Getting educated about cloud services early will make it easier to transition and will burnish your CV nicely too!
Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a free virtual machine instance on AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). All you have to do is register with an email address and a creditcard. Don’t worry, they really don’t charge your card unless the machine is still running a year later or if you exceed the data allowances.
A year ago I wanted a USA VPN so I created a free EC2 instance and installed a prepackaged machine image with OpenVPN. I logged in, run a couple of commands and it all worked. I still use it today and the first bill showed up only at the end of the year. Internet data in the USA is very very cheap.
My starting point was a conference session very like this video: Your first hour on AWS which walks you through how to sign up and set up your first instance on AWS.
Go on! It’s only going to take an hour of your life. At the end you’re one of the cool kids who has an AWS instance in the cloud and no one can ever try to convince you the cloud is “hard” ever again.
You can experiment with 5 gigabytes of Simple Storage Service (S3) storage too and learn how to make any piece of data a web URI accessible object.
You can learn about AWS Lamda which is computing on demand as I always imagined it would be. Your code is run in response to a trigger like uploading a file to a directory, a URI being accessed or an address receiving an email. You pay nothing until the trigger event. You don’t need to maintain a virtual machine instance either, the code just runs in its own private environment and does whatever you need on demand. You can even build high availability high performance interactive web sites with little more than S3 and Lamda.
When you’re done with the tutorial you can reflect on how easy all of this is and ask yourself the question “how much faster could my organisation respond to change if we used these tools?”