Interview with Prashant Lakhera

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Prashant Lakhera is the author of AWS for System Administrators, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?

Prashant: AWS, DevOps, Kubernetes, Linux, Performance Tuning.

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?

Prashant: Packt, Acquisition Editor, contacted me on Linkedin if I would be interested in writing a book on AWS. I was hesitant at first, but on the second thought, I decided to write the book as I felt that it’s the right time to share knowledge with the rest of the world. I am using AWS for the last 8 years and have already achieved 4 AWS Certifications(Overall 19th technical certifications), so I felt the experience I have in this technology would benefit other users. At the same time, it helps me to get my name out there along with recognition.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Prashant: As I have already been using AWS for the last 8 years, I was aware of most of the topics. But Cloud/AWS world changes almost every day, so I had to buckle up and make sure that the writing content was not outdated. I revisited AWS Documentation and the AWS re: Invent videos to ensure the book’s high-quality content. Some of the research was done alongside the writing process. So overall, I would say it took me a month to prep up before starting to write.

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Prashant: I have written 200+ blogs, and in the blog, I mostly follow free flow format, but I found writing a book is an entirely different ball game as you need to share your knowledge with the user in an easily digestible way. To overcome this issue, I read books from other authors and started jotting down points that I completely overshadowed in the past.
The second major challenge was a very tight schedule along with a full-time job. But the proper planning and time management is the key to overcome this hurdle.

Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?

Prashant: The key focus of this book is AWS, and beyond doubt, it’s the number one cloud provider. Every week(if not every day), AWS releases a new feature to make it better. This book focuses on automation using tools like terraform, boto3, cloudformation, and lambda. All these tools and technologies have a bright future as the more you automate, the more you reduce the chance of human error.

Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?

Prashant: While there are some very well-written AWS books available in the market, most of them cover the theoretical aspect. This book I have written based on my experience includes the real-world example and challenges I faced daily. The book will bridge the gap, the theoretical knowledge you are required to do your job vs. hands experience to implement the actual project.

Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?

Prashant: One of the key takeaways is to build the mental model before approaching to solve any problem. Some of the questions you may ask yourself before tackling any problem, Why you are running this command, Why you are using this library, Is there is a better approach to solve this issue? This book will help you build the concept, which helps you in your AWS journey and if in the future you switch to any other cloud or any other DevOps tool.

Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?

Prashant: AWS/DevOps/Cloud is a continually changing environment. So you need to keep up to the pace to learn whatever new technology is coming into the market, so be prepared to upgrade yourself. Rather than focusing on one technology, try to learn the concept behind it and see how you can utilize it in other technologies.
The second key point is to get your hand dirty; if you are running a command daily, ask yourself how to automate it. Automation is the key to your long term success.

Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?

Prashant: https://medium.com/@devopslearning

Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?

Prashant: https://docs.aws.amazon.com/
https://www.youtube.com/c/amazonwebservices/videos

Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Prashant: It has been wonderful working with the Packt team. This is my first book, and I know this book was not possible without the Packt team’s help and guidance. I learned a lot in this whole process/journey. I will look forward to collaborating with the Packt team in the future. Yes, I will definitely recommend starting your writing career with Packt as a starting point.

Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?

Prashant:  Yes – 100daysofdevops, AWS Community Builder.

Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?

Prashant: Mostly medium blogs and YouTube is my go-to place to keep myself up to date.

Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?

Prashant: I began writing this book in July 2020. I mostly used Google Docs as my writing tool. Before writing any chapter, I always did some initial research, and this research varies from chapter to chapter. I use the Github repository provided by the Packt team and run all the tests before pushing the code to GitHub.
Once I finished the chapter, it goes through the basic language, technical, and finally, editorial review. I would like to thank the Packt team for refining the quality of the content.

Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?

Prashant: The way you understand technology is different from how other people think and understand it. So get into their shoes and try to present things in a manner that everyone can understand. Try to give as many minute details as possible even if you think it’s too basic; trust me, it will help someone reading your book.

You can find Prashant’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

AWS for System Administrators – Available on Amazon.com