AWS launches training institute to tackle the cloud skills gap

Dive Brief:

  • AWS launched a 12-course cloud skills training program designed to prepare learners for entry-level cloud technologist roles in as little as one year, the company announced Tuesday.
  • The AWS Cloud Institute curriculum covers proficiencies in cloud and developer fundamentals, architecting on AWS, databases, analytics, networking, security, Python coding and ML and AI tools, including the company’s generative AI-enabled developer tool, Amazon CodeWhisperer.
  • Accenture, American Family Insurance and other AWS customers and partners helped shape the program. “We’ve been working with transportation customers, banking customers, consultant customers and having them help us develop these real-world issues and problems that our learners can work on and build solutions around,” said Kevin Kelly, director of the new institute.

Dive Insight:

Sourcing tech talent remains a pain point for many CIOs, as enterprises push modernization. Despite a wave of tech-sector layoffs earlier this year and monthly unemployment rate fluctuations, demand continues to exceed the existing pool of IT professionals.

The problem is particularly acute in cloud, a category that encompasses core IT functions, including cyber, database management, networking and infrastructure architecture.

AWS estimates there are as many as five million unfilled cloud positions, based on an internal study the hyperscaler commissioned, Kelly said.

Along with security and controlling spend, a lack of cloud expertise was a top challenge for enterprises last year, according to a Flexera report. Accenture found that talent gaps were an obstacle to core systems migration in the financial sector earlier this year.

With its new training program, AWS is aiming to address gaps in the talent pipeline left unfilled by bootcamps and degree programs, reaching learners who have no prior experience in cloud, Kelly said.

“Traditionally, AWS training and certification has focused on corporate learners who are bootcamp or higher ed graduates,” said Kelly. “They know what distributed systems are, they know what virtualization is and they’ve already got a job. They may come to us as mainframe, on-prem, client server developers, so they have a background in IT. This program doesn’t assume any of that.”

Students get access to preparation and vouchers to take the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam after the program’s first 90 days, and the AWS Certified Developer Associate exam later in the program..

Kelly said cloud application developer, cloud operations administrator, cloud support associate, site reliability engineer and some entry-level cloud security roles are likely outcomes for graduates.

AWS will matriculate its inaugural cohort in early January, the announcement said. The full cost of the program is $7,560 plus tax.

AWS will offer needs-based grants covering course fees for a select number of applicants.

While the program is open to individuals, AWS expects interest from enterprises looking to upskill existing workforces. 

“B2B customers are looking to invest in upskilling employees, from frontline roles into the back-office part of the business and into developing the cloud applications that are ultimately going to be used by colleagues that are still in front office roles.”