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EPAM Builds Client Confidence Using AWS Training and Certification Initiative

2021

As an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Advanced Consulting Partner, EPAM Systems Inc. (EPAM) works with clients to design, migrate, build, and support sophisticated cloud applications on AWS. To strengthen its strategy, EPAM invested in AWS Training and Certification for its global workforce of engineers. AWS requires that EPAM’s engineers achieve Professional-level certification before joining the AWS Well-Architected Partner Program, which enables firms to establish good architectural habits, reduce risk, and respond faster to changes that affect designs, applications, and workloads. Certifying its engineers would not only exhibit EPAM’s high-level expertise on AWS solutions but also help EPAM establish itself as a key industry figure.

In 2020, EPAM implemented an AWS Training and Certification upskilling initiative in eastern Europe, the United States, and China. More than 600 engineers and architects participated in a private virtual training program designed and delivered by AWS experts, concluding in less than 6 months. During that time, 300 engineers at EPAM obtained Professional-level AWS Certification and 200 obtained Associate-level AWS Certification. The company now has nearly 1,000 AWS Certified engineers, with 450 additional certifications in progress as of February 2021. As a result of the AWS Training and Certification initiative, EPAM can provide a more agile and proficient service while increasing client trust and confidence.

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It is of strategic importance that we provide state-of-the-art cloud solutions to our clients, and using AWS is key to helping us do that.”

Dmitry Tikhomirov
Vice President and Cohead of Cloud and DevTestSecOps, EPAM

Integrating Continuing Education into EPAM’s Strategy

Since 1993, EPAM has used its software engineering expertise to become a global product development, digital solution engineering, and digital and product design agency, serving clients in more than 35 countries across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. “We are proud of our ‘engineering DNA,’ our strategic business and innovation consulting, and our design capabilities. We welcome collaboration with our clients to deliver next-generation solutions,” says Dmitry Tikhomirov, vice president and cohead of cloud and DevTestSecOps at EPAM. Every year since 2013, EPAM has appeared on the annual Forbes Fast Tech 25 list, which ranks the 25 fastest-growing technology companies, and ranked as the top IT services company on Fortune’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies list in 2019 and 2020.

EPAM has been an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner since 2013. “We wanted to provide the best solutions for our clients by solving their biggest business challenges in the cloud. AWS was a natural choice for us,” says Tikhomirov. Joining the AWS Partner Network expanded EPAM’s business offerings by enabling the company to train clients on cloud deployments on AWS. It could also help implement and manage those deployments. By 2018, EPAM had over 2,000 engineers working on AWS solutions with clients as well as 90 business and technical accreditations from AWS.

Until early 2020, EPAM had been training engineers using an intensive internal education program. But as the industry changed, certifications were in higher demand. As a result, EPAM moved in a direction that would showcase the skills of its engineers and the business as a whole. “We created a plan to upskill our engineers and exhibit their expertise using Associate- and Professional-level AWS Certification,” says Tikhomirov. “Though we weren’t facing challenges in meeting our clients’ needs, we knew it would be important to demonstrate our technical prowess through certification.”

EPAM is also a customer of AWS Enterprise Support, a concierge-like service that helps companies find success in the cloud. In 2020, more than 400 EPAM engineers participated in AWS Immersion Days and workshops delivered by AWS Solutions Architects and Technical Account Managers. The tech enablement sessions, delivered in the scope of AWS Enterprise Support, followed a custom agenda to meet EPAM engineers’ field requirements. Deep dive sessions and hands-on exercises covered popular topics such as container services, cost optimization, and data engineering.

Building Greater Trust with Clients through Certification

Before launching the AWS Training and Certification initiative in 2020, EPAM consulted AWS Training leaders to design an upskilling program that would best suit its needs. The company needed a solution that would enable its engineers to attend training sessions without interrupting service. “We needed our engineers, who were engaged in production activities, to take part in AWS Training and Certification,” says Tikhomirov. “AWS was flexible in designing its education deliverables for us. Using the tailored private training sessions and digital training modules that our engineers received from AWS helped the initiative find overall success.”

Designing the program for EPAM marked the first time that AWS Training leaders adapted AWS Training and Certification materials to suit a company’s unique needs. Program participants took several courses required for Professional-level certification, such as Architecting on AWS, which covers the fundamentals of building IT infrastructure on AWS, and DevOps Engineering on AWS, which teaches teams how to use DevOps practices and tools to increase their ability to develop, deliver, and maintain applications and services at high velocity on AWS. They also completed certification exams, such as AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional. This certification validates abilities such as designing and deploying dynamically scalable, highly available, fault-tolerant, and reliable applications on AWS; migrating complex, multitier applications on AWS; and implementing cost-control strategies. A high level of participation in the program resulted in a 75 percent pass rate on the exam.

To conduct AWS Well-Architected Reviews, which help developers review the state of their workloads and compare them to the latest AWS architectural best practices, AWS requires that EPAM’s engineers pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional exam. Hence EPAM can train clients on AWS solutions as a trusted, accredited AWS Partner, and clients can feel confident that its services follow the high standards and best practices of AWS. The training improved the performance of EPAM’s engineers, who are able to provide more value to clients with fast, efficient, thorough, and insightful services. For example, a client needed to accelerate the development cycle of a cloud solution instrumental to maintaining compliance. EPAM engineers executed a review using best practices from the AWS Well-Architected Framework—which describes the key concepts, design principles, and architectural best practices for designing and running workloads in the cloud—saving the client weeks of effort and helping it meet the deadline.

Moving Forward with an Accredited Workforce

Looking ahead, EPAM plans to expand its AWS Training and Certification efforts, doubling the number of certified engineers in 2022 to 3,500 by the end of 2023. “We are very pleased with the results of this training initiative,” says Tikhomirov.
 
EPAM delivers a service that meets the rigorous quality standards and best practices of AWS—and having invested in AWS accreditation for its workforce, it can deliver. “It is of strategic importance that we provide state-of-the-art cloud solutions to our clients, and using AWS is key to helping us do that,” Tikhomirov says.

About EPAM Systems Inc.

EPAM Systems Inc. is a global agency for product development, digital solution engineering, and digital product design. Founded in 1993, EPAM’s global teams include over 41,000 employees and serve clients in more than 35 countries.

Benefits of AWS

  • Certified 500 engineers in 6 months
  • Certified nearly 1,000 engineers in less than 1 year
  • Expanded the knowledge base of its engineers
  • Improved the service performance of its engineers
  • Increased the trust and confidence of clients through industry-recognized accreditation

AWS Services Used

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

Validate your technical skills and expertise with an industry-recognized credential and grow your career. The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional exam is intended for individuals who perform a solutions architect role with two or more years of hands-on experience managing and operating systems on AWS.

Learn more »

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional

Validate your technical skills and expertise with an industry-recognized credential and grow your career. The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional exam is intended for individuals who perform a DevOps engineer role with two or more years of experience provisioning, operating, and managing AWS environments.

Learn more »

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Validate your technical skills and expertise with an industry-recognized credential and grow your career. The AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate examination is intended for individuals who perform a solutions architect role and have one or more years of hands-on experience designing available, cost-efficient, fault-tolerant, and scalable distributed systems on AWS.

Learn more »

AWS Certified Developer - Associate

Validate your technical skills and expertise with an industry-recognized credential and grow your career. The AWS Certified Developer - Associate examination is intended for individuals who perform a development role and have one or more years of hands-on experience developing and maintaining an AWS-based application.

Learn more »


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