Kate Gawron is the author of AWS Certified Database – Specialty (DBS-C01) Certification, we got the chance to sit down with her and find out more about her experience of writing with Packt.
Q: What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?
Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Kate: When I was studying for the AWS Certified Database Specialty exam I realized that there were very few exam guides available and that ones that were only covered a few areas and left a large number of areas uncovered. I decided I could offer a comprehensive guide to the exam covering all topics in sufficient depth to allow readers to pass the exam first time with a small amount of self-study
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Kate: I researched for around a month before starting. I focused on the existing information on websites and books. I found there were no study guide books for the exam beyond some eBooks with mock exam questions but these lacked any deep explanation beyond answers to questions. This exam requires understand of the why as well as the how.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Kate: I struggled with time management! I have a young family and a full time job as a Database Architect and at times I did find it hard to set aside the hours needed to write the book. I am grateful to the team at Packt who offered both understanding that some time lines might slip a little, but also to push me into delivering. Without them I am not sure the book would be finished yet!.
Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?
Kate: The technologies in the book are the current AWS Database offerings. I expect the options with RDS and Aurora to continue to grow, for example RDS Custom that was released in March 2022 allows you to access the VM the RDS instance runs on for the first time. This isn’t in the book as the exam hasn’t been updated to include it as of publication, but it shows how AWS is trying to remove any blockers stopping customers migrating to cloud.
Q. Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?
Kate: At the time of writing there were no competing books! However, I have taken a hands-on approach in the book and every chapter contains labs where you will directly work with the AWS databases. I find this really helps cement the learning and encourages students to “play” with AWS and experiment.
Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?
Kate: That passing an exam is as much about strategy as it is about knowledge. The book not only teaches the key knowledge you would require to pass the exam but it also gives hints and tips about how to approach an exam and what to do if you don’t know the answer.
Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?
Kate: Get hands-on. You won’t truly learn anything unless you actively practice the skills you are reading about. This applies whether you are learning to code, learning about databases or even learning to cook!
Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?
Kate: Not currently but my old articles can be found here: https://n4stack.io/kate-gawron/
Q. Can you share any blogs, websites, and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?
Kate: I’d strongly recommend AWS Community Groups as a great place to share knowledge and ask questions: https://aws.amazon.com/developer/community/usergroups/
Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Kate: It has been a fantastic journey. I had self doubt along the way about whether my book was good enough but Packt make sure all content is thoroughly reviewed and sensible advice given on both style and content of the book. However, the book is totally yours so if you decide not to take the advice that is up to you! Packt have been great from start to finish and I’d happily work with them again on a future project.
Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?
Kate: AWS Community, Oracle User Group UK
Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?
Kate: The AWS Database blog often has some really cool and interesting projects that we’ve worked on: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/database/
Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?
Kate: I created a chapter template so I’d make sure my book was consistent. I then wrote out all the headers for the whole chapter and I wrote the summary and “cheat sheet” first. This gave me a target to work towards and helped keep the book on track as it acted like a checklist for all the information I needed to get it. In terms of time management I found that I worked better working in small chunks, so I started to schedule in an hour before work and an hour after work most days where I focused on writing the book. Once I did this I found the process was much smoother.
Q. What is the one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?
Kate: Be organized! It’s very easy to lose track of your chapters and content so write all the key points first and then cover those and ONLY those.
You can find Kate’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here