Learning Serverless (and why it is hard)

Where do you start when you want to learn serverless?

I’ve been trying to figure that one out for years.

“Our team doesn’t understand what serverless is”

I’ve worked with small teams, bigger teams, and very big teams. Teams who have been trying to develop startup applications on the web, on mobile and for enterprise and for consumers. I’ve also worked in scenarios that have very large teams where you simply have no way of working one to one with everyone and they are building some critically important applications using a serverless approach and they could last for many years.

Where developers are right about serverless

Serverless is not easy... to learn.

Minor rant about “serverless.com”

The whole idea is not helped (and I’ve said this from the changing of the name back in 2016 I think it was?) the serverless.com has really not helped here.

Back to finding it hard to find good information on “serverless”

So how do you find information?

Serverless applications aren’t easy to understand from the outside

The majority of large scale serverless applications that are in production today are on Amazon Web Services:

Image from About — Cynefin Framework — The Cynefin Co

How does Cynefin help with serverless application development?

The problem with moving to a serverless approach for developers is a very simple one:

  • “use as few libraries as possible”
  • “Minimize the complexity of your dependencies”

The purpose of best practices

There is always a reason best practices exist. These practices have often been built up to sustain a particular way of working or to avoid mistakes.

Sympathy for the Devilopers

I genuinely sympathise with a lot of developers who struggle with the switch to a serverless approach.

So how do you teach someone to build serverless applications?

The strange thing is that… I’m not sure that you can.

Learning Serverless: The Sweet Spot

The best serverless applications tend towards being highly event driven. I haven’t mentioned event driven architectures or EDA in this post yet, but I think it’s important to note here.

Learning Serverless is hard but getting easier

All in all, learning serverless is hard.

“But what is a serverless solution?” (I hear you ask)

That is for another post.



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Paul Johnston

ServerlessDays CoFounder (Jeff), ex AWS Serverless Snr DA, experienced CTO/Interim, Startups, Entrepreneur, Techie, Geek and Christian