AWS Training and Certification Blog

Unleash cloud innovation with the power of entry-level talent

As our world is increasingly shaped by cloud technology, the need for cloud skills has never been more evident. Cloud computing is empowering organizations to move faster, improve efficiency, and achieve groundbreaking innovations. But to harness the full potential of the cloud, companies need the right talent to make it happen.

A recent study by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) revealed the current state of cloud talent acquisition, the dynamics of hiring practices, and the emerging strategies to bridge the skills gap. This research reinforces the value of creating experience diversity in your cloud workforce by having a healthy mix of entry-level talent to work alongside more tenured cloud professionals. To put it simply, entry-level cloud talent is helping organizations thrive, generate more innovation revenue from cloud technologies, lower their IT-related costs, and improve their agility.

Companies need cloud talent—but it’s difficult to find

I’m a 15-year Amazonian, and over my time as a solutions architect, then leading our global AWS Education Programs, and now heading AWS Cloud Institute, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of cloud technology across various industries. This impact is powered by skilled individuals and the demand from our customers and partners grows higher every year. According to the ESG study, job opportunities in the field of cloud computing are predicted to grow by 15% from 2021 to 2031. What’s more, 20% of companies are planning to double their cloud head count over the next 24 months. That’s a promising outlook for professional cloud builders at every level.

However, 57% of companies are finding it harder to hire experienced cloud professionals compared to 12 months ago. Additionally, 53% of organizations find it challenging to retain expert-level talent. This growing skills gap is leading to project delays, increased workload and stress among teams, and an inability to fully capitalize on the benefits of the cloud.

Entry-level cloud talent sets organizations up for success

At AWS, we advocate for and build programs that help customers and partners adopt an approach to cloud talent management that hires and nurtures entry-level talent alongside experienced cloud professionals. This approach leads to remarkable outcomes. We’re in a tight labor market for cloud builders, and organizations are facing challenges with recruiting and retaining senior-level cloud talent. To address the skills gap, we believe organizations can find success by diversifying their talent pool by bringing on entry-level hires.

Increase your revenue and return on investment

What most leaders want to know is how this approach benefits the bottom line. According to the leaders EGS surveyed, 90% reported a positive return on their investment in hiring entry-level cloud talent, and 91% found that entry-level hires reach time to value in about half the time as expert-level hires. Take Tata Consulting Services (TCS) and Deloitte as examples.

TCS didn’t have enough skilled talent to keep up with the rapid growth of its AWS Cloud business. They found the solution by working with AWS to connect to and hire recent graduates of AWS Academy member institutions. AWS Academy curriculum, delivered by higher education institutions globally, comprises AWS skills training and opportunities for students to earn one or more AWS Certifications. The new, entry-level hires have quickly added value to TCS’ AWS Cloud business, according to Pallavi Rao, Global Delivery Head at TCS, “Trainees are excited to learn a lot, they like experimenting, and they deliver value to our clients. Entry-level candidates who have AWS Training and Certifications through AWS Academy quickly contribute to growth areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics,” he remarked.

Professional services provider, Deloitte, needed a way to identify, hire, and train cloud-skilled talent at scale to meet growing market demands. Deloitte knew it wanted to invest in early-career talent, and enlisted AWS to train the new hires for faster project deployment. As a result, Deloitte and AWS collaborated to hire and train 55 early-career hires, and deploy them onto critical cloud projects in just three weeks. The business impacts of the initiative have been substantial. When Deloitte was hiring candidates one by one, it took three months to train each new hire. With this new approach, Deloitte cut time to productivity for new hires by 50% and new hires are staying with Deloitte 1.5 times longer than the average employee. “We are happy about the output of the program, both in terms of the number of people we hired and the quality of their work,” said Juan Ignacio Codoñer, director of Cloud and System Engineering, Deloitte Spain.

Adaptable and willing to take on tactical assignments, freeing up senior staff for strategic work

It’s not just the skills they come into your organization with, but their eagerness to learn that makes entry-level hires so attractive and valuable. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and generative AI are among the top areas in which employers want workers to possess skills. According to Access Partnership, more than 80% of younger employees eager to learn AI skills. AWS Partner, Firemind, has capitalized on this trend and leveraged entry-level talent to keep pace with the rapid growth of its generative AI business.

When speaking to the benefits of hiring entry-level talent, Charlie Hudson, managing director, shares: “You get really innovative minds willing to challenge the status quo. Having a fresh pair of eyes to look over something, especially when we’re on the bleeding edge of technology, it absolutely adds a string to our bow.” By embracing the power of entry-level talent in its approach to talent management, Firemind is swiftly unlocking the full potential of cloud and generative AI, igniting a surge of innovative projects, thus positioning itself at the forefront of industry evolution and prosperity.

Additionally, as a leader, you want to ensure your mid- and senior-level employees have the ability to take on your most complex business challenges. Your organization’s growth depends on it. By hiring cloud professionals with a varied experience levels, your entry-level talent takes care of the more tactical and entry-level appropriate work, freeing up senior employees to focus on high-value, strategic work. This arrangement can help enhance overall efficiency and job satisfaction among senior staff, thereby increasing retention, while providing meaningful professional development opportunities to less experienced personnel.­

Four colleagues brainstorming ideas on a whiteboard.

Training and upskilling are key to building the future cloud workforce

Recruiting entry-level talent is an investment in the future—and a strategic way forward when experienced cloud talent continues to be scarce. It’s why more and more AWS customers and partners are finding value in this approach to cloud talent management. They know when they hire AWS-trained and certified individuals, they will see impactful contributions on day one. Through a variety of self-paced, hands-on, and real-world scenario-based programs we are equipping the builders of tomorrow with comprehensive skills and expertise, including in the hottest industry topics, like generative AI. AWS Cloud Institute is just one example of how we help bridge the cloud skills gap by preparing learners to join the tech workforce—regardless of their technical background.

The need for skilled cloud professionals has never been greater. Hiring and investing in entry-level talent alongside more tenured cloud experts ensures your organization has the talent it needs to achieve its most important cloud goals.

About AWS Cloud Institute

Built by AWS experts, AWS Cloud Institute is a structured program that includes hands-on, real-world training to help prepare learners to begin an in-demand career in a variety of cloud developer roles. The program includes 12 self-paced, digital training courses and a wealth of interactive educational resources—from hands-on, game-based learning to building applications through capstone projects. Learners also have the option to learn directly from AWS instructors during live sessions or watch the content on-demand as their schedule allows. The curriculum includes more than 100 interactive labs, two capstone projects, and the creation of a portfolio illustrating the learner’s technical knowledge and capabilities for potential employers. Read more about the program here.