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Creating a Custom Skill for Amazon Alexa

How to write voice applications for millions of Amazon Alexa users

Terren Peterson

The shift to controlling applications with our voice has begun, led by the introduction of the Alexa platform by Amazon. An estimated ten million of these devices have already been sold since their introduction just a few years ago, and rapid growth is expected to continue.

This course will teach you the fundamentals about the platform by taking you through the entire process around creating and publishing an application that millions of users can use from their device. To create an application on the Alexa platform, you will customize a template that instructs how to translate and respond to voice requests a user makes. Publishing it requires satisfying the quality standards that Amazon has established, and providing details that will be shared with potential users of the product.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By taking this course, students will gain a solid understanding of how the Amazon Alexa platform works at a technical level. During the course, we will use the platform to build an Alexa skill that can be deployed to the platform, and used by millions of users that have a device. You will also be able to understand how to track your skills usage, and understand the fundamentals that will enable the skill to be enhanced further.

This training course is for you because...

You are a software developer, and your company is beginning to explore building customer-facing applications on the Amazon Alexa platform.


A basic familiarity with the Alexa Voice platform is needed to get value out of this course. Having access to one of the physical devices is not required, but recommended.

You will need access to two accounts from Amazon. One is an, Amazon Web Services (AWS) account. This will be where the API that you develop that the platform uses will be hosted. The second is an Amazon Developer account. This account will enable you to leverage the AI technology that underpins the voice-driven platform.

  • To register for a free AWS account, go here. https://aws.amazon.com/
  • To register for a free Amazon developer account, go here. https://developer.amazon.com/

Recommended Preparation - Build your own Alexa Skill - Designing Voice User Interfaces

Assignments prior to the live scheduled meetings online: Before joining this live course, please take a look at what custom skills have already been published on the platform. They can be browsed on the Amazon website just like any other product.

  • https://www.amazon.com/alexa-skills/b/ref=topnav_storetab_a2s?ie=UTF8&node=13727921011

As part of this course, you will be creating your own custom skill in the facts and interests category.

Please note: Any content that is used within the creation of your custom skills, either during this course or beyond should be confined to material that you own, including trademarks and logos.

About your instructor

  • Terren Peterson has been recognized by Amazon as an Alexa Developer Champion, and has published more than a dozen skills, including Scavenger Hunt, Music Teacher, Hurricane Center, and Seventh Inning Stretch. Terren won the 2016 Internet of Voice Challenge with his creation of an Alexa driven baseball pitching machine. Terren is an industry expert in Cloud Technology, earning both his architect and developer certifications, and leads software engineering teams at Capital One.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

  • Introduction: Amazon Alexa Architecture, and Key Terms (15 minutes)
  • Demonstration: Behind the scenes for an Alexa application (10 minutes)
  • Q&A (10 minutes)

  • Break (5 minutes)

  • Getting Started: Creating the API on AWS for your Alexa Skill (5 minutes)

  • Getting Started: Creating the template for your Alexa Skill (10 minutes)
  • Q&A (10 minutes)

  • Break (5 minutes)

  • Customizing Your Skill (20 minutes)

  • Preparing Your Skill to be Published (20 minutes)
  • Q&A (10 minutes)

  • Break (5 minutes)

  • Adding More Functionality (15 minutes)

  • Submitting Your Skill for Publishing (5 minutes)
  • Closing Q&A and Discussion (10 minutes)

  • Thanks & How to Contact (5 minutes)