Elements of Amazon's Day 1 Culture

Prioritize your Employees' Skills to Drive Business Growth

Article | 10 min read

by Maureen Lonergan
VP, AWS Training and Certification

Everyone has felt the pinch of the economic slowdown in 2023, hindering growth plans and tightening budgets across the board. For agile, adaptive organizations, growth and innovation can continue. One constant is the ongoing evolution of technology, innovation, and growth of cloud computing. More and more organizations see how cloud can accelerate their operations, competitive agility, and ability to innovate—and despite the economic headwinds, organizations with their sights set on cloud will see the correlation to investing in their people brings business resilience and forward momentum.

A recent study from Forrester Research found that organizations that invest in AWS Training and Certification to train their people in cloud skills achieve a 100% return on their investment (ROI) within six months, and 234% ROI over three years. And organizations that have a workforce with advanced digital skills are generating innovations (or products and services) that raise the annual global gross domestic product (GDP) by an estimated $6.3T by boosting the income and productivity of workers. As we work with customers to navigate the current climate, we’re seeing some strong signals of how cloud skills training will benefit any organization.

1. IT investments and the skills you’ll need

Thin orange line

If your organization has already made the move to cloud, or you’re thinking about it, you may be experiencing the effects of the shortage of talent with advanced cloud skills. There are five million cloud jobs unfilled, and cloud computing roles top the list of most challenging-to-fill positions. So, if you are looking for cloud talent, the best strategy is to focus on building the skills of your current workforce. According to Skillsoft’s IT Skills and Salary Survey 2022, cloud computing tops the list of investments, followed by cybersecurity/information security, AI/ML, infrastructure and systems, and data analytics/data management/data science. These mirror the staff training that decision makers are prioritizing: security, data analytics, developer tools, and dev ops. Your organization’s technology investments likely look similar. If so, take a closer look at your current staff’s skill set across these areas and ensure you have a training plan to meet your goals this year.

AWS training and certification

2. Digital training helps close your skills gaps in lieu of hiring

Thin orange line

If training isn’t already in your operating plan for 2023, ask yourself if you can afford for it not to given the global cloud talent shortage. You may already be experiencing skills gaps to move ahead with your cloud priorities this year. Look no further than AWS Skill Builder. With 600+ digital trainings spanning 30+ AWS services, interactive labs, and certification preparation courses, your teams can build the skills your business strategies need. The alternative could be a longer waiting period to hire external talent, resulting in delays to delivering innovations, operational inefficiencies, and staff frustration.

Indian female sitting by laptop wearing headphones getting education online

For Techcombank, which serves more than 5.4 million customers in Vietnam with its banking services, migrating to AWS was the key to meeting customer demand for digital products. The company realized it needed to invest in its existing teams’ skills and change the culture of its entire organization to embrace cloud. With a focus on continuous learning, more than 2800 Techcombank employees have consumed 4,000+ digital trainings in AWS Skill Builder and 105 classroom courses. By closing its skills gaps, provisioning time is reduced from more than one month, down to five days, helping the company roll out more frequent application updates and product prototypes to get to market faster.


People are aware that when they join our company, their learning and development is a priority."

—Tuan Nguyen, Chief Information Officer, Techcombank

3. Lean into early career talent to future-proof your organization

Thin orange line

With advanced cloud talent driving salaries ever higher, another approach is recruit early-career talent. These individuals come armed with basic cloud skills and often industry certifications, and are ready to take on technical support, troubleshooting, QA, testing, and remediation work. Starting new hires out with these types of tasks helps them gain mastery of the overall tech stack, sets them up to progress in their careers, and before long, they are ready to take on more complex and challenging work over time. Early-career talent are motivated to learn, easy to upskill, and achieve “time to value” in about half the time as an expert-level hire. Simply put, early career talent can help you innovate and increase revenue enabled by cloud, and retain tenured talent.

AWS Partner, Cloudreach, is experienced in turning conventional technologists into cloud specialists. But as demand for their services has grown with record numbers of companies moving to cloud, they needed a new approach to growing their pool of technologists. They created the Cloudreach Talent Academy to take people with little to no technical background and, within two years, transform them into fully fledged cloud developers.  


We recognized that by widening our talent pool we not only tackled the talent crisis, but continued to live by our values of creating an environment that nurtures talent. Our people are our product. Diverse teams mean more diverse and better solutions for our customers."

—Poonam Flammarion, Head of Talent Academy, Cloudreach

4. Employees and leaders alike value integrated learning solutions

Thin orange line
Before 2020, the majority of live training was delivered in person. But as the world of work changed, so too has the delivery of virtual training, with sophisticated approaches heightening the learning experience in virtual and remote environments. Learners and decision makers alike agree that the virtual instructor-led training (VILT) format is extremely effective, increases knowledge retention, and is more budget-friendly, eliminating travel costs. Given this, VILT will increase in availability and consumption in the next 12-24 months.

For multinational cybersecurity company and AWS Partner, Fortinet, it was imperative to find a scalable way to educate its global salesforce on AWS to keep up with business development opportunities. Working with AWS Partner Training and Certification to design virtual delivery of standard classroom trainings, 500 of Fortinet’s salespeople voluntarily participated in the program, resulting in a more thorough understanding of customers’ needs and 83% more sales opportunities.


AWS Training and Certification helped us better understand the different storage capabilities, compute capabilities, and overall breadth of the AWS portfolio. It was an eye-opening experience.”

—Stephen Clark, Cloud Security Sales Director, Fortinet

5. Certifications continue to add value to the organization

Thin orange line

Industry certifications can help you distinguish high caliber talent, and in 2023, we’ve seen more organizations invest in building their bench strength by investing in certified staff. If you’re serious about cloud, certified staff put your organization in a better competitive position to succeed. Whether your organization plans to, or already pays employees’ exam fees to help them get certified, you’ll see a boost to your organization’s productivity, innovation potential, and employee retention by doing so.

Sky is a media and telecommunications conglomerate (division of Comcast) with more than 32,000 employees across the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. Sky wanted to benefit from the scalability and elasticity of AWS but realized that some of its teams were lacking the necessary AWS skills. So, they chose certification courses to drive employee commitment to training and to help employees perform with more proficiency and confidence. And it worked. Employees were motivated to consume AWS free digital training, resulting in 94% of employees passing their AWS Certification exam. Due to the initial success, Sky now runs the certification preparation training twice a year for cohorts of 75-100 employees.  


As our workforce becomes more mature in cloud solutions, our output and deliverables become more effective. This is one aspect of AWS Certification that benefits both the individual and the organization."

—Mark Niven, Lead Cloud Architect, Sky Group Ltd.

6. Training non-tech employees

Thin orange line

With the growth of cloud no longer isolated to the IT department, leaders are increasingly building cloud fluency across their organization, from finance, to sales, human resources, marketing, and even administrative staff.

Volkswagen, for example, invested in strengthening its employees’ cloud knowledge and skills using a cloud-centric framework. This resulted in reduced time to market and improved cross-team collaboration.

Diverse Team of Managers Working and Having Discussions in Modern Big City Office. Colleagues Work on New Business Opportunities, Management Board Having a Meeting, Talking About Investing in Future.

AWS Training and Certification helped us transform as a company by defining a path where business and IT came closer together and everyone understood the need to provide better and faster solutions for our customers."

—Stefan Klünker, Global Product Owner, Volkswagen Financial Services

About the author

Maureen Lonergan, Vice President of Training and Certification, AWS

Mauren Lonergan is Vice President of Training and Certification for Amazon Web Services (AWS), where she leads a global team of builders committed to training the next generation of cloud talent. Maureen helps AWS customers, partners, and employees gain the skills and knowledge to unlock the power of the AWS Cloud in the age of digital transformation. Learn more about AWS Training and Certification.

AWS - Conversations with Leaders

Training and Certification at AWS with Maureen Lonergan, AWS VP of Training and Certification

This conversation between AWS Enterprise Strategist Jake Burns and Maureen Lonergan, AWS VP of Training and Certification, dives into the importance of intentional upskilling of your workforce, providing educational experiences for every type of learning style, and AWS's best practices for training.
Listen now 
Black and blue digital net
Article | 5 min read

AI and ML: Now is the Time to Invest in Skilling Your Workforce

As customers increasingly adopt AI and ML technologies to gain a competitive edge in the digital economy, the need for cloud expertise is on the rise. To address this challenge, customers are investing in training and development programs for their existing employees.
Read more 
AWS - Conversations with Leaders

Learning at the Speed of Cloud: Turning Employees into Entrepreneurs (Part 1)

This session by Enterprise Strategist Phil Le-Brun from AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas highlights patterns and approaches that can help you create the time and momentum to reskill your entire organization so you can capitalize on the potential of the cloud.
Listen now 

No matter where you're at in your cloud journey, if you're making a business bet on cloud, now is the best time to go all-in on your people's skills to take into your future confidently.