Each year Mark Nunnikhoven, AWS Community Hero and VP of Cloud Research at Trend Micro, writes a comprehensive guide on re:invent activities and how to prepare.
Mark has been attending re:Invent since it's first show 7 years ago and has learned a thing or two throughout the years, from getting the most out of workshops and sessions to survival tips to make sure you get through the show feeling energized and well fed!
For anyone attending re:Invent this year, this is your Ultimate Guide!
Here are just a few highlights we want to share from Mark's Ultimate Guide:
AWS re:Invent is so big that things are bound to change throughout the week. The best way to stay up to date is via the official mobile app.
The app is available on iOS and Android and will not only help you manage your schedule but also guide you explore more content, activities, and networking opportunities during the week.
Make sure you have the app and enable notifications!
AWS re:Invent is a marathon. Thankfully the actual run is only 4 or 8K but the metaphor holds. Even before the campus expanded to 7 locations, it wasn’t out of the question to walk 10–15Km per day.
Here are a few tips to help get you through the day;
- Say “Hi!” to people when you waiting around. There are going to be lines to sessions, to shuttles, for coffee, etc. We’re all there for the same reasons—to learn, to share, to code—so say hi! Yes, it can be a bit uncomfortable but so it awkwardly staring at nothing elevator-style.
- 👟 Wear a good pair of sneakers. I’ve never been accused of being fashionable but even if you are, throw that idea out the window. This is pure practicality. Make sure you have a supportive pair of sneakers because you’re going to put up some serious step count numbers during the week.
- Pack snacks. Make sure you have a few granola or protein bars stashed in your bag. With so many people at the conference, it’s going to be hard to just sit down and get food. Make sure you’ve got enough energy to get through the day.
- Stay hydrated and pack lip balm. Las Vegas casinos are their odd, distinct ecosystems. Make sure you are drinking enough water and that your lips aren’t getting chapped. Eye drops aren’t a bad idea either.
- Be patient. You might not get across campus in time for that breakout. You might not get a space as a walk-up. You might not pass that certification exam. Think long term. There is so much jammed into the week that you simply can’t see it all and it all can’t be amazing. Just be patient.
- Sleep. Yes, it’s still a thing despite Las Vegas’ best efforts. Make sure you get a solid 8 hours each night…ok 7…6?…5?…ok, any sleep is a bonus here. Just remember; marathon, not a sprint.
AWS sets up a dedicated testing centre in the Venetian during AWS re:Invent. They sit multiple exams per day which makes it easier to get a new certification under your belt or to achieve a new one.
New at this year’s show, the Machine Learning Beta exam. So new that it’s not even on the AWS Certification site. This exam joins the Advanced Networking, Big Data, and Security exams as a dedicated speciality.
If those exams are any indication, this will be a tough one. The good news is that AWS beta exams are typically cheaper during the beta period (currently $150 USD) and typically offer a free re-write if you fail during the beta period.
If you’ve been working deeply with the AWS machine learning and AI services, this might be a good exam for you to sit. Otherwise, one of the other exams might be a better fit for you.
Regardless, sitting an exam at AWS re:Invent is always a blast and—if you’re like me and enjoying that 7:30am time slot…yes, for real—a great way to start your day with a win!