As cloud technologies continue to help organisations transform at a rapid pace, employees with the necessary cloud skills are in high demand. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is working with South African education institutions to produce the next generation of cloud professionals through its AWS Academy programme.

AWS Academy provides higher education institutions with a free, ready-to-teach cloud computing curriculum that prepares students to pursue industry-recognised certifications and in-demand cloud jobs.

The curriculum helps educators stay at the forefront of AWS Cloud innovation so that they can equip students with the skills they need to get hired in one of the fastest-growing industries.

AWS Educate is used in more than 200 countries and territories. It connects 2 400 institutions, more than 10 000 educators, and hundreds of thousands of students, providing them access to content and programmes developed to skill-up for cloud careers in growing fields.

Collaboration with local tertiary education institutions

The Durban University of Technology (DUT) offers an AWS Academy cloud course that enables students to develop a range of cloud computing skills. In addition to AWS Academy lectures, DUT students also receive practical training, using a variety of learning methods including interactive, hands-on-labs.

Dr Progress Mtshali, CIO at DUT, says that the courses definitely give DUT students an advantage. “There is a severe shortage of cloud practitioners in our country. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more evident that cloud skills are key to keeping our economy going as more and more people work from home.”

By working with AWS Academy, DUT is now able to address that shortage with a more enhanced and relevant curriculum for today’s labour market.

Steve Muland, an alumni student from DUT, notes that the AWS Academy programme gave him exposure to real-world training that has assisted him in his career. “AWS has given me a competitive advantage in terms of employment. Cloud computing skills are becoming more and more crucial to many industries, so having to experiment with services offered by the biggest cloud computing service provider was key to my success.”

What stood out for Muland was the fact that the lab sessions allowed him to work with in the AWS Cloud, enabling him to advance his technical skills and AWS expertise. “It was the real services that were made available to us and not some sort of virtual environment; therefore, the exercises done during the lab sessions gave us a clear understanding of the cloud services capability offered by AWS.

“Some skills I learned include virtual server configuration and launching with Amazon EC2, database deployment skills with Amazon RDS and system and application deployment skills with Amazon Elastic Beanstalk,” adds Muland.

DUT is currently delivering the course AWS Academy Cloud Foundations to students, an introductory course providing a detailed overview of cloud concepts, AWS core services, security, architecture, pricing, and support.

It contains 20 hours of course content and prepares students to pursue an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification. AWS Academy offers higher education institutions several courses on topics ranging from foundational cloud concepts to architecting, developing, operations, and data analysis on AWS.

The future in good hands

In a world that is rapidly evolving, AWS Academy’s approach has been wholeheartedly embraced by educational institutions and eager learners. The investment in education and skills development empowers the South African youth to be at the forefront of the technological revolution.

Ultimately, the AWS Academy programme provides the necessary skills and insights for students to seize the many new opportunities that lie ahead, and play a meaningful role in the economies of the future.