Incorporating AWS to Computer Science Curricula

IEEE Computer Society Team
Published 01/26/2023
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End-user spending on cloud services totaled $270 billion in 2020, and cloud usage is only increasing; 60% of the world’s corporate data is stored in the cloud, and cloud storage now makes up 3% of the world’s energy consumption. When looking forward, IT leaders are doubling down on the future of the cloud as well; 46% are making plans to invest in cloud technologies, and 68% of enterprises now consider themselves “intermediate” or “advanced” when it comes to cloud strategies.

As businesses continue to love the significant benefits of cloud environments — from flexibility to cost savings to increased efficiencies and streamlined operations — it becomes more of an integral part of the professional workforce. Businesses need workers with specific skills to adopt cloud environments successfully and continue innovating on cutting-edge emerging technologies.

Unfortunately, there’s a widening gap when it comes to cloud skills; 69% of survey respondents lacked the necessary cloud skills to fully execute an organization’s long-term plans for adoption. Gartner even proposed that cloud adoption could eventually fail if the huge talent and skills gap weren’t addressed. According to Gartner, an insufficient number of both trained and experienced workers, rising salaries, and a globalized market for cloud workers put a strain on businesses that want to hire internal resources but can’t. The work to mediate the skills gap and increase the number of qualified workers begins at the earliest stage — in the computer science curriculum.

Enhancing Current Computer Science Curriculum

With huge workloads moving to the cloud and businesses worldwide investing heavily in architecture, learning, and migrations, it’s critical that the next wave of computer science professionals have a firm understanding of cloud technologies before entering the workforce. In addition, for computer science educators and professional academics, it’s important to focus on enhancing the current curriculum in college education to better prepare students.

“Cloud skills” were listed by LinkedIn as one of the top assets for professionals, and 14% of job listings require some understanding of cloud technologies. For future computer science workers to meet and exceed the expectations of enterprise organizations, their grasp of the cloud can quickly be prioritized in the current computer science curriculum.

While a vast overhaul of education is not being recommended, current research shows non-invasive and easy-to-implement ways to bring cloud education up to speed. One proposal is to “sprinkle” cloud concepts into undergraduate classrooms, a small tweak that the educators and universities themselves would lead. Another proposal revolves around centering an IT-specific curriculum around the cloud instead of having a more generic technology focus. Even for other majors like mathematics, business, and communications, cloud education can be integrated for a more well-rounded, modern understanding of current technologies; for example, mathematics students can be trained in AWS technologies like Amazon Athena, Redshift, and Rekognition. Even for working professionals, new certificates focusing on cloud technology can be offered, allowing currently employed workers to quickly enhance their skill sets without taking a break from full-time work.

Computer science is already a rapidly evolving educational field, and creating ways to agilely adapt curriculum to reflect new technologies is critical. Educators should get comfortable with seamlessly integrating new ways of learning, creating a richly curated program that shifts as needed.

Download “Cloudifying the Curriculum With AWS”

Download the full study, “Cloudifying the Curriculum With AWS,” from the 2021 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE). For a more detailed look into the process of updating curriculums to meet current business standards, this article examines multiple ways to integrate this knowledge into different phases of education.

Download the Full Study

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