Rackspace Technology developed over 15 technical training programs to help reskill, upskill, and onboard its employees and support its business growth. Founded in 1998, the company provides managed cloud services, including services using Amazon Web Services (AWS). To keep its employees’ skills up to date, Rackspace University (RU), the internal workforce development program of Rackspace Technology, worked with AWS Training and Certification—which provides an opportunity to learn from AWS experts—to create several training programs specifically for training on AWS. Working with AWS Training and Certification, Rackers have gained over 2,400 AWS Certifications, and the company has achieved a double-digit percentage growth in the cloud while prioritizing holistic sustainability and investing in employees.
Opportunity | Changing Technology to Meet Customer Needs by Working with AWS Training and Certification
Rackspace Technology, an AWS Partner, was a pioneer in managed services and has been a managed services provider since 2007. The company embraces a customer-first and cloud-first philosophy. Rackspace Technology found that it shared similar philosophies with AWS. “We joined the AWS Partner Network in 2015 and made a rapid pivot to get the experience and expertise that we’ve built to support AWS services effectively for customers and grow using AWS,” says Srini Koushik, chief technology officer and chief product officer at Rackspace Technology. The company first helped customers migrate infrastructure and workloads to AWS and has since been helping customers modernize their applications and data workloads using AWS services. To provide even better AWS support to customers, Rackspace Technology extended its strategic collaboration agreement with AWS with an additional multiyear joint investment.
In response to changing technology and customer needs, Rackspace Technology needed to keep its employees’ skills up to date with the latest best practices and technologies. RU worked with AWS Partner Training and Certification to create training programs and upskill employees across the company to meet its changing needs. The training programs under RU include the Technical Onboarding Program (TOP), a 90-day training program designed to upskill existing team members and get them delivery ready for cloud roles, and RU AWSome, a joint project from RU and AWS Training and Certification that covers certification drives for new and renewed AWS Certification—which validates technical skills and cloud expertise.
“The biggest value of the AWS training is that we get an evergreen workforce. We invest in our people and keep them relevant in the marketplace as technology is changing. This helps us to build a workforce that is very capable and that can do the right things for our customers.”
Chief Technology Officer and Chief Product Officer, Rackspace Technology
Solution | Providing Technical Enhancement Opportunities to 7,000 Employees and Supporting Sustainability
From May to September 2022, RU ran the RU AWSome program, which was accessible to all the company’s 7,000 employees through self-enrollment, like many of its other training programs. In 100 days, employees at the company achieved 575 AWS Certifications, including AWS Certified Database - Specialty, which validates expertise in recommending, designing, and maintaining optimal AWS database solutions. Other AWS Certifications earned by Rackers included AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional—a credential that organizations use to identify and develop talent with critical skills for implementing cloud initiatives—and AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional, which showcases individuals’ technical expertise in provisioning, operating, and managing distributed application systems on AWS. “I’m very proud of the AWS Certifications that our employees earned in 100 days. It wouldn’t have been possible without AWS Training and Certification,” says Koushik. “This is a really good collaboration that not only helps Rackspace Technology but also helps people around the globe.”
RU’s training programs are built to support sustainability across three areas: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, and equity. The company wants to achieve the benefits of cloud computing while being a good steward of the earth’s resources and contributing to income equality. The company has also worked toward reducing bias in the hiring process by being more inclusive in the way it builds systems. This holistic sustainability means investing in employees and driving a culture of continuous learning. RU developed over 15 programs with AWS Training and Certification to improve its sustainability by focusing on inclusion and diversity. Programs like the Women in Tech Collective—which offers study groups and foundational learning—TOP, and RU AWSome were deliberately created to fill skills gaps within the employee base. “The biggest value of the AWS training is that we get an evergreen workforce,” says Koushik. “We invest in our people and keep them relevant in the marketplace as technology is changing. This helps us to build a workforce that is very capable and that can do the right things for our customers.”
Outcome | Developing Cloud Talent through Community Engagement
RU is dedicated to supporting its business growth by working with AWS Training and Certification. “The two ways that we handle growth are to use automation and cloud-native techniques and to train our workforce in a continual learning process so that it can be more productive,” says Koushik. Since 2019, the company has been experiencing a rapid growth percentage in the high teens in the cloud. Because of quality training, the company didn’t need to grow its workforce at the same rate. And in 2021, because of alignment and training, Rackspace Technology increased AWS sales opportunities by 11 percent.
The benefits of working with AWS Training and Certification are well illustrated by TOP. “Being in TOP means more to me than words can describe,” says Jimmy Moran, Racker at Rackspace Technology. “I was given a chance to expand my knowledge and career path. Rackspace Technology has invested a ton of resources into this program, and I couldn’t be more grateful.” TOP pulls employees off the job to engage in full-time, dedicated learning for 90 days. These 90 days are dedicated to learning new roles, like professional services or elastic engineering. “Being backed by AWS and able to offer everything we do through AWS is a game changer,” says RaChelle Streetman, director of global talent development and head of RU. “We can provide sought-after skills to our employees, which is a massive point when we have recruiting calls or when we talk to some of the top talent out there.”
Global expansion and continued growth and learning are foundational to Rackspace Technology’s plan for the future. The company is currently designing a training program for a community-area school to help younger generations find their place in the technological world of the cloud. In each facet of its training, Rackspace Technology intends to continue working with AWS Training and Certification to pursue growth and sustainability. “There are many areas in which we are working alongside AWS Partner Training and Certification to continue to build a rich and diverse community engagement,” says Streetman. “It’s been invaluable, extremely supportive, and fun.”
About Rackspace Technology
Rackspace Technology was founded in 1998 and is a managed services provider for the cloud. The company was an early pioneer in managed services and now specializes in multicloud solutions for its customers.
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