS as a launching pad for that. We offer virtual and in-person AWS courses for those looking to get certified, from industry expert instructors. We’re excited to bring this value to university and college students, like Dolica, who want more than just a degree; they want industry certifications. Find out more about our AWS programs at nebulaacademy.com!

Please join us for our next podcast!

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