As part of AWS ‘plan to train 29 million people on its cloud platform
- Amazon Web Services aims to provide free cloud training to 29 million people by 2025.
- The cloud giant is teaming up with nonprofits to target recently unemployed tech newcomers.
- Free training is key to expanding AWS’s customer base, a Gartner analyst told Insider.
In early 2020, the emerging pandemic put millions of people out of work, including Ana Rodriguez, a former administrative assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The school sent all of her students home and fired her at the end of March.
“I was stressed out because I had just lost my source of income, and as I reassessed my skills, I thought about getting into tech because of the opportunities,” Rodriguez told Insider. But the high cost of college studies and boot camps held Rodriguez back, leading him to explore free alternatives to learn tech skills.
The research led Rodriguez to Per Scholas, a nonprofit organization that offers tuition-free computer training. The association put her in touch with Amazon Web Services’ free cloud training program, which Rodriguez enrolled in despite his lack of coding experience. Less than a year later, she landed a job as a cloud IT technician at a fintech startup in Boston.
People like Rodriguez looking for new careers are exactly the ones AWS is trying to capture in its efforts to train 29 million people in cloud skills by 2025. The cloud giant is targeting those who are underemployed or without. job with free cloud bootcamp training to tackle the current shortage of tech talent – and maintain its position as the dominant cloud, Craig Lowery, vice president analyst at Gartner, told Insider.
Since the initiative launched last year, according to AWS, it has taught more than 6 million people cloud skills.
AWS’s free cloud training program includes online courses, an in-person learning center in Seattle, and partnerships with nonprofits, like the one Rodriguez approached. The program aims to teach technical skills “as quickly as possible to as many people as possible” and to address technical skills gaps, said Kevin Kelly, director of educational programs at AWS.
“We’re looking for underemployed, unemployed and underrepresented people, veterans as well as all newcomers, quite frankly, to help close this cloud computing skills gap,” Kelly said.
By partnering with nonprofits, AWS aims to connect the community with open jobs, Kelly said. As the free cloud training program expands its availability from 25 to 99 cities, AWS targets nonprofits in the development of technology hubs like Miami and Nashville, Tennessee, which have more than doubled the number of their technical staff. over the past five years.
At a partner nonprofit, the Nashville Software School, educators are tailoring the AWS curriculum to a wider audience, said John Wark, founder and CEO of the nonprofit. Basic skills such as Java, Python, and Linux are divided into classroom lessons at no cost to students.
“If one of the biggest companies employing people in your town calls, you pick up,” Wark said. The partnership has given students access to more job opportunities, both at Amazon and other companies, he added.
Other cloud giants like Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud also offer free training with similar goals, like Google’s efforts to train 40 million people. But AWS remains the leader in terms of market share, and its investment in free training could be a strategic way to stay on top while fending off new competitors like Databricks and Snowflake.
“By providing free training to make sure more people use their services, AWS is essentially building its own customer base,” Lowery said.
AWS’s strategy to target the unemployed is also timely, given the changes in the job market, Lowery said. Millions of people are leaving their jobs in search of something new, a phenomenon known as the Great Resignation.
“It doesn’t take a lot of investment to learn cloud skills. Anyone with a laptop and an Internet connection can take courses and get certified,” Lowery said. “With the Big Resignation in full swing, I’m betting that many people leaving their previous jobs will want to take advantage of easy-to-access cloud training. “