Peter got his start with a formal publisher, writing about technology he was actively working on in his day-job was a gentle introduction to content creation. He'd also already been doing talks on the conference circuit.
Peter's path started with books, and then for his courses he decided to add video to enrich the content and give students options on how they could consume the material - almost like an extension of the book.
Peter created separate tiers for different book/video bundles and combinations
Peter has seen a pretty even split of some students preferring videos, others preferring the book
After starting with a more niched first course (on Istio service mesh), Peter then worked his way backward to come up with his second course, deciding to focus on the underlying technology - Kubernetes.
With his second course, Peter introduced practical "labs" modules, which are exercises students can download and run in their browser. It requires either MiniKube & Docker or a real Kuberentes cluster if students are feeling more ambitious. There are instructions and files to help students run everything locally (doesn't even require a very powerful computer, which wasn't the case in the past).
Peter also took the opportunity to teach himself React and Typescript whilst creating his new course
Peter realized that it would be too much work to setup a SaaS platform for students to do work on a cluster, so he opted to have them download the application and run it on their local machines (kind of self-hosted approach)
For students looking to get good results with learning Kubernetes, Peter recommends starting with Docker & containers first. Once you have that, work through the material in bitesize chunks. The documentation can be overwhelming.
Peter's approach to teaching remains: start with a minimal theoretical framework, then dive into practical examples as quickly as possible.
Peter thinks there is a lot of potential with the Kubernetes APIs, particularly around creating custom resources - which gives you a full REST API created by Kubernetes for you.
You're not going to learn Kubernetes in a week [...] make sure you take bitesize chunks
The way that I would learn is through practical examples [...] try to containerize one of your websites and see how you could move that to Kubernetes
Especially now that Kubernetes is extremely popular [...] having that skill [Kubernetes] in your toolbelt can open doors. Even if you don't understand it in-depth, it's good to have a rough understanding and know-how to run some basic commands.
[00:00:00] And welcome to the course maker podcast today. I am delighted to introduce our guest Peter Jausovec. Peter, welcome to the show. Thank you. Thanks for having me, Chris. Right. So Peter, you're an O'Reilly Hoffa, uh, speaker and engineer, and you've recently released the core stock. Coobernetti's so obviously very accomplished. Could you tell the audience a bit about your background? Sure. So I've been in tech for probably around 15 years. Um, graduated in Europe with computer science degree, then moved to U S I was hired by Microsoft and that's where I spend, uh, most of my career was at Microsoft. I was working on. Uh, SharePoint on visual studio on tooling. And then in the recent couple of years, I started working more with container Dockers and
[00:01:00] orchestrators, and that led to Kubernetes service mesh, all these cloud native things. And, uh, during that time I've also written a couple of books. I co-authored a couple of books, so I got exposed to, uh, to that world as well. I've done a lot of, um, Conferences, a lot of conference talks a lot of workshops, uh, in the past year, uh, especially travel around the world, spoke about dr. About Kubernetes service meshes and just cloud cloud native in general. And was there a particular moment where you decided, okay. I really want to focus on distributed computing and containers, that kind of thing. Or was it a gradual process? It was more of a gradual process, I think back, uh, Back in my previous company, right. When we did the transition, it was more of a, okay, so this, this cloud thing is evolving. We have to be in it. Right. What can we do? What do we have to do
[00:02:00] to go with the flow where the industry is going? So it was more of a gradual there wasn't a. Light bulb moment or something like that, where it's like, Oh, I have to now focus on cloud and distributed systems. It was more of a went from the tooling. It was like a natural progression, I would say to, uh, to cloud, I guess. And you obviously, before, um, putting out any courses you started with ordering books, what was the journey like going from, you know, everyday engineering career to deciding, okay, I'm going to write a book on this. So the first, the first book that I call author, it was on the technology that we were working on at Microsoft at the time. And it wasn't too. What was it too hard or too complex because I was already working with the technology, you know, so I, I knew what it was and knew how to work. So it was fairly straightforward, I guess, to write it down, put it in words. Um, of course there's a lot of, uh, um, there's a lot of help there was needed, especially from the editorial side. Right.
[00:03:00] Uh, and that's what you get. That's like a really, really good thing that you get. If you're going with a. I'm going to say real publishing house or real publisher, you get all that support right there. Make sure that you sound good, that it reads well. Uh, no, um, or mistakes, nothing like that. So we have a lot of support. Right. But then now if you contrast that to, well, I'm going to write it myself and self publish, all that is gone. Right. So you have to go, you're one man band where you have to go out. You have to make sure that the thing reads well, that the screenshots are correct. That all the file formats are, at least you don't have to worry about printing it, right. If you don't want to. But yeah, there's still a lot of work that you have to do it then marketing. And of course, you're not going to have the same reach as. Big publishers do. Right. So that's, I think that was one of the still is one of the biggest thing to getting, getting the course out or getting the books out on your own right. A hundred percent. Yeah.
[00:04:00] Yeah. And what was the journey like then going from publishing a book, uh, onwards towards your first course. Yeah. So I originally started, I think a year, year and a half ago. I started with a book originally for Istio service mesh. So wrote that book. I, um, I set up a Gumroad page instead of pre-orders set up all that finished the book that was in, I think, June or July when I released it. And then I just couldn't sit still, you know, I was like, Oh, I should probably record videos as well. Maybe everyone is doing that. Right. It's yeah. I mean by everyone is it's people that you follow, I guess it's not, not everyone is doing it, but, uh, I figured maybe I should do videos. Right. And there was the whole on, I have to get the microphone after you do get this, get that right. So, um, so I decided to do the video course as well for, uh, For the book to accompany the book, I guess. And that's how, like, that's how my first course
[00:05:00] went. Right. That's what I did for my first course. It was more of an extension of the book. Uh, so whoever pre-ordered, the book also got the course, the video course for free included. Right. And then of course I got the created separate tiers for the book and the book and the videos and so on. And what was the reception like from students? I mean, where was students appreciative of the videos? I mean, I imagine you always get a bit of a split, right? Yes. There's always a split. I mean, originally started with the book. So it was, I gave it a give the video as a way to those customers already. Right. So whoever purchased the book, got the videos as well, but there's a lot of people that also got the videos afterwards as when it was a separate package. But I think it's still, I think it's, I can't, I can't say if. There's more books or more videos, you know, it all depends on the person. Like I'm very, um, I would prefer a video myself. I'm very practical person. I like to try things like you see things, right. I don't mind reading a book either, but I
[00:06:00] would read the book like a later on. I would probably go through the videos first. And the split is, I guess, similar with other people. It's like, Hey, some people like books bore. Some people like, uh, videos, I guess. Yeah, absolutely. Um, different learning styles for different people. Some people would just, yeah. One of the, just show me the code. Right? Some people have bad attitude. Exactly. Exactly. I just show, give me the, give me the source code that you have in the book and then I'll figure it out, right? Yeah. Okay. And so you've now recently published your second course. Start Coobernetti's. So what made you decide to, to create that particular course? Yeah. So the first one, the learner Istio was a very niche, I would say because it's a service mesh, it runs on top of Kubernetes. So it's a very niche audience. And I figured, well, if people are going to learn about service mesh or people who want to learn a service, the service mesh, they probably need to know Coobernetti's as well. So I kind of worked backwards, said, all right, I should
[00:07:00] bride or do something about Kubernetes. And I remembered. Back when I started learning Kubernetes, it was fairly, I mean, it is complex, right? There's a lot of new terminology. Uh, you have to understand how things work, so it's not like, Oh, I'm just going to pick it up. It's a small library and I'm going to use it. Right. It's a huge thing. So I figured I should create something that's specifically targeted to beginners. It was originally a book. I knew I'm going to do videos as well. Right. But something that would be targeted to beginners and because I'm very. Practically oriented. Like a, like I like to learn by doing and practicing things. I figured I'm going to do a video. I'm going to do a book. I'm going to do videos, but I'll also want to do like a practical component. And this is where the laps came in. So I created this. Yeah. 40 41 labs that you run in your, you install on your Kubernetes cluster, you run in your browser and you have the actual exercise that you have to do. And you can verify if your solution is correct or not, and
[00:08:00] get tips. And if you're stuck, you can just look at the solution and run it and go through it. So that was like, it was. I guess I didn't learn from my previous course, course that book and videos are a lot. I wanted to add a third component to it, which was these labs, but it was really fun. I mean, I did everything from scratch, so I did all my diagrams, all the writing, of course, all the coding. Uh, I use react and type script, uh, Running on top of Kubernetes. So it's, I was also taking this more of a, um, a learning experience for me. Right. I never used like TypeScript and react during my real day job. Right. So it was like a nice, a nice break from the day job to learn something different and learn something new. So, um, yeah. So it's three components. It's called star Kubernetes. There's a book there's 20, I would say 23 videos. I think. And 40 something exercises and lapse. So I'm, I'm really interested in these labs.
[00:09:00] Um, the students have to like download and install mini cube or something like that on their local machines. Yes. Yeah. So the idea is that if I back up a little bit, right? So w when I started with this, there was a, this grandiose idea of me creating a full. Fledged platform online, SAS people would sign up, right? You can run, run it from the browser on my clusters. Right. Uh, and that's, that's all it is. Right. But of course there's a lot of work involved in that. It's not as simple as right. You can't do it in a couple of weeks or months. Right. There's like teams of people working on this for years. Uh, so I was like, all right. So what is the closest thing that I can get to that? And it was, well, what if I give the. Give the application or give the system to the users can install it in their own cluster and they can run it themselves. So it's like a self hosted solution. Uh, but yeah, you need either mini cube, uh, Docker for Mac or windows,
[00:10:00] or even a real cluster. If you want, uh, you get a set of instructions, you get a set of Jamo files, uh, with Docker images, you installed it on your cluster or you'd go to your browser. And you have an interface where you can browse through, uh, through different exercises. Uh, you get a terminal window inside the browser that's connected to your cluster and it's running inside a container, uh, in your cluster. So you have access to your cluster and you can do the exercises like that. Yeah, no, that, that practical side to it sounds really powerful. Yeah. I can imagine that being a great tool for students. Yes. Yeah. So it's, I, I try to cover all like, Someone who likes books, they're covered with the books. Someone likes videos they're covered with videos and there's the other group where they're hands-on and just want to do it practically. Uh, they, they are covered with that, with the labs as well. Yeah. Yeah. And in terms of, you know, if you were a student who's approaching a technology, like Coobernetti's what sort of.
[00:11:00] Tips would you have for someone in that position, maybe they're not familiar with it. What, what do your students who Xcel do differently compared to other students? So the, the, I'm not going to say the issue, but Kubernetes is, there's a vast, like, it's a huge thing. Right. And it's very hard to. You're not gonna learn it in a week. Right. So if you see a book that says, learn Kubernetes in 24 hours or whatever, those popular books where you're not going to learn it in 24 hours. Right? So my suggestion is if, if you really want to learn about Kubernetes as either as from the DevOps side or as a Coobernetti's application developer or someone who runs. Applications in Kubernetes or develops applications that run on Kubernetes. Start with Docker first, understand Docker, understand containers, because you have to know that those are like the basics. Uh, the basic building blocks. If you will start with that first and then dive into Kubernetes,
[00:12:00] but. Try to learn it like in bite sizes, don't try to bite too much because you'll get lost. There's a lot of, a lot of new terminology, a lot of different terminology. Uh, a lot of rules, a lot of API APIs, a lot of components. So take it by bite size. Right? Uh, learn slowly. The nice thing about it is, uh, you don't need to get a. Real cloud managed cluster, or you don't have to go to cloud providers, pay money to get a cluster. You can run it locally on your computer. You don't even have to have a very powerful computer to run it. Uh, which is really good because years ago you would need like a pre-briefing machine to run Coobernetti's locally, not anymore. So yeah, there's, everything is out there. kubernetes.io. That's the, um, That's the main website for Kubernetes. There's a lot of the communication there a lot and it can be overwhelming. Right? That's the whole problem because you'll click on documentation there and there's bod
[00:13:00] services. Deployment is demon sets. You'll get lost, right? If you don't know the basic terminology, at least, but yeah, my advice would be start slow. Uh, don't expect to learn everything about it within a week or so. Uh, just start slowly and the way that I would learn that's that works for me as practical examples. Right. You try to containerize one of your websites or one of your services or something, and then see how you could move that maybe to Kubernetes and run it on Kubernetes. Yeah, definitely. You very good advice. Uh, and then. For for yourself, right? I mean, obviously you've been on a learning journey going from first creating your Istio course and now creating this one. How would you say that your approach to teaching has changed between the two courses? I mean, my approach is still the same. I try to, uh, even when I did workshops and talks, I always try to, um, try to give the attendees, um, Like a minimal theoretical knowledge or, uh, understanding
[00:14:00] of concepts. And then just dive into the practical examples. I don't think that my approach has changed. I'm still going. That approach works for me. Right? I know people are very different. Some people prefer to learn everything. There is theoretically write about a thing before they try it. Uh, I'm not like that. I try to give like the most important bits out. All right. Uh, try to understand those important concepts. Yes. Understand that there's a lot of it underneath as well, but for you to get a grasp on or get up and running with something quickly. Learn those basic bits, get it up and running and then go back and dive deeper if you want to, or if you need to. Right. Because there's, I mean, just like with everything, there's so many knobs and buttons and settings and everything that you can change, there's no way. And it does not even make sense to learn everything going like in debt. Right. It's, it's easy to do like, uh, at least for me to do a
[00:15:00] breadth overview of everything. Right. Um, And then dig deeper where you want to, or in the areas that are interested. And, you know, thinking ahead for students who are thinking about their careers and learning these sorts of technologies, uh, what sort of impact do you think learning a technology like Kubernetes can have on a student's career? I mean, it can definitely open, uh, open you more doors, right? I mean, learning more stuff and knowing more technology as I always see it as it's a door opening thing, it's not a door closing thing. Uh, you'll probably get more opportunities, uh, and more choices too. Like if you're looking for a new job or something, it's always good to have that in your tool belt, especially now when Kubernetes is. Like extremely popular companies are moving to it. Uh, uh, new startups are using it, right. It's, it's extremely popular. So it's one
[00:16:00] of those tools that, uh, uh, uh, it's good to know and good to understand, even if you don't know it in depth, right. It's good to at least have an understanding on what it is. And. So you have some basic commands and how to use it. Yeah. You say the popularity of Coopernetties says pretty much beyond doubt now. Um, well, out of the, the hype phase, um, what do you have any predictions for the future of, of Kubernetes? Do you think it's got a distinct shelf life or do you think it's going to be with us for quite some time? I think it's going to be, I mean, first of all, I don't like to make predictions, especially not in pic space because stuff changes so fast. And, uh, but I do think that, uh, it's not a, it's not something that will go away fast. I think there's a lot of potential, still a lot of potential with the Kubernetes API APIs. Uh, For example, if, uh, and it's my goal more in depth with the Kubernetes, but Kubernetes has a set of resources that are well-defined et
[00:17:00] cetera, and come ship with Kubernetes, right? So deployments, pod services, et cetera, but you can also create your own custom resources so you can define your own resources and what you get. Once you define that and you create a controller, you get a full rest API. Created by Kubernetes for you to manage those resources. So I think there's a lot of power with that API and I wouldn't be surprised to see that API, uh, Cool out of Kubernetes as well, or at least that style of API APIs. Right. Uh, move out of Kubernetes and be available in other technologies as well. So I think there's definitely a lot of potential. So it is, if you're, if you're thinking I, should I learn Kubernetes or not, I don't think that's a question you should definitely learn it. Especially if you're in a dev ops dev ops role or wanting to go to the DevOps role, or if you're gonna, if you're planning to develop any, uh, Applications that will run on Kubernetes.
[00:18:00] Yep. Definitely food for thought there, I think for the people. Okay. And what about yourself? What's what's next for you? I, I think I have to spend more time on marketing the course. Uh, that's always one of the, uh, big things that he have to do. I'll be posting regular updates to course just like I did with, uh, STL. I always do. Like when there's a new version, I update the book. I haven't rerecorded the videos yet, but at least I keep the book, uh, book updated. Uh, I don't have any other course in, uh, in the near future, but, uh, I'll probably do something else at some point. I just don't know what it is yet. Sure. And where can students go to find out more about you and find your courses? So for more about me, you can follow me on Twitter, uh, and for more about the Kubernetes course, you can go to start kubernetes.com or learn istio.com. Okay. And
[00:19:00] we'll make sure all those links and handles are in the show notes. Well, great to talk to you, Peter. Thanks ever so much for coming on the show. Thank you so much, Chris. All right, bye. For now.