Help wanted: 29 million workers with cloud computing skills

A conversation with Maureen Lonergan, director of training and certification, Amazon Web Services

Let’s start with a definition: cloud computing is a way to store and access computer data and programs via the internet. That’s an easy definition for an industry that annually generates $321 billion dollars in business worldwide, as well as millions of skilled, good-paying jobs.

Amazon Web Services is the leading provider of these cloud computing services with nearly 32% of the market. With so many clients using their technology, it made business-sense to AWS to start an in-house training and certification program nine years ago to make certain there were enough skilled workers capable of programming and maintaining their products.

Maureen Lonergan, director of training and certification for Amazon Web Services, started the program and continues to expand it as demand for cloud engineers and analysts grows. AWS has set a pretty ambitious goal of helping 29 million people around the world grow their tech skills in cloud computing for free by 2025.

“Right now, technology is changing so fast and companies are moving to the cloud at a rapid rate. A lot of our time (is spent) modernizing people’s skill sets. People that were traditional database administrators or storage administrators, we’re training them on how to operate in the cloud environment,” explains Lonergan, my guest this week on the Work in Progress podcast.

The demand for cloud computing jobs is high and they pay well. You can expect a starting salary of more than $97,000, according to the Robert Half Technology’s 2021 Salary Guide. Highly-skilled and experienced workers can make as much as $163,000 a year.

“We currently have instructor-led training courses that go from one-to-five days. We also have a wide portfolio of digital classes—more than 500 on our platform—that people can consume topics from foundational level courses, like cloud practitioner, all the way to AIML learning tracks for deep practitioners in that space,” she says.

AWS is not doing it alone. “We have more than 130 partners around the globe that are delivering both instructor led training and digital training,” she explains. Some of those partners include YearUp, Per Scholas, and Youth Employment Services.

Lonergan stresses that you don’t have to have previous IT experience to learn cloud computing and launch your career, and cites some examples.

“We have this great story about Jarred Gains, who at the beginning of the pandemic was starting at a gym. He’s a physical fitness trainer and that kind of got pushed to the side given what happened. So he went to one of our partners and was put into this 12-week training program and now is working at an IT company in a new role. It’s totally transformed his life.”

AWS’s re/Start program is a combination of foundational level skills combined with the tech—taking someone that has little exposure to tech and positioning them well for a job in the future, says Lonergan.

“Deleyse Rowe was laid off from an entertainment job on a cruise ship last year during the pandemic. She didn’t have any direct cloud or technical skills, but thought working in tech would be really fun and joined the re/Start program and now is working as an engineer at a tech company as well. We have lots of good examples of people that either lost their job or trying to transition their skills through that program,” adds Lonergan.

You can learn more about all the Amazon Web Services training and certification programs online and in the full podcast. Listen here on this page, or download and listen wherever you get your podcasts.

Download the transcript for this Work in Progress podcast here.

Episode 183: Maureen Lonergan, director of training and certification, Amazon Web Services
Host: Ramona Schindelheim, editor-in-chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Executive Producers: Joan LynchMelissa Panzer, and Ramona Schindelheim
Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4.0.

You can check out all the other podcasts at this link: Work in Progress podcasts