A number of major South African universities now offer cloud computing courses through the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Academy programme.
The skills conferred by AWS Academy courses can then be used to prepare for the official industry-recognised AWS Certification.
AWS has partnered with a number of tertiary institutions, including the University of Johannesburg, Durban University of Technology, and the University of Cape Town.
To find out more, MyBroadband spoke to AWS head of Middle East and Africa Zubin Chagpar about how Amazon Web Services has invested in educating South African students about cloud computing.
Chagpar said the AWS Academy programme offers a provisioned curriculum for higher-education institutions, and participating universities can nominate educators to earn a certification before they teach the course.
“Participating institutions nominate educators to go through course content, meet a teaching requirement, and earn an industry-recognised AWS Certification in preparation to instruct students,” said Chagpar.
“We are delighted to announce that the University of Cape Town’s Information Systems department commenced delivery of the new AWS Academy Cloud Foundations course – aligned to the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification – in late June 2018,” he said.
UCT Professor of Information Systems Jean-Paul van Belle said the university now supplements its own curricula with content from Amazon Web Services where applicable.
Chagpar said the courses run over a semester and that AWS Academy offers flexibility regarding the implementation of courses, supporting the following models:
- Part of a compulsory credit-bearing course.
- Stand-alone course.
- Optional elective.
- Summer/Winter School event.
- Continuing Education/Professional Development.
“At the University of Cape Town, for example, the course is offered in their under-graduate major and as a module in their post-graduate diploma course, which gives an overview of all foundational information technologies supporting contemporary organisational information systems,” said Chagpar.
The AWS Academy programme is open to all accredited South African post-secondary institutions, he added.
“We welcome applications from all accredited South African post-secondary institutions and anticipate many more institutions joining the programme over the following months.”
Existing IT professionals can also take advantage of the AWS Academy programme through vocational training or professional development courses.
Following the completion of the AWS Academy courses, students will have the opportunity to pursue an AWS Certification, which is recognised across the cloud computing industry, said Chagpar.
AWS Academy courses can be implemented in professional development courses or as a post-graduate qualification for professionals with an existing IT degree seeking to expand their qualifications.
“AWS’s investment will create a much-needed local cloud computing skills pipeline that will benefit our business, our partners, our customers, and the South African business landscape,” said Chagpar.
“AWS, as a customer-obsessed company, remains attentive to customer needs. In the case of the AWS Academy, the CSR motivation is echoed by business needs.”
Standard Bank South Africa is one of the businesses backing the project, and its head of software development – Josef Langerman – said the bank is happy the AWS Academy programme has launched in South Africa.
“This programme will provide Standard Bank South Africa with a much-needed pipeline of cloud computing skills, via South African higher-education institutions,” said Langerman.
“Standard Bank has a footprint of 1,200 branches across 20 countries in Africa, and can greatly benefit from moving to the cloud – both in terms of IT operational costs and speed of innovation.”
“AWS Academy will help students in South Africa by teaching skills that open job opportunities, and also help us find skilled cloud talent so that we can accelerate cloud adoption and continue to provide our customers with leading-edge financial services,” he said.