E65 - Joel Desaulniers at Amazon Web Services

Sam Jevans
Joel  Desaulniers

By Sam Jevans & Joel Desaulniers

Sam Jevans, our Head of Enterprise Networking at Hamilton Barnes, was joined by Joel Desaulniers, the Senior Solutions Architect at AWS, where he designs cloud-based, technical solutions for the Canadian Federal Government. Joel discusses all things Cloud. You’ll learn the best qualifications to get you started and what soft and technical skills are essential to succeed.

Joel was always a bit of a techy at heart so when he was in high school and looking at career options, he decided to go down the Computer Networking route. He got a college diploma in Computer Networks Engineering and his next step was to find a job. He landed a job in inside sales to get experience working with customers. He eventually got the opportunity to get into an IT role as a Network Analyst then progressed through the field, learning new skills, and gaining more hands-on working in datacentres. This has led him to where he is today at AWS as a Senior Solutions Architect helping customers understand the benefits of the Cloud.

Going back to 2017, Joel had established himself in Computer Networking and was trying to understand what was next and what he could do to develop his skills. He started seeing a lot on social media around AWS, so he got reading into it. From that point, he decided to buy a course on ‘A Cloud Guru’ called the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Course. He followed that training over the course of a couple of weeks and challenged himself to sit the exam. It opened his eyes to application learning, analytics, Machine Learning and AI and exposed him to the breadth of what’s out there in the tech world.

Throughout his journey, he has always gone by a triangle. One side is education, having formal IT or Engineering education. The other side is work experience, having some experience working in the field. If you’re someone who had just graduated or changing careers and you don’t have any, create a blog or put together a webinar, show some initiative or build a project of your own. And the third side is certifications. Doing a CCNA or AWS Solutions Architect Associate. The 3 sides of the triangle have to be built equally. Having that formal education is a key part of that triangle.

One thing he believes that everyone should know is to look at the breadth and depth. Anyone looking to pursue a career in IT will want to have a broad range of technical skills. You don’t have to be an expert in all of it but just make sure you understand at a high level the breadth and cover your bases across all domains in technology. Find an area that interests you and push yourself to become an expert in that field.


Some of the research they are working on currently is they have just launched a private 5G which is currently available in the US, and this is where AWS is allowing customers to order and build their own 5G network in their private facilities. If you go to https://aws.amazon.com/new/ you can stay on top of everything announced over there as there is new stuff that is being launched every day.

For Joel, it’s all about continuous learning. If you want to work in technology, you have to be the type of person to want to learn and stay curious. You have to explain to customers the benefits of these new technologies and why they need them, so keeping your skillset sharp is key. He will continue to broaden his skills and focus on the Kubernetes certifications as it’s another explosive technology out there currently and his customers are asking about it.

Joel discusses the importance of work-life balance and how you can healthily manage the pair. Make sure you tune in now to give the full episode a listen!