AWS Educate brings cloud to the classroom to address IT skills gap

Amazon Web Services (AWS) wants to ensure students have the skills they need to make full use of cloud technologies in the workplace

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has reinforced its commitment to closing the cloud skills gap by taking steps to make its technology easier for students and teachers to access.

The cloud service giant’s AWS Educate programme enables schools, colleges and universities to provide students with access to real-world cloud technologies in a classroom setting so when they come to enter the world of work, they’re already well-versed in how to use them.

The programme is free for educational institutions, teachers and students to join, and will provide them with AWS credits that can be used to cover the cost of the Amazon cloud services they use.

Participants will also benefit from access to web-based training and lab sessions, walking them through how to use the supplier’s services, as well as forums where they can find out more about how their peers are using cloud technologies.

Educators, in particular, will also be able to access course materials from overseas universities – including Harvard, Stanford and Cornell Tech – which have introduced cloud computing and data management subjects to their syllabuses.

The programme has been trialled by a number of universities and colleges across the globe, including the National College of Ireland (NCI), where Horacio González-Vélez, associate professor and head of its Cloud Competency Centre, has overseen its roll-out.

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“NCI cherishes the opportunity to participate in the AWS beta programme for education as it will enable us to further contribute to the advancement of cloud computing and data analytics worldwide,” he said.

“Several specific advances have been preceded by the noble economic and in-kind contributions from industry, which have set firm foundations for further research and development in academic institutions.

“Indeed, science and technology progress is intrinsically a collaborative effort, where individuals and institutions working together are often more effective than individual scientists or practitioners working alone,” he added.

An education in AWS

According to AWS worldwide public sector vice-president Teresa Carlso, this isn’t the first time Amazon has embarked on a push to increase the accessibility of its services to the educational community.

“For years, the AWS educational grants programme has put cloud technology in the hands of educators and students, giving them the ability to put big ideas into action,” she said.

“We’ve seen students develop assistive computer vision technology in collaboration with the National Federation of the Blind and aspiring entrepreneurs take a web startup from conception to launch within 60 hours.”

AWS Educate is a logical follow-on from this work, added Carlso. “Based on the feedback and success of our grant recipients and the global need for cloud-skilled workers, we developed AWS Educate to help even more students learn cloud technology first-hand in the classroom,” she said.

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