New Alexa Skills Training Course: Build an Engaging Alexa Skill with Cake Time

Justin Jeffress May 17, 2019
Tips & Tools Beginner News


Editor’s Note: We have changed the name of the Alexa skill in our beginner tutorial from Cake Walk to Cake Time given the term’s racially insensitive history.


We’re excited to introduce our new self-paced skill-building course called Cake Time: Build an Engaging Alexa Skill. This free course offers step-by-step guidance on how to build a high-quality Alexa skill from start to finish. New skill builders will learn how to build their first skill in 5 minutes. Experienced developers will learn how to add advanced features like memory to deliver a more personalized and conversational voice experience. When you complete the course, you'll have the foundational knowledge of voice design, skill programming, and development tools to help you build high-quality Alexa skills your customers will enjoy.

Learn How to Design and Implement a Voice Experience

While anyone can quickly build an Alexa skill, there’s a lot to consider to build an engaging voice experience. Having a compelling voice idea is important, but so is implementation. A great skill idea implemented poorly will make it challenging for your skill to gain traction and retain customers. Before you start turning your voice idea into an Alexa skill, we recommend taking the time to learn how to design a voice experience, how to build a voice user interface, and how to leverage skill-building tools. We designed the Cake Time course to teach you these concepts so you can design and implement an engaging skill. 

Cake Time is a simple sample skill that enables Alexa to count down the days until your birthday. Cake Time will also deliver a happy birthday message on your special day. Throughout the course, you’ll learn how to build your own version of Cake Time, from the basic voice design and implementation to adding advanced features like persistence and memory.

Course Components

The course offers an introduction to voice design concepts and four skill-programming modules:

If you’re new to skill building, we recommend starting from the introduction. If you already know the basics and want to add memory to your skill, you can skip ahead to the section on using persistent attributes. Each module includes the code you need to get started and step-by-step instructions to apply the code.

What You'll Learn

By completing the course, you’ll understand the components of voice design, skill programming, and tooling to help you build engaging skills. You’ll learn how to use the Alexa Developer Console to create and test your skill. You’ll also learn how to use Alexa-hosted skills to host your skill’s back end. The course introduces the core concepts of voice design and how to program your back end using the Alexa Skills Kit Software Development Kit for Node.js.

You’ll also learn how to leverage important Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) features like:

More Training Opportunities to Enhance Your Alexa Skills

Once you’ve completed this course, we recommend you continue your learning by checking out these additional training materials:

Get Started with Cake Time

The self-paced course is free and available for anyone ready to build Alexa skills. Click here to get started. And please tell us what you think! Reach out to me on Twitter at @SleepyDeveloper to share your comments and feedback.