Access to education and training in the technological sphere can potentially make a difference for workers of all backgrounds, and Amazon Web Services is making a global effort to help employees find their footing in this lucrative field.
The platform will offer more than 500 free courses through its Skill Builder program to train those interested in cloud computing and other technology-related skills. The training will be available in 16 languages and accessible to more than 29 million people in 200 countries and territories.
“We create training offerings, such as digital courses and in-person learning, to help people gain cloud computing education,” says Scott Barneson, director of learning products at Amazon Web Services. “It’s an essential skill for people looking for a lot of career opportunities right now.”
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A subsidiary of Amazon, AWS provides cloud computing platforms, allowing users to access applications and data from any device without being tied to a specific server. For example, Netflix engineers must create and operate a cloud for its members to stream movies and shows. AWS allows engineers to do this, says Barneson.
For those looking to change careers or learn these skills from scratch, participants can take courses to guide them on their career path as a solutions architect, data scientist, or developer. AWS has also expanded its re/Start program, which provides free retraining for unemployed or underemployed workers. The 12-week online course prepares people with little or no experience in the tech world for entry-level cloud computing jobs. According to AWS, 90% of graduates leave the course with job interview opportunities.
Moalyne Honoré, a 2020 re/Start graduate, notes that the program’s fast-paced 9-to-5 routine was a sacrifice, but one that paid off. While Honoré previously worked in education and communications, she is now a risk and compliance management engineer for ByteChek, a cybersecurity software company. Still, Honore continues to learn more through free programs, like She Builds CloudUp, which is offered through AWS.
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“Never in a million years would I have thought of working in a cybersecurity software company,” says Honoré. “I took a chance and couldn’t be happier with my choice.”
AWS has even expanded into in-person instruction, opening its skills center in Seattle. It will show how cloud computing is applied to various industries and how the technology is brought to life by offering interactive exhibits on robotics, space, games and sports. The center also organizes free courses for cloud beginners.
“For people who are just starting out, we hope that by participating in the skill center they will be inspired and connect with others who are on a similar path and create a sense of community,” Barneson said. “We want to meet learners where they are and try to take into account that everyone will come from different backgrounds, languages, learning preferences, industries and aspirations.”
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While these courses and skills are particularly relevant to those in the technology sector, Barneson encourages employers to consider connecting this ideology to their own workforce. the AWS Global Digital Skills Study found that 2 in 3 employees do not feel confident enough to maintain the digital skills they need for their careers, and 85% of workers believe they need more technical knowledge to do their job because of the pandemic.
“Every business now has to be a digital business,” says Barneson. “Whether an organization is working remotely or simply trying to reach customers, digital skills are essential to communicate and deliver to your community.”
Employees want employers to support them as lifelong learners, Barneson explains, and that investment pays off both as recruitment and retention tool. AWS found that 84% of employers saw improved retention rates after implementing professional training programs.
“When employees feel like the company is investing in their future success, they’re more likely to stick around,” Barneson says. “When they feel more capable of doing the job expected of them, it builds loyalty and trust.”
Whether employees retrain and stay with their organization, or explore new opportunities, AWS could be the place to start. Honoré says it only took one step to change her career – and her life.
“You don’t need to be brave, you just need to be willing,” she says. “You’ll be scared, but it’s worth it. Your world may just change for the better as mine did.