For the first time, AWS hosts the "AWS GameDay World Championship". Open to everyone, you had the chance to compete against others in one of 9 qualifiers. From each qualifier, the top 5 teams moved on to the final, where they'll compete for the "World Champion" title and the chance to win tickets to this years re:Invent. Looking for a recap of last years re:Invent, check out this blog post.
We picked up the challenge and signed up two teams of three people. Our "Rage Against EC2" team participated in the second EMEA qualifier and the team "Happy Debuggers" in the fourth EMEA qualifier. For all of us, it was the first time participating in a GameDay. Being a remote team, working on different projects for different customers we all had our unique strengths and skills. This also meant, that for some it was the first time working with these colleagues on the same project. So, while winning a trip to re:Invent would have been nice, nobody of us expected to make it to or even win the finals. We were all just keen to put our knowledge to the test and have a fun afternoon together.
Many of us were following the 2nd EMEA qualifier and were curious to see how "Rage Against EC2" would perform. Just watching the live stream was nerve-wracking. They started pretty well and made it to the top 5 during the event. Unfortunately, as the end of the event drew closer, they lost their position within the top 5. Nevertheless, the team enjoyed the challenge and have had the chance to participate.
When it came time for the "Happy Debuggers", the team I participated in, to show what we've got, I was rather nervous. The 3 hours of the event seemed both long and short at the same time. We also got off to a good start and at one point made it up to the top 3. Close to the end of the event we were still on fifth place, having a realistic chance to make it into the finals. However, a negligence cost us the fifth place and we were overtaken in the last seconds of the GameDay. Of course, we were not "Happy Debuggers" then. Nonetheless, it was a unique experience. Marko from "Rage Against EC2" described it perfectly and I couldn't agree with him more:
"[The AWS Game Day] has given me at least a glimpse of how wonderful other guys in the team are, how much they know and how fun it is to work with them."
All in all, our team has grown together, not only those who participated in the GameDay but all those who followed the live stream and cheered with us. We realized how much we know and how much we still don't know (I still have so much to learn) and where we have to keep learning (yup that's me). For GameDays to come, we know that we need to prepare beforehand. When working remotely, as we did, it helps to communicate intentions clearly. Sharing your screen helps to ensure that everybody is on the same page. Do not dive into the GameDay head over heels, take time to read and understand the instructions given to you. If you get stuck on a task, move to the next one or ask AWS for help. GameDays are meant to be fun and taken lightly, so don't be too serious and enjoy the moment. Also, don't be afraid of doing ClickOps but please don't make it a habit at work.
The grand finale takes place on 28th September 2022, 4.00 pm BST, 8.00 am PDT, 11.00 pm SGT. Follow it live on Twitch and if you ever get the chance to participate in a GameDay, go for it. You will learn a loooot, it's so much fun, and AWS does a great job in keeping you on your toes throughout the event.