Ahoy there! I have just returned from week 1 of Nordcloud’s Talent Acceleration programme in Helsinki, 6-week AWS training course aimed at seasoned IT professionals to turn them into cloud experts with a mixture of classroom lectures, practical labs and real-world scenarios.

Upon accepting Nordcloud’s offer, I knew I’d be joining with other new starters from around Europe in Helsinki for week 1, but where would we be sleeping? A hotel? A shared apartment?

helsinki

The accommodation details came through on email along with the rest of the joining members, a two-bedroom houseboat for the 5 Nordcloud students. It certainly looked cosy from the picture. I’ll say that I was a little apprehensive about sharing close quarters with people I’ve never met before. We coordinated our visit between ourselves over email and mobile messaging groups, arranging to meet up depending when our flights arrived in Helsinki.

boat

It turned out that I was one of the first to arrive, and I had been liaising with the boat owner to arrange picking up keys (or perhaps “on-boarding” is a better term here). I was greeted by a tall Russian with a big grey beard, a ship’s captain if ever I’ve seen one! He proceeded to give me a thorough tour of the boat’s quarters during which I placed my belongings in the prime sleeping spot. He then told me he would show me how to fill the water tank as over a week, it would run out. He placed a large hi-vis vest on me and said “you’re the captain now, Captain Terry…” He then said “follow me” and grabbed a hose from the side of the harbour, put it between his teeth and climbed down the side of the boat on a small ledge no bigger than 5cm. The weather was kind in Helsinki, however, I wasn’t too keen on falling and taking a swim in the harbour water. I told him I had a great view from where I was, and he proceeded to hold onto the boat with one hand and placing the hose into the tank, just above the water line. He said that if we had any problems with filling up the tank then we should call him… I was pretty sure we’d be calling him.

UCN Terry

Life on the open sea was good to us for the week, with the activities planned plus eating out together each evening, we didn’t spend too much time on the boat apart from sleeping. It was certainly a good way to get to know my fellow Nordcloud candidates. When we ran out of water midway through the week, I took captain’s responsibility to go and fill the tank and did so without incident. With the long list of things I learnt during the start of the Nordcloud Talent Acceleration course, boat maintenance was a surprise addition to the list!

 

I have just booked my flights for week 5 meet-up in Helsinki, I await the accommodation email with interest…