Anthony is the author of Serverless Analytics with Amazon Athena, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.
Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Anthony: Like most things in life, it took a bit of luck and bit of hard work. I’m fairly active in the open source community surrounding Athena and someone mentioned me to a Packt recruiter exploring the possibility of a title on Athena. We had been joking about how all our random experiences with Athena and AWS might make a great book. The timing worked out well.
Q: How long did it take you to write the book?
Anthony: I spent 334 hours over the span of 10 months writing the seven chapters that I contributed to this title. This includes the initial outline planning, writing, and error checking.
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Anthony: Having worked on the Amazon Athena team at AWS for over three years, there wasn’t much extra research that we I needed to do. The bulk of the pre-writing effort was about creating stories, examples, and exercises that we felt would be relevant and maybe even a bit entertaining.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Anthony: Yes, the Athena team kept releasing new features faster than we could re-write chapters. Eventually we had to draw a line and say anything beyond that would be covered in a second edition. I think we’ll see lots more cool stuff in this space and Customers should be exited at the level of innovation taking place in this space at AWS.
Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?
Anthony: Try to identify how you, personally, prefer to learn. For me, getting hands on is the best way for me to learn. I like making tweaks and at times employing trial and error to explore how a new technology works. For that reason, many of the exercises in the book are like a saftey net. You can follow them to the letter and be safe but they also give you enough room to wander off and follow your own curiosity to answer questions like “I wonder if this will work too”.
Q. How do you keep up-to-date on your tech?
Anthony: You mean aside from personally being on many of the code reviews that ultimately get shipped in the final product? All kidding aside, I’m a frequent user of Athena for many of the same use cases discussed in this title. I also actively support the product and frequently engage with Customers to learn about what’s going well and what we could be doing better.
Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?
Anthony: My main social media outlet is LinkedIn, when I have nuggets of wisdom to share I advertise them there. https://www.linkedin.com/in/avirtuos/
Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?
Anthony: I personally look to the AWS Big Data Blog ( https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/big-data/ ) for a wide array of topics in this space.
Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Anthony: I found the Packt team to be great partners, providing the right balance of support and creative freedom to let me have a strong sense of ownership in the development of this title. I’ve also personally depended on Packt titles in emerging technologies liek Blockchain in past so I had a comfort level with them going into the engagement.
You can find Anthony‘s book on Amazon by following this link