AWS Cloud Enterprise Strategy Blog

Getting Started with Training for the Cloud

Enterprise executives contemplating a move to the cloud sometimes worry that their current employees will not be up to the job. After all, the cloud involves a rather different set of practices and technologies, and making the most of the cloud through DevOps, infrastructure as code, automated security and compliance guardrails, and so on requires a very different mindset and different techniques. Looking at the enterprise’s current employees, the executive may conclude that these skills are lacking.

Well, of course they are! Current employees are unlikely to have cloud skills simply because the company has selected and trained them to support the company’s earlier, non-cloud technical needs! Working at this company, they most likely haven’t had a chance to work in the cloud, let alone demonstrate proficiency. But as Stephen Orban says in his blog post “You Already Have the People You Need to Succeed in the Cloud,” those employees already have invaluable knowledge about the company, its products, and its customers. Furthermore, Orban says, “I’ve yet to come across a use case where someone with the appropriate skills and a can-do attitude couldn’t find a place for themselves in the cloud.” The fact is that technology employees tend to be fast, flexible, eager learners.

The real question is how to take advantage of their wealth of knowledge as company insiders by helping them leverage their existing technical skills to learn the critical new ones.

In this post, Sara Snedeker of Amazon Web Services (AWS) Training and Certification describes the many training options available for your employees from AWS. Among these is a new series of free digital training courses that enterprises can use to start building that base of knowledge among their employees.

In a future post I will discuss some strategies that businesses can use to spread ideas and practices once a critical mass of employees has attained proficiency.

— Mark

Educate Your Staff to Get the Most Out of the Cloud

By Sara Snedeker, AWS Training and Certification

There is a growing skills gap in the IT marketplace. The 2017 Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report shows that 68% of IT decision makers reported a gap between their team’s skill levels and the knowledge required to achieve organizational objectives. That’s a 127% increase over the 2016 reported gap.

Organizations looking to migrate to and take advantage of the cloud to meet their business goals need employees with cloud skills on their team.

How to Address the Skills Gap

Given the skills gap, it can be expensive and time consuming to recruit and hire new employees to fill cloud-related roles. In any case, most businesses already have the staff and support they need to transition from traditional IT to the cloud, but they need to help those employees learn to apply the fundamental IT skills and institutional knowledge they already have to new cloud roles. Training can help you build internal buy-in, get your staff speaking the same language, and help your teams accomplish business objectives more efficiently.

Whether you are just getting started with cloud or looking into a cloud-first strategy, educating your staff should be part of your plan in 2018.

An IDC whitepaper, “Train to Accelerate Your Cloud Strategy,” demonstrates that training enables organizations to accelerate cloud adoption, achieve business objectives sooner, and overcome concerns related to cloud adoption. The research shows that comprehensively trained organizations are 80% faster to adopt cloud, 2.7 times more likely to realize that the cloud can help jump-start innovation, 3.8 times more likely to meet cloud ROI requirements, and 4.4 times more likely to overcome operational and performance concerns.

Training can also help you save time and money. Not only will you be able to avoid hiring new staff to fill cloud-related roles, but your employee retention may improve. Research from Global Knowledge shows that training is positively associated with job security and satisfaction. Trained individuals are more likely to report feeling fully satisfied and more secure in their jobs.

Leverage AWS Training to Educate Your Organization

AWS Training can help your organization build cloud skills with a range of training topics, modalities, and class levels.

We recently released over 100 free digital training courses at These free courses are a great place for your employees to start their education. Digital courses are generally ten minutes long and are designed to help individuals build foundational knowledge for dozens of AWS services and solutions. You can encourage your team to take Cloud Practitioner Essentials, for example, for an overview of cloud concepts and AWS services, security, architecture, pricing, and support. You can also search our catalogfor digital training on the newest AWS services, such as Introduction to Amazon GuardDuty.

Foundational training can provide value across your organization, not just for IT professionals. The leaders IDC interviewed all agreed that organizations should establish a training program that includes cloud fundamentals training for a wide range of stakeholders:

· Vincent Perfetti, VP, Product Strategy and Customer Engagement at GE Digital recommends, “Train as many people as possible on cloud basics.”

§ Matt P., Deputy Chief Information Security Officer of the CIA suggests, “Everyone should get at least 30 minutes of familiarity training to learn the vocabulary of cloud.”

§ Moritz Onken of Siemens Healthcare suggests, “Train C-level IT leaders and their direct reports. The CIO needs to reinvent his/her team.”

§ Peter Loeffler, Head of Innovation and Industry Affairs at Siemens Building Technologies, believes, “It’s important to have everyone speaking the same language — not just the direct [cloud] team but also their managers and executives.”

If you are looking to go beyond the fundamentals, we also offer classroom training, which provides one to three days of intensive training with an AWS instructor. If you are interested in classroom training, we can work directly with your organization on an education strategy. We evaluate your needs and build a customized learning path so your team can learn the skills they need to accomplish your specific business goals.

Our private onsite training gives your team the opportunity to learn from an instructor who comes directly to your location and who is familiar with your AWS use cases. We also offer virtual classroom training for private engagements. This option gives you more flexibility, reduces travel expenses, and allows you to more easily strengthen teams’ skills across the globe.

Contact the AWS Training team to learn more about private training, or search for a public class near you at

Next Steps

Any cloud initiative should include an education strategy to help guide your organization through the change. One good first step is to identify a leader on your team to spearhead your training efforts.

Ultimately, your goal should be to cultivate a culture of continuous learning so you can develop experts on your team to help you as your business evolves, as new staff joins, and as the industry continues to innovate.

Mark Schwartz

Mark Schwartz

Mark Schwartz is an Enterprise Strategist at Amazon Web Services and the author of The Art of Business Value and A Seat at the Table: IT Leadership in the Age of Agility. Before joining AWS he was the CIO of US Citizenship and Immigration Service (part of the Department of Homeland Security), CIO of Intrax, and CEO of Auctiva. He has an MBA from Wharton, a BS in Computer Science from Yale, and an MA in Philosophy from Yale.