AWS Cloud Enterprise Strategy Blog

A Must Have Secret Weapon to Modernize Your Business: Training Your Team on Cloud

The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts. — C.S. Lewis

I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to learn how hundreds of executives from the world’s largest companies are transforming their business using modern technologies and the cloud. Transformational change is not easy — few things in business worth doing are — and, from what I can tell, the biggest resistance to change usually comes from within. People can (naturally) be afraid of what they don’t know. The best way I’ve found to get team members over their fear of the unknown — both as a CIO of Dow Jones and as the Head of Enterprise Strategy for AWS — is to teach them.

This is why I think Maureen Lonergan — my personal friend and AWS’ Head of Training and Certification — has one of the most important jobs on the planet. Maureen and her team are committed to training and educating as many people as possible on all things cloud.

And today, I’m delighted to host a post from Maureen that outlines how you might approach training your teams.


Many large and small enterprises are considering a transition to cloud technology, but wonder how their teams can best leverage the technology for their business. As the Director of Training and Certification at AWS, I believe the best way to get the most out of your cloud investment is to invest in training to help build cloud skills within your organization. Doing so will enable you to leverage the skills of your existing staff, reach your business goals sooner, and feel confident that your organization is getting the most out of the cloud.

This post will look at why training is such an important and valuable step of the cloud journey, and how, specifically, AWS can help you navigate the transition to the cloud and turn your employees into true experts.

You already have the people you need

Last year, Stephen Orban wrote about the importance of educating existing staff about the cloud. He noted that “everyone you need to move forward with the cloud is already there, you just have to enable them.”

Training can help your staff leverage the fundamental IT skills and institutional knowledge they already have to transition to cloud roles. Training current employees saves you time and money since you won’t have to hire new staff to fill cloud-based roles.

Essentially, regardless of your cloud platform, the sooner you evaluate the roles you currently have and the ones you need, then invest in the training to develop your employees, the easier your job becomes.

Training helps you reach your business goals sooner

Training your staff will allow them to better use the cloud so you can accomplish your objectives more efficiently. Cloud training gives your employees the skills they need to innovate faster.

Training is particularly important for organizations undergoing complex migrations. Here are a few key ways training can help accelerate a transition:

  • Training will help your employees understand how to use the cloud. For example, they can learn to efficiently manage, operate, and deploy applications using AWS.
  • Alleviating your teams anxiety by teaching them the unknown can build internal buy-in.
  • Training will give your staff a common language, and allow them to work together more effectively.
  • A trained staff, whether with AWS or another platform, will be able to spot the services and solutions they need much faster, which means you can quickly develop better solutions for your customers.

Validate knowledge with certifications

Encourage staff to get certified so everyone feels confident in the team’s skills. A core group of AWS Certified staff can help lead your organization through the change and implement best practices. Certification can help you identify individuals who are ready to be promoted within your organization.

If you do need more cloud experience within your organization, look for certified candidates so you can fill any remaining holes with confidence.

A tour through AWS Training and Certification

AWS Training and Certification helps build cloud skills to make your transition to the AWS Cloud easier so you can get the most out of your investment, faster.

There are several training options with AWS:

Awareness Days:

Before or during training, you can ask AWS to come to your company and hold an Awareness Day. This is an especially useful resource if you’re having a hard time selling the cloud in your organization or just simply need someone to come in and present a clearer picture of the cloud’s benefits. Awareness Day sessions cover elements like general AWS advantages, how to become an agile organization, and the many ways the cloud will help you innovate. You can contact the AWS Training team to schedule an Awareness Day.

Role-based Training:

AWS offers role-based learning paths for employees in Architecting, Developing or Operations roles. Each path includes training, labs, and certifications that are most relevant for how they will work with AWS. Each path leads to associate and professional certification exams so employees can validate their new skills.

Customized Training:

You can work with AWS on building a customized training strategy, including a step-by-step guide and timeline that lays out who should take what training. This way, your staff will have a clear roadmap to follow. Here is an example of how training can be broken into phases for your organization:

Phase 1: Cloud awareness and essentials training for a very broad range of employees

Phase 2: Role-based foundational training for technical employees and key lines of business

Phase 3: Associate certification for select technical staff with relevant experience

Phase 4: Advanced and specialty training for select technical staff as required

Phase 5: Professional certification for select technical staff with relevant experience

Online Training:

Once your staff knows the basics, they can use free or low-cost labs to get practice using AWS. They can also explore free online course offerings on topics like big data and security. This is a simple, cost-effective way to go about getting your staff the skills they need for your organization’s cloud.


Whether you prefer in-person or online, self-guided or instructor-led, AWS has an option to suit your organization. Training is available across the globe and in eight languages through AWS and the APN Partner Training network. That means training can be delivered in your location using local language and customs.

Beyond knowledge

AWS Training and Certification can help you prepare your staff for your move to the cloud. In the end, training is about more than just building knowledge and awareness. It’s about helping your business accomplish your goals sooner for less. With the right training, you’ll have a cloud-knowledgeable staff to help you leverage the cloud so you can innovate more and get to market faster. AWS works with a network of authorized AWS Training Partners and delivers training across the globe. You can get started building your training strategy by contacting AWS Training and Certification today.

Stephen Orban

Stephen Orban

Stephen is the GM (General Manager) of a new AWS service under development, and author of the book “Ahead in the Cloud: Best Practices for Navigating the Future of Enterprise IT” Stephen spent his first three-and-a-half years with Amazon as the Global Head of Enterprise Strategy, where he oversaw AWS’s enterprise go-to-market strategy, invented and built AWS’s Migration Acceleration Program (MAP), and helped executives from hundreds of the world’s largest companies envision, develop, and mature their IT operating model using the cloud. Stephen authored Ahead in the Cloud so customers might benefit from many of the best practices Stephen observed working with customers in this role. Prior to joining AWS, Stephen was the CIO of Dow Jones, where he introduced modern software development methodologies and reduced costs while implementing a cloud-first strategy. These transformational changes accelerated product development cycles and increased productivity across all lines of business, including The Wall Street Journal,, Dow Jones Newswires, and Factiva. Stephen also spent 11 years at Bloomberg LP, holding a variety of leadership positions across their equity and messaging platforms, before founding Bloomberg Sports in 2008, where he served as CTO. Stephen earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from State University of New York College at Fredonia.