With it being the Global Hour of Code this week, it seemed pretty apt that AWS held a coding session for a group of learners at its annual re:Invent conference last week.

This is the fourth year that AWS has held one of these “Field Trips” as it calls them, with a small group of developer’s behind MIT’s Scratch application joining to help learners come to grips with coding.

As has been a focus for the company for a few years now, coding and skills required as a result of learning them will have a significant effect on our ability to be better prepared for the jobs of the future.

The next generation

This according to Ken Eisner, senior manager for Worldwide Education Programs and Global lead at AWS Educate, who explains that cloud computing opens up great opportunities in the job market, with those jobs requiring coding skills.

Added to this is the fact that the cloud creates the chance for learners to be exposed to technologies that they otherwise would not be able to.

As such Eisner is certainly of the opinion that coding skills will form the foundation of the next generation of workers entering the job market.

To assist in this regard, AWS’ Educate platform is aiming to bring more opportunities to learn to code and get an understanding of cloud computing and its associated technologies to learners.

If we look locally, Educate is not up and running yet, but AWS has already put initiatives in place like AWS Academy which focuses on tertiary students wanting to certifications in cloud computing skills.

Hankering for more

“Our customers and partners are phenomenal when it comes to changes and improvements we should be making to the program,” notes Eisner.

“Right now we have over 2 400 educational institutions around the world that have joined the Educate platform during the past year, and we’ve seen a real desire for more curriculum, more development resources, as well as special paths to machine learning and artificial intelligence have helped to inform our roadmap moving forward,” he says.

In order to accommodate the growing appetite for resources and desire to access more information, AWS is striking to make its platform easier for institutions, teachers and learners to use and understand.

“We’re ensuring that there are a number of free tools available on the Educate portal, and it’s available provided you have an .edu address, or we can verify that you’re a teacher or learner,” explains Eisner.

“For students we also provide with free access into AWS, so they can do the coding from their browser, and we give them certificates of completion, as well as things like a job board,” he adds.

Making it accessible

Looking at countries in the MEA (Middle East and Africa) where the Educate platform has found a good footing, Eisner points to Bahrain and Egypt as a real success stories.

“We’ve a couple of big events in the Middle East and Northern Africa recently. We actually just had an event in Cairo a few months ago where hundreds of students joined us and got exposed to cloud computing and competed in games where puzzle solving in the AWS environment was the focus. In Bahrain it has been one of those points of amazing growth, and Bahrain Polytechnic is one of the fastest growing Educate institutions in the region at the moment,” notes Eisner.

It looks then that AWS is doing all that it can to ensure that the barriers to entry, specifically as it applies to the Educate platform, are as easy to negotiate as possible.

“We want to make sure that students and educators around the world have access to a robust set of tools,” he concludes.

The hope now is when AWS’ presence in Southern Africa rises in coming years, more institutions will be turning to the Educate platform in order to make coding a readily taught aspect of the local curriculum.

 

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]