Amazon expands cloud curriculum with new bachelor’s degree

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Northern Virginia is home to one of the largest concentrations of tech jobs in the United States.

By U2B Staff 

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George Mason University (GMU) and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) announced a new degree in cloud computing on Tuesday in partnership with Amazon Web Services’ Educate (AWS Educate).

The transfer pathway, which will be available from Autumn 2020, builds on NOVA’s associate degree in cloud computing, launched with AWS Educate last year. It will run through an existing transfer programme between the two Virginia institutions.

“This degree offers students a seamless transfer pathway from a two-year associate’s degree to a four-year bachelor’s degree in the cloud, providing a clear path to high-demand careers in cloud computing with AWS partners and customers,” a statement from AWS said.

“The degree programme will be backwards-mapped to in-demand skills along with competency-based credentials required by AWS and other cloud employers.”


Starting at NOVA, learners will take foundational information technology courses in cloud computing, Chad Knights, NOVA’s provost of information and engineering technologies, told Education Dive. Among them is a course in cloud infrastructure that prepares students to earn the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner credential.

“We are proud to be part of a collaboration that is working to expand Virginia’s tech talent pipeline,” GMU President Ángel Cabrera said in a press release.

“This degree pathway marks the beginning of a ground-breaking initiative that will deliver innovative educational opportunities to students across the commonwealth. The collaboration with AWS helps give our students—and our region—a competitive edge.”

Northern Virginia is home to one of the largest concentrations of tech jobs in the United States, as well as one of the greatest demands for employees with cloud computing skills.

This looks set to increase dramatically once Amazon’s new second headquarters opens.


According to Reuters, the company plans to invest approximately US$2.5 billion, and create more than 25,000 jobs with an average wage of over US$150,000. It is expected this investment will generate more than US$3.2 billion in tax revenue for the region.

The location has already spurred universities to position themselves favourably to work alongside the internet giant. Last week, Virginia Tech announced it will be building its new US$1 billion campus in Alexandria specifically to be near the headquarters.

“This new pathway demonstrates our commitment to creating both educational and employment access,” said Michelle Marks, Vice President of Academic Innovation and New Ventures at GMU.

“These students will be prepared to compete for our region’s most in-demand jobs.”