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AWS Opens a 'Skills Center' in Seattle, Expands Cloud Education Efforts

With cloud computing skills in high demand, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is accelerating its efforts to bring free cloud education resources to people around the world.

AWS this week described a four-pronged plan to help it meet its goal of training 29 million people globally on cloud technologies by 2025. AWS first announced this goal last December, promising to invest "hundreds of millions of dollars" to bring its cloud training programs to "more than 200 countries and territories."

This week, it announced the next few steps in this effort, including the launch of a new facility in Seattle, Wash., dedicated to free in-person cloud classes. According to AWS' announcement, classes available in the new AWS Skills Center will include:

[F]undamentals such as Introduction to Computer Technology, providing beginners with a basic understanding of computing; Cloud Practitioner Essentials, covering basic cloud computing concepts; Exam Readiness: Certified Cloud Practitioner, preparing learners for the AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification exam; and other foundational courses about game tech, machine learning, and more.

The center will also feature exhibits related to real-world applications of cloud technologies in everything from sports to robotics. It will serve as a career center, as well, with networking events focused on connecting people in the community with potential employers.

The AWS Skills Center in Seattle is set to open its doors on Nov. 22. It will be the first of several other AWS Skills Centers planned across the United States and in other countries, according to AWS' announcement.

Also new this week is the launch of the AWS Skill Builder course library. Available in over 200 markets with support for 16 languages, the AWS Skill Builder provides no-cost access to over 500 on-demand cloud classes. Users can get recommendations for classes based on skill level and career interests.

AWS also announced the availability of free cloud courses on the Amazon.com marketplace, via a new "AWS Courses" section. There are currently 100 courses listed in the section as of this writing.

Finally, AWS said it is "tripling" the availability of its re/Start program, which is designed to help "unemployed or underemployed individuals" learn the skills required to qualify for entry-level cloud jobs. Last year, re/Start was available in only 25 cities and 12 countries. At that time, AWS said it planned to double the number of cities by the end of 2021. This week, AWS said it will far exceeded that goal, with the number of re/Start locations poised to hit 95 cities in 38 countries by the end of this year.

It's no secret that cloud skills are lucrative; a recent Dice survey reported that cloud engineer is one of the Top 5 highest-paying tech jobs, with an average annual salary of $136,479. They're also critical, particularly for security professionals. The majority of respondents in a recent VMware survey said "lack of knowledge or expertise in cloud security best practices" was the leading cause of cloud security failures. Demand for cloud skills will only increase as organizations adapt to hybrid work scenarios resulting from the pandemic.

"Over the next decade, we expect the adoption of cloud computing across every industry will fuel a vast number of new jobs, which is why we are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to develop online courses, local in-person reskilling programs, and new ways to make it easy for anyone to learn cloud skills," said Maureen Lonergan, head of Training and Certification at AWS, in a prepared statement. "Lowering barriers to accessing technical skills training is critical to power a thriving, diverse workforce of the future."

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editor of Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and AWSInsider.net, and the editorial director of Converge360.

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