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Paradise man selected for world skills competition in computing

Alex Edwards, 22, of Paradise, along with 27 other students from across the country, will be heading to Lyon, France in September 2024, to compete in the 47th WorldSkills Competition. Edwards is the only student from this province set to compete in the competition. Submitted photo

By Mark Squibb / August 11, 2023

Alex Edwards, 22, of Paradise is one of only 28 people named to the 2024 WorldSkills Team Canada. Edwards will be competing at the 47th WorldSkills Competition in Lyon, France, in September 2024.

Following the national Skills Canada competition held in Winnipeg last April, the highest-ranking age eligible participants from each skill category were selected for the world competition.

Edwards’ area of expertise is cloud computing.

No, he’s not a meteorologist — Edwards uses the internet (the ‘cloud’) to offer computer services remotely.

While competing in Winnipeg, Edwards was so focused on the task at hand that he didn’t give any thought to whether he would place, let alone qualify for the world competition.

“But when I realised that I did place first, I was pretty shocked,” said the Mount Pearl Senior High alumni. “It was such a cool, unique experience, and so winning it made me feel really happy.”

Edwards, who had also earned Silver in the IT Network System Administration Competition in the Skills Canada NL  2022 competition, decided to try his hand at the Cloud Computing category in the 2023 National Competition after being encouraged to do so by Jim Pelley and Richard Spencer, both instructors at the College of the North Atlantic, where he is currently studying a Computer Systems and Networking program.

“It’s such a new concept,” Edwards said of cloud computing. “And it’s readily available. I don’t have to go out and buy thousands of dollars worth of equipment just to try something new.”

He said there’s plenty of resources and tutorials available online for anyone interesting in giving cloud computing a shot.

For the national competition, contestants were required to build and manage a secure website — and that was just day one. During the second day of competition, competitors were given a number of skill-testing puzzle activities to solve. Competitors were ranked on how long it took to complete their tasks, and how many tips they requested.

He’ll be doing plenty of hands-on prep work and research ahead of the competition and encourages those interested in cloud computing to give it a try.

“I would absolutely say ‘Go for it,’” said Edwards, who recommends the Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud providers. “There’s plenty of opportunities for all age ranges, from high school right up to people who have been doing this for 25 years. You can learn anything off of AWS. It’s such a cool, unique style of computing that I never really knew about until I got into it.”

The theme of the 2024 world competition is ‘Where there is a skill there is a way.’

Approximately 1,500 competitors representing 60 countries from around the globe will compete in over 60 skill categories.

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