It’s true that 2020 has been a pretty bleak year for everyone… well, on planet Earth.
As I talked about previously, we started the Challenge in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. With all our employees locked down, we decided to give them the option to use the new abundance of spare time to advance their skills and better themselves professionally.
SOUTHWORKS provided paths via online learning platforms for our employees so they can advance skills specific to projects built on either AWS or Azure. The classes and certifications covered cloud development best practices for each platform, data analytics skills, as well as more specific topics like programming for Alexa, learning how to build using SQL Server and Azure Data Warehouse.
The work that our SOUTHIES have put in so far led to SOUTHWORKS achieving Select Consulting Partner status in both the AWS Partner Network and the AWS Public Sector Program in August. To add to that, we just announced that we have achieved Microsoft Partner Network Gold Competencies in three different areas: Application Development, Data Analytics and Data Platform.
This is obviously a huge deal for us. Together, Azure and AWS account for just over half of the world’s expenditure on cloud infrastructure. Microsoft says that 95 percent of Fortune500 companies use Azure services, and AWS is the behemoth in the space, with countless huge companies using their services, including GE, Phillips,Kellogg’s, Workday and others.
These two platforms are synonymous with excellence, and with these certifications, SOUTHWORKS has proven its expertise and skill in developing on them. Customers know that we can meet their challenges and make everything right for them.
In addition to the company-wide certifications, we’ve also had more than 30 SOUTHIES complete individual certifications for various Azure skills, including software and infrastructure development and designing, building and implementing data science solutions. I talked before about how earning our AWS certifications in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic was a testament to our SOUTHIES embracing our core value of “owning it.”
This time, I want to highlight a SOUTHIE who has exemplified another one of our core values: “proving it.”
Fernando Daniel Martinez has been a software developer in our Buenos Aires office for about a year. He came to us with experience varying from working with relational databases to content moderation — tagging proper and improper content to train machine learning models.
He had spent his first few months learning by being involved with various projects and had been doing a lot of web development. When the SOUTHIE Cert Challenge started, he saw it as an opportunity to step up his learning — to prove it.
“I took the opportunity to formalize my education through the certification program, I had to learn a lot of things. I wanted to improve my knowledge in things having to do with data, whether it was data engineering, data science or data analysis.” — Martinez said.
Having come into the courses without working much with Azure, Martinez has taken certification classes inAzure Cognitive Services for AI and Machine Learning, Media Services and BlogStorage. He said the training has enabled him to work in new areas and expand the types of projects that he can work on.
“I’ve learned how to work with unstructured databases like NoSQL as well as semi-structured databases,”he said. “When you work in a project, there may, for example, be some specific things about working with a data warehouse that I would not have known if I didn’t take the courses. It’s been very valuable for me to learn and grow.”
Martinez also said he immediately felt comfortable with Azure.
“Microsoft has made an effort to keep things simple, there are tasks Azure can do that are very complex, but the platform is still simple and very nice.”
The end result of all the training our SOUTHIES and the company have undertaken over the past six months is that we’ve come out on the other side with the evidence to prove that we’re experts in what we do. We back that up by proving that expertise to our customers during every project by giving daily project updates and having the transparency to tell you what’s really going on.
That expertise is our product— it’s what we sell and how we prove our work. Investing in it with things like the SOUTHIE Cert Challenge is a natural extension of our values and we’re excited to prove to you how it’s paid off.