By Danny Aspinall
There’s a new bunch of AWS Heroes in town!
As the year draws to a close, more names have been added to the prestigious roster of professionals, thought leaders, mentors, and all-around superstars going above and beyond to benefit the AWS community at large.
Whether they’re leading by example by innovating exciting new solutions at the forefront of the market, or selflessly sharing their expertise by creating technical content, leading community groups, speaking at events, or posting on GitHub or socials, one thing’s for sure: these AWS Heroes are getting the recognition they deserve.
Currently, AWS Hero titles are given out across seven categories: Community Heroes, Container Heroes, Data Heroes, DevTools Heroes, Machine Learning Heroes, Serverless Heroes, and Security Heroes.
And for the last time in 2023, we’ve curated a list of our top eight Heroes from across these categories who are helping others to upskill and solve real-world challenges, so that you can check them out, drop them a follow, and benefit from the raft of knowledge, insights, and enthusiasm they bring to the AWS community day after day.
Covering certification, salaries, benefits, career tips, and a whole lot more, the Jefferson Frank Careers and Hiring Guide is the ultimate resource for anyone looking to build a rewarding career in AWS.
Emin Alemdar is a six-time AWS-certified Solutions Architect at Spacelift, where he tackles a wide range of tasks to find solutions related to Kubernetes, cloud technologies, and cloud-native transformations. As a DevOps and Cloud Consultant and Instructor, he prides himself on helping customers with their adoption of DevOps culture, methods, and cloud journey.
A self-described DevOps and Automation enthusiast, Emin’s work primarily focuses on these services and technologies, and he regularly shares the insights and best practices he uncovers with the AWS community.
And if you need any further proof of Emin’s commitment to giving back to the community, he’s also a CNCF Ambassador, furthering the mission of “making cloud native ubiquitous” through community leadership and mentorship, and is part of the HashiCorp Ambassador Program within the Open Source community.
Richard Fan is a cloud and software engineer by trade, currently holding a Security Engineer role at ExpressVPN. With extensive experience in AWS deployment, Richard has helped many of his clients transform their systems into the cloud safely, along with many modern design patterns, like microservice and serverless architecture. He’s even helped his team migrate the development process into the cloud, utilizing modern CI/CD tools to make the deployment process more agile.
All this experience he’s gained over the years helps Richard to focus on innovating new ways to make security on the cloud easy, having developed various tools to simplify the experience with AWS security services for users. That’s not to say he keeps these innovations to himself. Instead, Richard loves to share the difficulties he encounters and the experiences of things he has learned along the way on his blog.
He’s also applied his refined expertise to benefit the AWS Nitro Enclaves community since its early stage, enabling more of the community to create isolated compute environments to further protect and securely process highly sensitive data. The nitro-enclave-python-demo project, of which Richard is a key contributor, has helped many builders get started on AWS Nitro Enclaves, and it has also been adopted by some AWS workshops. And if that wasn’t enough, Richard promotes the concept and use cases of enclave technology by partnering with multiple companies to review their AWS Nitro Enclaves offering.
Richard’s passion for security in AWS doesn’t come at the cost of fun, however. On the contrary, he has taken part in the AWS DeepRacer League Championship Cup on multiple occasions, competing in the world’s first global autonomous racing league driven by machine learning (ML).
AJ Stuyvenberg has been a member of the Serverless community since early 2017. Previously he was Principal Engineer at Serverless Inc, the company behind the Serverless Framework, and now holds the title of Staff Engineer at Datadog. In this role, his work primarily focuses on Serverless and Distributed Systems observability.
Outside of the office, AJ is an open source author and maintains several projects which improve the Serverless developer experience. When he’s not offering unmissable tips and advice on his blog, AJ can often be found speaking at events, having given expert talks at multiple conferences including AWS re:Invent and AWS Summits.
As a Senior Cloud Infrastructure Engineer, Ananda Dwi Rahmawati specializes in system integration between cloud infrastructure, CI/CD workflows, and application modernization. In her role, she utilizes open-source tools and AWS services like Amazon EKS to implement powerful solutions that create reliable, highly available, and scalable systems.
Ananda has been active in the community since 2017, with a notable passion for giving back and helping others accelerate their cloud journeys. For example, Ananda loves to share technical knowledge on her blog, where she offers guidance, perspectives, and experiences with AWS Services, cloud-native and open-source tools, and more.
And when she’s not creating invaluable content for her blog, Ananda can often be found speaking at events, delivering expert-led presentations using real-world case studies at several local community meetups and conferences such as Kubernetes and OpenInfra Days Indonesia, AWS Community Days Indonesia, and AWS Summit ASEAN, to name just a few.
Aidan first became an avid user of AWS when he got started with EC2 back in 2008, and 15 years on, his interests now expand to containers and serverless functions – or more specifically, how to blur the distinction between them wherever possible.
He also has a love for uncovering novel uses for AWS, particularly when they have a security or network focus, and this is evident in his open-source contributions on GitHub. These contributions typically entail Aidan sharing various interesting use cases via hands-on projects, with one of his favorites being Flowdog—perhaps the project with the least real-world utility. Nonetheless, Aiden hopes that it demonstrates what the cloud can make possible and stirs a similar excitement for imagination and innovation as he has when AWS launches new foundational services.
Whether it’s must-know insights or just some fun and creative ways to explore technical topics, Aidan regularly shares his unique approach to projects and topical musings on his social accounts and personal blog, offering memorable tips and guidance everyone in the AWS community can benefit from.
Takuya Tachibana is dedicated to solving countryside issues using AWS, holding key positions as CEO of Heptagon inc. and Director of DigitalCube Co. Ltd. In these roles, Takuya is primarily focused on AWS businesses utilizing serverless, machine learning, and IoT.
He also strives to share the exciting benefits of AWS with the local community and in the countryside areas, advocating passionately for AWS and encouraging builders to contribute to the greater AWS community by adopting his ‘no limits’ mantra: you can grow no matter where you live, what you do, or how old you are.
And Takuya’s invaluable contributions to the community don’t end there. He’s been contributing to the Japan AWS User Group (JAWS-UG) for more than 10 years, serving as the JAWS-UG representative in 2016–2017 and as Chair of the JAWS DAYS 2017. Takuya is also a regular conference speaker, having given talks at over 100 community and cloud events across Japan and speaking at major overseas events including AWS Summit Seoul, AWS Summit Beijing, and AWS Community Day APAC.
Danielle Heberling is a Senior Software Engineer at Ensomata, with a varied professional background that includes being a musician, teaching at a K-8 public school, and working in technical support. Whatever the role, Danielle has always embodied her passion for building things that make the world a better place.
And her involvement in the AWS community is no different. Getting her start in Serverless through her work at Stackery, Danielle began building developer tools—the work that she was involved in starting at Stackery went on to become AWS Application Composer!
After starting to build with serverless, writing blog posts, and giving technical talks, Danielle hasn’t looked back since, with much of this work continuing today. And better yet, when she’s not sharing her expertise on all things coding and serverless, Danielle is still doing her part for the community and industry at large, mentoring those in underrepresented groups who would like to make a career switch into tech.
It’s safe to say that Danielle is a real trailblazer setting an example for us all in the AWS community. As she says herself, “I will not follow where the path may lead, but I will go where there is no path, and I will leave a trail.”
Psst, don’t forget to check out previous AWS Heroes across the following posts—there’s a whole host of inspiring community legends you need to have on your radar!
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