Back to school: Amazon announces AWS Educate to boost cloud learning

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Amazon Web Services is hoping to entice more students to take up cloud computing, with the launch of a new program called “AWS Educate” that’s totally free for all approved educators, institutions and students.

The program allows educators and students to apply for credits for a range of AWS service skills, such as Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute, CloudFront, DynamoDB, Elastic MapReduce, Glacier, Redshift, Relational Database Service and Simple Storage Service. The company adds that additional credits will also be awarded to educators and students affiliated with member institutions. Furthermore, AWS Educate also allows access to AWS Essentials courses, collaboration forums, self-placed labs for educators, and a range of AWS materials and educational content like instructional videos, webinars and lectures, and customer case studies.

“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 firsthand in the classroom,” Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, AWS, said in a statement. “We’re pleased to offer AWS Educate to educators, students and educational institutions around the world.”

The launch of AWS Educate comes just weeks after cloud skills, especially AWS skills and certifications, were said to be in growing demand, according to a new IT Skills & Salary Report. AWS also announced a new cloud security certification program last April, and cloud adoption was said to be outpacing skills growth as far back as 2013, when Rackspace launched its Open Cloud Academy.

Some educational institutions have responded to this by introducing cloud learning in their classrooms, and AWS is clearly hoping to further the adoption of cloud in school curriculum’s with its new program.

“Three years ago, I began incorporating AWS services into my cloud computing courses,” said Dr. Majd Sakr, computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. “The cloud resources AWS provided me has allowed me to really challenge my students to develop real-world solutions to problems they might face in their careers. One such project involves giving students 1.2 terabytes of Twitter data and asking them to compete against other students by building a tweet query web service that meets correctness, budget and throughput requirements.”

Of course, AWS is hoping its generosity will eventually lead to some positive benefits, including access to a workforce that’s more familiar with its services and will perhaps push for AWS adoption in their work environments, and of course a much more “cloud-savvy” talent pool to recruit new employees from.

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