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Don’t Look Now, AWS is in Your High School

Don’t Look Now, AWS is in Your High School

By David Linthicum for Nelson Hilliard

AWS is expanding AWS Educate to high school students.   Will enterprises benefit from this “get them while they are young” approach?

AWS Educate serves as a path for younger students to understand and get excited about the capabilities of the cloud, namely the AWS cloud.    At AWS’s re:Invent conference in Las Vegas last week, AWS officials announced the company was expanding the cloud initiative to include students ages 14-17.    

The larger issue is not that young people need cloud skills, they certainly do.  However, is this program going to serve those being educated, as well as enterprises that will hire these young people as soon as they turn 18?    

This has been done before.   Remember Apple in the 80s?   They provided elementary schools with free or deeply discounted PCs.   This was such as influence that back in my 20s when I was working on PCs and LANs, I noticed a huge bias from students and teachers around leveraging the Apple branded computers.   As a result of spending millions on this program, I’m sure that Apple made billions in shifting customer loyalty to Apple.  

First, it’s also well known that colleges and Universities are not doing a stellar job of teaching cloud skills, generally speaking.     While there are a great deal of cloud computing courses that are appearing in course catalogs at colleges and universities, a large number are slow to offer courses in the cloud computing field, according to a new report from Clutch, (a research firm).

Clutch identified three main obstacles that may be hindering universities or colleges’ ability to implement a cloud computing course, including The higher cost of resources for cloud computing courses, the fast-paced innovation inherent in the cloud computing field, limited on-campus cloud computing expertise.    I was a college professor for 10 years, and I saw these self-inflicted limitations first hand.   

I suspect that colleges and universities have been slow to react to the need for cloud skills, perhaps a bit difficult to work with considering the bureaucracy of higher education.   AWS is just taking it a step down to the high schools, getting them before they enter college.     

Indeed, if you teach 14-17 year olds some of the better tactical skills around the use of AWS, as well as general skills such as architecture and security, they will be building 18-year-olds that are worth $40 to $60K a year, entry level.    That’s a bit more than I got for cleaning pools and washing dishes at 18 years old.

Should enterprises support this effort, as well as efforts at colleges and universities, along with AWS and I’m sure some other major cloud providers?   Of course.  Even if it means that some students may opt out of college to follow the cloud computing money right out of high school using their hot new AWS skills and certifications.    Those will be fewer student loans to pay off.   

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David S. Linthicum is a managing director and chief cloud strategy officer. David is internationally recognized as the worlds No.1 cloud computing industry expert, pundit and thought-leader.

(Disclosure: David Linthicum’s views in the blogs, video shows and podcasts are his OWN and are NOT financially sponsored by Nelson Hilliard)

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