Lack of talent is a growing problem for many employers in the cloud sector. In Canada, there was a 215% increase in demand for cloud developers, engineers, architects and analysts between 2015 and 2020. Even with the pandemic causing global economic fallout, 2020 had the highest demand for cloud computing skills on record. That trend shows no signs of slowing down in 2021 or beyond. In fact, the pandemic is likely one of the driving forces behind the skyrocketing demand for cloud computing skills. In the midst of the pandemic, companies are seeking ways to enhance their flexibility, enable remote work, and ramp up their ecommerce capabilities. Cloud technologies offer a solution to all of these challenges.
cloud skills shortages are growing
There’s a disconnect between the talent and skills employers are looking for, and what skills are readily available on the market. When you include ‘cloud computing’ as a must-have skill in a job description, there is 33% less talent availability than for a comparable role without. It’s much easier to hire a software developer than it is to hire a cloud developer, even though they share many of the same foundational skills.
Training and developing talent is an often underlooked solution to skills shortages. However, training talent from the ground up has many benefits. You’re able to train talent with the precise skill stacks you need and build a strong talent pipeline that doesn’t rely on the often volatile IT talent market. Nurturing junior talent is also much more cost-effective than hiring a senior developer who often needs to learn to adapt their ways of working to suit your organization.
YES2Tech has set out to fill a critical gap in the cloud talent market by providing young up-and-coming talent with the training and skills they need to work in the cloud sector. The program, a collaboration between Youth Employment Services (YES) and Amazon Web Services (AWS), provides young people with post-secondary degrees an extensive 12-week training program to teach them the cloud skills they need to work in junior IT roles.
how YES2Tech is changing the game
YES2Tech is a program to provide upskilling to youth with post-secondary education to help them access in-demand cloud jobs. As one component of the program, Amazon Web Services has developed a training program called AWS re/Start to teach participants the cloud development skills to prepare them for entry-level cloud careers. AWS re/Start prepares learners for junior cloud roles, such as cloud operations, site reliability, infrastructure support, and technical adjacent business support functions.
Each cohort of learners, supported by professional mentors and accredited trainers, completes a 12-week training featuring real-world scenario-based learning, hands-on labs, and coursework. AWS re/Start provides learners with resume and interview coaching to prepare them for employer meetings and interviews to launch an entry-level cloud career. Graduates of the AWS re/Start program have varying skill levels but are qualified for entry-level employment as IT professionals.
After completing the 12-week AWS re/Start program, graduates have a foundational understanding of AWS Cloud fundamentals and systems operations on AWS, through acquiring hands-on, real-world experience. Most graduates will become certified AWS Cloud practitioners and will be equipped and motivated to continue their career journey in cloud technologies. This offers employers direct access to a pool of entry-level IT candidates. Though the initial training and onboarding are more extensive, it ensures employers have a steady pipeline of homegrown cloud talent. In some cases, YES is also able to offer subsidies to help employers offset costs of hiring, onboarding and training new and diverse talent.
a YES2Tech success story
Jack Zheng, one of the participants in the first cohort of the program is confident the training he received has given him the skills he needs to build a long and fulfilling career in cloud computing. He says, “The AWS re/Start program gave me practical experience that worked well with the academic experience I already had.” Since graduating from the AWS re/Start program, he’s joined a multi-national insurance company in a junior IT service management analyst/developer role where he’s using the skills he learned in the YES2Tech program on a daily basis.
Working side-by-side with a recruiter who helped him refine his resume and interview skills to showcase his new training was critical to getting his start in the field. He explains, “The most important thing for me was how much help the recruiters at Randstad gave me with preparing for the interview.” For many of these new grads, they have the skills and desire to succeed, but they don’t know how to get their foot in the door or communicate their skills and competencies. This program not only provides the skills they need to succeed, it provides ongoing support to help them launch their careers.