Why Amazon is opening an in-person cloud skills center to train workers at other companies


The space is designed to present visitors with practical applications of cloud computing – an increasingly popular configuration in which companies’ technical operations are performed in data centers managed by Amazon or other cloud computing companies, rather than in expensive on-premises servers. AWS hopes the center will interest some visitors to the possibility of a career in the industry.
The Skills Center, located on the Amazon headquarters campus in Seattle, Wash., And open to the public on Nov. 22, is the first of its kind for the company. It’s part of a larger commitment to train 29 million people globally in cloud computing by 2025 that AWS made last year.
It’s also one of the first major announcements from new AWS chief executive Adam Selipsky since taking over from Andy Jassy, ​​who was elevated to Amazon CEO when Jeff Bezos left. his post in July.

The Skills Center will “be a free and accessible space for anyone who wants to know more about cloud computing, what it is, what applications are … anything that illustrates the true scale of the cloud, and most importantly, There’s a lot of professional training going here, ”Selipsky told CNN Business in an exclusive interview before the center opened.

“There is a dramatic need for digital skills in general, and cloud skills in particular, and this is part of a very large effort,” he said. “We are going to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to bring this training to tens of millions of people around the world.”

Although the company declined to disclose an exact amount, it is a big investment in free training for people who will mostly become employees of other companies. But this is crucial for AWS ‘business due to a significant talent shortage that threatens to hamper adoption of cloud technology by potential customers.

“I have this conversation with business executives all the time,” said Maureen Lonergan, vice president of AWS Training and Certification. “So we’re working not only to train new people in the cloud, but also to work with customers to transform their traditional IT staff into people who are cloud-savvy. ”

The talent shortage comes as demand for cloud computing has increased during the pandemic. But AWS, long the leader in the cloud industry, faces stiff competition from competitors like Microsoft (MSFT) azure and Google (GOOGLGOOGLE) Cloud, something Selipsky will need to address as the new unit leader.
Although Amazon (AMZN) is best known for e-commerce, its cloud unit has long been its biggest source of money. In the most recent quarter, AWS contributed nearly 56% of the company’s overall net income and now has around $ 64 billion in revenue.

“The cloud is actually one of the most transformative technological changes of our generation,” said Selipsky, who started at AWS at the start of the division and spent 11 years in the business before leaving to lead the company. Tableau data visualization for five years. “I know that sounds like a big statement, but if you think about it, when was the last time you went to rent a DVD or incurred late fees?” Netflix changed all of that to streaming and it’s happening on AWS … No matter what industry you watch, no matter what app you watch, it’s now increasingly only running in data centers. companies build and operate and invest capital in it and stress out, it operates through a place like AWS. ”

At the Skills Center, Amazon plans to invite anyone in the Seattle community – college students, the unemployed, or others looking for a career change – to get a better idea of ​​what cloud computing is and why it is. important; for example, it makes real-time mobile gaming on the Internet possible. From there, visitors interested in career opportunities in the field will have access to free core technology and cloud courses at the center, and can be directed to other AWS training resources. The company hopes tens of thousands of people will visit the center to explore or take classes each year.

As part of Thursday’s announcement, the company also announced that it will add approximately 60 free digital cloud computing training and certification courses to Amazon.com. It is also expanding access to its Re / Start program, a free 12-week training course that prepares people for entry-level cloud computing jobs, from 25 cities in 12 countries in 2020 to more than 95 cities in 38 countries by the end. by 2021. The company plans to open more competence centers around the world starting next year, according to Lonergan.

The company also hopes to reach out to people who have struggled to access tech positions. The Skills Center and training programs are free and aimed at people with no previous technology experience. The company also plans to partner with local workforce development agencies in Seattle to bring people from diverse backgrounds into the facility. This effort could help increase diversity in cloud computing, which, like the tech world as a whole, still favors whites and males. Amazon’s global corporate workforce was nearly 69% male and 47% white in 2020, according to its most recent workforce data report.

“Our customers are so incredibly diverse and who they are, and their use cases and their industries, and the companies they operate in are so diverse, it’s hard to imagine that we could truly deliver what they need. us if we’re not equally diverse, ”Selipsky said.


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