Ahead in the Cloud

Amazon and Google are offering one of the nation’s first degrees in cloud computing for community colleges

Cloud-computing-related jobs include software engineers, software architects and data engineers — all growing professions in the workforce — and both Dallas College and the state of Texas recognize the earning potential for graduates. Amazon and Google have joined local initiatives to upskill Texas workers and students to meet industry needs.

In collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), beginning spring 2020, every community college and technical school in Texas will have the option to offer an associate of applied science degree in cloud computing.

The offering marks one of the nation’s first associate of applied science degrees in cloud computing offered by a community college. The two-year program is in response to what AWS and Dallas College recognized as a lack of trained talent in cloud computing across the state. Contemporary IT approaches say “cloud first,” but it became apparent to business, political and academic leaders that Texas’ emerging workforce did not yet reflect this shift. (“Cloud computing” is the delivery of on-demand computing services — from applications to storage and processing power — through a cloud services platform via the internet.)

“Our partnership with Amazon Web Services will introduce a wide array of students to the world of cloud computing, while equipping them with the education and skills necessary to prove successful in today’s workforce,” says Dallas College chancellor Dr. Joe May.

The program aligns with the needs of the industry and includes opportunities to earn industry-recognized credentials targeted at high-growth areas in the local economy. Students will be introduced to cloud computing technologies such as gaming, artificial intelligence and
medical applications.

Google Launches IT Cert Program

In January 2018, Google started an IT Support Professional Certificate program at the college district to prepare students and workers for entry-level roles in information technology support in six months without prior training.

In a visit to Dallas College El Centro campus, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed the program will grow from 30 to 100 community colleges nationwide by the end of 2020. El Centro, an early adopter, began offering the program in fall 2018. The program features five modules designed to teach the key areas of knowledge needed for entry-level IT positions, including technology support and computer networking.

“Our goal is to make sure the opportunities created by technology are truly available for everyone,” Pichai says.

This article is part of the 2020 Higher Education Review Magazine.