What is AWS Educate?
AWS Educate is a free, online learning program that teaches students about cloud computing. The program is available to students with any level of experience, but it's designed particularly for preprofessionals with little or no experience working with the cloud.
The AWS Educate program offers on-demand, self-directed learning content and training resources that let students practice and evaluate their cloud skills. AWS Educate is part of the larger AWS Training and Certification program. Qualified students can earn AWS certifications, gaining important proficiencies as they enter the information technology (IT) workforce.
To qualify, AWS Educate candidates must meet their home country's minimum age requirement. Previously, the program was designed as a grant program and was only available to educators with a .edu email address and military veterans, enabling them to receive AWS credits.
How does AWS Educate work?
AWS Educate offers hundreds of hours of self-paced trainings and labs that give students hands-on practice with the AWS console. Students get a fixed number of hours to complete a lab. However, they get unlimited tries, as long as they complete the lab in the allotted time. As students complete courses, they earn learner badges that show their understanding of a skill.
Courses and labs are organized into content categories and proficiency levels. The following categories are covered:
- cloud computing
- machine learning and AI
- network and infrastructure
- professional skills
The proficiency levels are as follows:
The program also has an explore function that houses supplementary content, including FAQs, blogs, tutorials, Twitch videos, a role-based learning game and white papers. As learners access content, their progress is saved.
Examples of courses include the following:
- Introduction to the AWS Management Console;
- Introduction to Cloud 101;
- Machine Learning Foundations; and
- AWS DeepRacer Primer.
Courses are offered in modules with quizzes, assignments, labs and final assessments. Each course outline provides a description of the work and cloud skills being taught. For example, the Machine Learning Foundation course teaches students how to discuss machine learning and how to apply the machine learning pipeline to solve a business problem.
AWS Educate Labs are designed to train students on specific subjects using Amazon web services. Examples of labs AWS Educate offers include the following:
Benefits and drawbacks of AWS Educate
Some of the benefits of AWS Educate are the following:
- Low barrier to entry. Learners as young as 13 with no prior experience can use AWS Educate's free learning materials.
- Varied content. AWS Educate offers learning content in a variety of formats, such as videos and a hands-on approach in sandboxes and labs.
- Easy user experience. The Educate website is designed to guide learners toward content based on their age, interests, existing knowledge and goals.
- Employment connection. AWS Educate has a built-in job board where learners can be matched with employers.
- Networking opportunities. Students who earn learning badges get invited to the AWS Emerging Talent Community where they can connect with other learners.
There are drawbacks to using AWS Educate. They include the following:
- AWS-centric. AWS Educate is based around AWS cloud Users looking to learn about other cloud services, like Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud, will have to look elsewhere.
- Email address required. Despite the low barrier to entry, users do need an email address to participate.
- Limited collaboration. The classes are designed for self-paced, independent learners. Teachers interested in using AWS Educate with a group of younger learners in a classroom might find it difficult to work with their students on materials.
- Beginner-centric. Most materials are geared toward people new to cloud technology. AWS Educate may not be suitable for professionals who are further along in their cloud careers, are looking to develop a specific skill set or want to learn to use specific cloud resources. These candidates might choose to pursue a more advanced certification.
How to sign up for AWS Educate
Prospective students do not need a credit card or an Amazon account to sign up for AWS Educate. To register, they must provide their first and last name, country, birth month and year, and email address.
After validating the email address, learners are brought to the Educate homepage where they can pick courses. Students can filter course offerings based on time requirement, topic, difficulty and course features.
Once registered for a course, students can change contact information, request permission to integrate third-party software-as-a-service apps and change feature options like closed captions and notifications in the account settings options.
AWS Educate aims to teach basic cloud skills. Learn about some of the most important cloud skills that IT professionals should know.