Leaders in the technology industry say that cloud-based computing is not only the future, but it is already here.
Coconino Community College has joined other colleges across Arizona in a statewide effort to increase access to cloud computing education in schools. On Thursday, the Arizona Commerce Authority announced the initiative, with the support of Amazon Web Services, Inc., which has a goal to train and certify 5,000 students in the state for entry-level cloud computing careers by June 2022.
“CCC is committed to serving the local community and the local labor force, and this initiative does both,” said Lisa Blank, CCC’s Dean of Career and Technical Education, adding that CCC will be ready to offer the training in time for the spring semester.
Instead of individuals and businesses purchasing expensive hardware to run computer systems, they rent off-site computing services at much lower initial costs, said Duane Marshall, Computer Information Systems faculty at CCC who will be teaching the AWS courses.
“They rent it by the time used,” Marshall said. “It’s sort of like a timeshare for IT. The nice thing about that is it moves expenditures, in a business standpoint, from capital to a monthly rotation.”
And, of course, cloud-based computing services are scalable, Marshall added. For instance, if a business website goes from 100 visits to 10,000 visits a day, cloud services can easily scale to handle the increase without the purchase of additional hardware to scale it from there.
The plan is to integrate AWS programs in cloud computing education into CCC’s IT programs for certification, Marshall said.
Blank said that cloud-based work can be performed anywhere there is a reliable Internet connection. Therefore, the certifications will allow residents the chance to stay in their home communities and still earn a significant salary that could improve the quality of life for their families and their communities.
“It’s our mission, and it’s important to us to find new ways to help members of our communities,” Blank said.
Marshall said that CCC is planning on having an initial course in Foundations and Architecting (building a system out in the cloud) up and running for spring semester. Subsequently, additional classes will be added to give students a leg up on AWS certification exams.
“Success on the AWS exams means, on average, people can earn $90,000 to $100,000 a year, starting out,” Marshall said. One of the biggest gaps in the technology field right now is in cloud foundations and the education that goes along with it.
About Coconino Community College
CCC has served residents across 18,000 square miles of Coconino County since 1991. The College has the goal of improving the lives of our residents through workforce development and higher education.
CCC provides affordable tuition and more than 50 certificate programs and two-year associate degrees in academic and career fields. CCC also has programs that ease student transition to any of the three state universities, including the award-winning CCC2NAU.
CCC reaches out to the more rural portions of the County and Tribal Lands. Instructional sites offer classes through online, in-person and Zoom video conferencing classes to meet the needs of students in rural and remote areas. Nearly 20 percent of CCC’s students are Native American learners.