what is AWS?

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written byChief Editor, EPAM Anywhere

As Chief Editor, Darya works with our top technical and career experts at EPAM Anywhere to share their insights with our global audience. With 12+ years in digital communications, she’s happy to help job seekers make the best of remote work opportunities and build a fulfilling career in tech.

As Chief Editor, Darya works with our top technical and career experts at EPAM Anywhere to share their insights with our global audience. With 12+ years in digital communications, she’s happy to help job seekers make the best of remote work opportunities and build a fulfilling career in tech.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the most popular cloud solution platforms. The computing service controls more than a third of the cloud market, helping transform IT infrastructure via flexible and scalable development tools. With over 200 featured offerings, it sparked an entirely new career path as an AWS developer, a job role now in high demand.

But what is AWS from a developer's point of view? Let’s explore the most profitable division of Amazon and how you can start a vocation as an AWS engineer.

What is AWS (and what does it stand for)?

AWS is an acronym for Amazon Web Services. This is a service platform offered by Amazon that you can use to develop and design any cloud-based infrastructure. Build, test, and maintain web applications with a range of tools purpose-built to streamline your deployments.

Vendors want to host applications, and ideally, they will accomplish that task with speed, minimal cost, and strong security. However, building out individual apps or physical storage to handle the computing needs of an organization can be very costly. Moreover, outsourced third-party companies used to involve pricey contracts designed to handle large computing power surges, while most off-peak usages went unused. Scaling issues arose under such conditions.

Amazon solved the issue by creating cloud-based solutions. Remote cloud AWS servers offer flexible computing power that could then provide customized solutions modified to the exact requirements of a vendor. An organization could access all the tools it might need to scale in a single, centralized platform, with each service available on an as-need basis.

For businesses, AWS created a way for easy scaling, pay-as-you-go resources, reliable infrastructure, and numerous helpful services for growth. Compared to traditional physical computing practices, the advantages of AWS soon gave Amazon the top spot as the primary cloud platform on the market (even beating top competitors like Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud).

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The AWS cloud: a brief overview

AWS includes an extensive set of infrastructure services. As a developer, you will likely be responsible for provisioning the following AWS essential services:

Migration and networking with AWS

Amazon provides a number of services to transfer current data held in legacy data systems to AWS. Migrations are costly and can often lead to extended downtime. Any company that wants to update can use AWS to perform “lift and shift” migrations to any physical, virtual, or cloud-based infrastructure, reducing error-prone and labor-intensive work through server replication.

By migrating to the cloud, networking costs decrease because you operate natively on AWS. You’re also able to run workloads on a secure network with low latency to uphold application performance. Amazon supplies several networking tools that developers need to use to deliver data, maintain APIs, and accelerate bandwidth traffic.

Migration tools

  • Snowball
  • Database Migration AWS

Networking tools

  • Amazon CloudFront
  • Amazon VPC
  • AWS Cloud Map

Databases and data management

Internal operations of a company rely on data stored in data repositories, and AWS provides several tools designed for rapid data storage and retrieval. Several offerings are completely serverless, allowing for easy scalability for enterprise organizations. You can also choose purpose-built solutions such as graph-oriented or relational databases.

In addition, AWS technology can support developers as they complete administrative tasks such as patching, configuration, and backups, allowing developers to maintain the integrity of all held data and improve data usability thanks to this global data platform.

Database tools

  • Amazon RDS
  • Amazon DynamoDB
  • Amazon Neptune
  • Amazon Redshift

Developer tools

Amazon offers developers specific tools to help with code creation, management, and storage. They can build cloud-ready applications on AWS with numerous tools that complete tasks such as code compiling, development pipeline setup, testing, and debugging.

Developer tools

  • AWS CodePipeline
  • AWS CodeDeploy
  • AWS CodeBuild

AWS security and management services

Organizations must follow stringent security compliance rules to protect all users, accounts, and collected data. Amazon facilitates such protection through services that manage all identities and permissions. Numerous AWS tools help developers set up access management, firewalls, and threat detection tools.

Amazon also provides management services. These solutions help enterprises simplify all processes by providing observability, using data optimization to lower operational costs, limit incidents, and automate tasks wherever possible.

Security tools

  • Amazon Cognito
  • Amazon GuardDuty
  • AWS Firewall Manager
  • Amazon Macie

Management tools

  • Cloudwatch
  • AWS Config
  • AWS Auto Scaling
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How does AWS work?

Amazon is designed for its ease of use, all while providing a comprehensive list of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS) offerings. Users can select the AWS technologies they need on a pay-as-you-go basis, leading to cost savings and greater flexibility.

Different services offer different levels of control. As a developer, if your organization or client opts to run the applications themselves, you must set up the infrastructure. A thorough understanding of AWS services is therefore necessary.

AWS pricing model

Amazon incurs costs related to computing, storage, and transfers. As a result, different types of services command different prices. Luckily, you only pay for what you consume, and you can save money with long-term commitments for specific tools (e.g. AWS compute). You can also optimize costs where fixed expenses can offset variable prices that balloon at scale. There are no termination fees, licensing fees, or contracts, and in addition, there’s a free tier with numerous free products and trials.

AWS applications

The popularity of AWS powered rapid growth in available solutions. Many pre-built AWS applications are open for integration on the same pay-as-you-go business model. As the use cases and availability of services with AWS grow, an AWS Developer will most likely find themselves working in many of the following areas:

What is AWS? AWS solutions by use case

Web development

Amazon Web Services provides extensive support for web and mobile application development. As a developer, you can choose the programming language you wish to utilize, such as Python, Java, or Ruby. Select any of the additional on-demand web support services you need to build your personal development workflows. Since Amazon provides on-demand storage, computing power, and database services, it’s also fast and easy to deploy comprehensive applications.

Building and hosting web apps within the AWS infrastructure radically reduces costs. You also achieve much greater scalability and reliability, as the cloud-based architecture allows you to add content as needed, ensure pages load quickly with rapid delivery networks, and draw on computing resources according to demand. When optimized, AWS can function as an end-to-end solution that manages every aspect of your web development.

Web development service

  • AWS Apps Runner
  • AWS Device Farm
  • AWS AppSync

AR/VR

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have seen massive technological advancements in the past few years. As the possibilities of the technology become apparent, it is starting to find use cases in construction, film, gaming, education, and manufacturing.

One roadblock to mass adoption is the extensive computing power needed to create immersive 3D applications. To that end, Amazon developed Amazon Sumerian, an AR/VR that helps you run XR applications through popular hardware. This means you can design, animate, and script, all from your browser.

AR/VR services

  • Amazon Sumerian

Gaming

Beyond having its one gaming subsidiary platform, AWS provides purpose-built development services for engineers. Gaming is continuously evolving, and AWS provides game servers, live operations, and security tools that developers can use to deliver reliable, low-latency game experiences for their customers. In addition, developers can access Amazon infrastructure alongside services designed to improve production operations for agile development pipelines.

Even more importantly, AWS has technology partnerships with leading industry players (AMD, Epic Games, Snowflake) and game developers such as Ubisoft and Sony Interactive Games. For developers who want to break into the gaming niche, understanding AWS gaming services can greatly support your professional development.

Gaming services

  • Amazon Nimble Studio
  • Amazon EC2
  • Amazon Gamelift
  • Amazon Lumberyard

Big data management and analytics

At enterprise levels of volume and velocity, data management can become economically infeasible. As a result, you can build a big data engineer career using big data strategies to reframe traditional databases.

Amazon provides data and analytics services that supply low-cost, unified data access. Organizations can scale since there is no physical hardware to maintain, all while different solutions manage processing, data movement, and data lake creation.

Developers who hope to enter the big data analysis and analytics field can further their careers by learning to implement AWS big data tools with industry best practices.

Big data and analytics tools

  • Amazon Athena
  • Amazon EMR
  • AWS Glue
  • AWS Lake Formation
  • Amazon Kinesis Data Firehouse

IoT (Internet of Things)

As technology evolves, businesses and people connect through the collective network of internet-facilitated devices. Billions of endpoints provide a wealth of data that can improve business processes.

Amazon supports IoT growth by offering IoT services ranging from device security and management to device monitoring and analytics. Numerous tools can help optimize operations, build innovative products, and add to the smart network. An AWS developer may need to set up AWS services that connect millions of devices and their messaging to the AWS IoT Core.

IoT services

  • AWS IoT Greengrass
  • AWS IoT ExpressLink
  • AWS IoT Device Management

When to use AWS and when not?

The choice to use AWS depends on the specific end goals related to a project or the needs of the company for which you work. AWS is built for expanding infrastructure, as it provides comprehensive services that facilitate easy scaling (a fact you will need to demonstrate in your AWS cloud engineer interview).

However, some instances of simple development do not need the complete computing power of AWS. AWS is a future-forward model, so every company and developer should weigh the pros and cons of the cloud computing platform and select the optimal route for them.

Advantages of AWS

Amazon is one of the biggest and most reliable cloud platforms because it offers several benefits that will meet nearly all the needs of a developer:

  • Range of services: AWS offers numerous tools that it can rapidly deliver. For a developer, this makes deployments very easy, with additional help or tools available as required. It’s a one-stop shop that promotes innovation, and an AWS website or app is simple and easy to create.
  • No capacity limits: AWS provides far more resources than any company or developer could build on their own or at speed. This makes scaling extremely simple, as you can demand high levels of bandwidth, storage, or processing from AWS without any problems.
  • Reliability and security: Since you are developing within the AWS infrastructure, you piggyback off Amazon's high-performance capabilities and levels of security. Achieve improved personal excellence as a developer by building effective products for your clients.

Disadvantages of AWS

AWS is not perfect, and it includes a few key drawbacks you should be aware of:

  • General cloud computing issues: AWS still suffers from common problems related to cloud computing, such as data leakage, backup protection, and downtimes. It will be your job as a developer to mitigate these issues.
  • Requires training: AWS has grown into a wide-reaching platform, but that also introduces complexities. To take advantage of the services, you need in-depth knowledge and education. You will need to invest in your skills and AWS certification. However, those who can attain such knowledge will likely build a prosperous career as an AWS developer.
  • Service limits: AWS limits your resources by region. It also prevents you from demanding too many resources at the start — a practice designed to block malicious users. While helpful, it can also deter your initial growth.
  • Technical support fees: AWS charges for any additional support, which can grow costly if you do not have the right education or expertise.

Apply as an AWS developer at Anywhere

Are you interested in building your career as an AWS developer? EPAM has been an AWS consulting partner since 2013, and we at EPAM Anywhere can help you master the needed competencies for the platform. Discover our free AWS courses and make sure to check out our remote AWS cloud engineer jobs.

published 02 Mar 2023
updated 28 Feb 2024
Darya_Yafimava.jpg
written byChief Editor, EPAM Anywhere

As Chief Editor, Darya works with our top technical and career experts at EPAM Anywhere to share their insights with our global audience. With 12+ years in digital communications, she’s happy to help job seekers make the best of remote work opportunities and build a fulfilling career in tech.

As Chief Editor, Darya works with our top technical and career experts at EPAM Anywhere to share their insights with our global audience. With 12+ years in digital communications, she’s happy to help job seekers make the best of remote work opportunities and build a fulfilling career in tech.

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