Solution Architect Karen Tovmasyan and his AWS Partner Network Ambassador Journey
Karen Tovmasyan, Solution Architect at EPAM Netherlands, was recently named one of the 194 Ambassadors of the AWS Partner Network. This unique program brings together AWS professionals around the world to share their AWS technical expertise through public presentations, open-source projects and social media efforts. Below, Karen shares his experience as an APN Ambassador and provides a behind-the-scenes look at how he got there.
How did you become an AWS Partner Network Ambassador?
I began my AWS journey in 2016 – before that I had been using Azure. I developed a professional blog that allowed me to communicate with AWS experts around the world. My blog enabled me to share experiences, tips and tricks within the AWS field. As I spent time working on my blog, I started to share my professional background and expertise with the community. For many engineers, public speaking, streaming or other ways of branching out to the community can be a challenge, but through sharing my experience, I learned more about the AWS Partner Network Program. I learned that an APN Ambassador could only be confirmed if you work for a company that is an AWS Partner. Knowing that EPAM was within the AWS Partner Network, I applied immediately and submitted my application to be an APN Partner Network Ambassador as soon as I joined the company.
How does being an APN Ambassador create thought leaders in the tech community?
AWS is a public service company that operates for a wide range of business domains on the global market. They’re committed to encouraging experienced AWS practitioners to share their best practices and facilitate peer-to-peer learning by presenting at conferences or facilitating workshops to create a vibrant ecosystem of co-thinkers. Therefore, the AWS team is continuously boosting the packages of existing programs and creating new opportunities for growth and knowledge sharing. Their partnership program is specifically aimed to recognize proactive community members for their achievements and provide a new wave of AWS evangelists, strengthening both the partner company brand and the participants' professional growth.
What steps should an applicant take to become an AWS Partner Network Ambassador? Can you briefly share your story?
There are several conditions for becoming an AWS Partner Network Ambassador. A candidate must provide evidence of his/her community achievements; these can be public speeches, written articles, blog posts, live streams, podcasts, publications, books or videos. You must be continuously producing this kind of content and it should reflect your professional expertise. You must also have at least two AWS certifications.
Once I filled all of the requirements, I sent a letter to the Amazon team (the address is available on the website), where I expressed my interest in becoming an ambassador. I received the application and was contacted by the AWS Partner Network Program Lead for an interview. The process wasn’t complicated, but preparation should be done beforehand, because by the time you apply, you’ll need to have a demonstrable track record of working with AWS. I would recommend planning for up to a year in advance. I hope my journey will inspire other experts and AWS practitioners at EPAM and around the world to join the Ambassador College and global professional network.
You’re a published author, wow! As an author, what’s your favorite piece of material you’ve written?
The first is one of my controversial posts on the Telegram channel in 2018, which provoked a wave of discussions and attracted the attention of Mikhail Zhuchkov (a popular Russian IT blogger). It was a starting point for our professional collaboration and a gateway for my close acquaintance with the Russian-speaking Cloud and DevOps communities.
The second is my “AWS IAM: Deep Dive” series published on Medium.com. If you search “AWS IAM Deep Dive” on Google, you will see my piece within the top results, which is something I’m very proud of.
Both works lifted my professional recognition among AWS adepts and different tech communities, and served as a starting point for my book on AWS CloudFormation.
Tell us a little more about the project you are working on at EPAM.
I joined EPAM in the spring of 2020 for one of the most exciting and challenging projects: Disaster Recovery for a global telecommunications company. In short, we were tasked with creating a disaster recovery site for the back offices of the entire media holding. This meant a lot of troubleshooting and preventative steps for high-risk and complex issues. This is how I envision engineering: I like to be in the hurricane of challenges, then get to the bottom of things and optimize processes.
Out of my 10+ years in the industry as well as my time at EPAM, I think this is the best project in my portfolio in terms of DevOps and Cloud technologies. At EPAM, we have a distributed team of 50+ people around the world in Belarus, Russia, the Netherlands and Spain who are dedicated to this work. A workload of this size requires good communication; and while we’re all in different locations, EPAMers act as a community and can collaborate efficiently across the globe.