AWS gears up training efforts at re:Invent event

2017 saw the largest AWS re:Invent event, and as a consequence, the largest ramping up of AWS’s training efforts there.

LAS VEGAS — 2017’s AWS re:Invent event was the company’s largest one yet, with over 43,000 people in attendance, at over 1300 scheduled sessions here. That wasn’t all good news. Some of the lines to get into sessions were so long that some people, on their way to its end, had to asking multiple times whether this was the line to the session that they wanted. However, the attendees at AWS’s beefed up training boot camps had no such problems.

“Everything was all pre-registered, so it was all smooth,” said Maureen Lonergan, AWS Director, Training & Certifications.

AWS delivered 42 boot camps at the event. They also made 142 digital training modules freely available for attendees. These were 10-15 minute long affairs, and included training around some newly announced services as well as previously existing ones.

The event was also the first large scale debut of the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam, which was telegraphed to users back in September.

“The Certified Cloud Practitioner exam is designed as a foundational level examination,” Lonergan said. “It is essentially an onboarding for new people onto the AWS certification path. It’s very entry level.”

The concepts tested are fairly basic, although it is recommended that candidates have six months of experience with the AWS Cloud in any role, including technical, managerial, sales, purchasing, or financial. It tests understanding of the AWS Cloud’s global infrastructure, architectural principles, value proposition, and key services. Candidates also have to understand the platforms security principles, and the billing, account management, and pricing models. There is a $USD 100 fee to take the exam, and because it is entry level, if you already have an AWS certification, you aren’t eligible for this one. Lonergan thinks there will be lots of candidates, however.

“It is open to all types of users we address; customers, partners, academic, and internal candidates,” she said.

AWS’s Training and Certification organization was created when Lonergan joined the  company from VMware five and a half years ago.

“For most of that time, we have been focused on customers and partners, but we have been getting more forward looking about developing the skills needed in industry through education,” Lonergan said. For that reason, they created a second set of programs targeted at students, named Academy, this February, joining the existing Educate program set.

While AWS Educate has curated learning content and access to selected AWS training, as well as membership options at Student, Educator, and Institution levels, AWS Academy is focused only on post-secondary institutions, and has a curriculum developed and maintained by AWS, and delivered over a semester by AWS Academy Accredited Instructors.

“The curriculum is completely different,” Lonergan said.

The channel training has been developing in breadth, not simply expanding incrementally with the relentless addition of more AWS services that require training courses.

“We started with the fundamentals when I came here, then added role-based classes,” Lonergan said. “Now with 1300 releases this year, there is a significant amount of content that has to be produced, and our focus is on modularizing it.

“I have a team working hand-in-hand with the channel program people, so it’s not just thrown at us,” Lonergan said. “We are asked for our input on it.”

Full training around the newly- announced services will be rolled out as rapidly as possible, she added.