AWS Training and Certification Blog

Addressing the cloud talent drought alongside AWS with online learning

By Leah Belsky, Chief Enterprise Officer at Coursera 

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds around the world, it is disrupting the nature of jobs and the skills that underpin them. The World Economic Forum predicts that the core skills required to perform most roles will change by more than 42 percent by 2020, meaning that the skills that once fueled industries, companies, and roles will no longer suffice. To help individuals prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, Coursera offers accessible, hands-on credentials from more than 30 industry leaders at the forefront of this fast-changing jobs landscape.

Demand for cloud computing and e-commerce remains as strong as ever, as remote workers turn enmasse to cloud-based tools from tech industry leaders. One major way we at Coursera are tackling the increasing gaps in technical talent is through industry collaboration, like the work we’re doing with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to address the cloud skills shortage.

Building talent to enable cloud industry expansion 

AWS is the world’s leading provider of cloud solutions, holding over a third of the market share. That ubiquity has led to an abundance of high-paying tech jobs for IT professionals versed in AWS, with demand only predicted to continue climbing. The challenge, however, is that the cloud, as with other digital sectors, is rapidly evolving. What used to be a two-year product release schedule is now more like a two-week schedule, with talent struggling to keep up.

The shift to the cloud – and the corresponding lack of skilled cloud professionals to service it – will continue to affect organizations of all sizes and sectors, including those outside of the traditional tech world. In fact, 86 percent of IT leaders think a shortage of cloud talent will slow down cloud projects in 2020. From cybersecurity to compliance and database management, cloud skills have swiftly become a critical component of running any business in the 21st Century. To take advantage of this market opportunity, both employees and employers will need to make cloud-focused upskilling and reskilling a priority.

The value of industry-recognized credentials

In collaboration with AWS, we’ve been able to make cloud skills more accessible through online learning to those interested in entering or moving up in this high-growth field. This means providing in-demand skills that cover a variety of critical cloud topics, including migrating to the cloud and building serverless apps, to name a few. Since 2018, AWS content on Coursera has already connected over 100,000 learners with career-relevant cloud training.

By keeping pace with the latest industry tools and trends, Coursera has become a go-to destination for IT workers looking to stay ahead of the cloud curve and remain professionally viable in the future via industry-recognized credentials. We’ve seen that hiring managers, and even higher-ups, value these types of credentials for several reasons. Firstly, they clearly show an employee’s baseline knowledge, laying out what they can contribute to the team from day one. Secondly, they often mean an employee can communicate with team members using a common, industry language. With even just a standard knowledge base and set of terminology, teams are consistently more efficient, better at troubleshooting, and benefit the organization more overall.

Cloud talent built from within 

Enterprises around the world are in desperate need of cloud skills to keep pace with the digital transformation affecting business. By developing a corporate learning program, organizations can train an existing employee for as little as one-sixth the cost of hiring an external candidate. A learning and development (L&D) program targeted at cloud-focused employees could mean anything from individually taking one AWS course a quarter to organizing lunchtime study groups for specific topics or courses. For a sweeping IT infrastructure initiative—like creating a company-wide cloud strategy from scratch—these kinds of L&D programs can lead to major savings and increased overall organizational efficiency. From an employer brand perspective, establishing a culture of learning within your organization boosts worker satisfaction and retention while helping attract top talent moving forward.

As companies commit to increasingly complex cloud strategies, upskilling current employees will retain invaluable historical context and long-term cross functional rapport that an external hire cannot offer. While training results in major savings and benefits for companies down the line, it also takes time. In order to prepare for imminent, large-scale cloud solutions, organizations will need to begin training employees immediately.

The future of cloud talent 

As both individual employees and companies navigate the cloud skills drought, more role-based training from AWS will be added to the Coursera platform. Just last month, AWS launched a new Specialization on Coursera: the AWS Fundamentals Specialization, which outlines the core AWS skills and concepts needed to begin working with AWS and get AWS Certified.

Looking into the next decade and beyond, reskilling and upskilling will become the norm across industries as digital transformation increasingly changes the way we work. We’re excited to continue collaborating with leading industry educators like AWS to provide career-relevant learning content to help learners and enterprises everywhere face this evolving skills landscape.