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NOVA collaborates with Amazon Web Services to create associates degree with cloud computing specialization

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is pleased to announce an innovative degree offering designed to address one of the most pressing skill-demands in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and the nation. As part of a collaboration between Amazon Web Services’ AWS Educate program and NOVA, the College will offer a Cloud Computing specialization as part of its Information Systems Technology (IST) associate of applied science degree starting in Fall 2018. The degree program will be one of the first cloud computing programs in the nation offered by a community college. Cloud and distributed computing has been highlighted by LinkedIn as the #1 in-demand global skill for the past three years in a row, with Northern Virginia housing one of the largest concentrations of IT jobs in the nation.

The two-year IST Cloud Computing degree program will serve as a catalyst for individuals who wish to pursue a position in cloud computing and as a foundational base for any career in the IT profession. This new associate degree program will build on core competencies found in the IST degree (hardware, security, programming) and develop skills in the cloud environment focused on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (virtualization, server management, storage and networking) and Platform-as-a-Service (application deployment, capacity provisioning, load balancing and scaling).

The 63-credit associate degree program is mapped to skills and competency-based credentials required by AWS and other employers who leverage cloud-based services. The curriculum also is designed to prepare students to earn industry recognized credentials. In addition to embedding cloud services into a number of courses that provide students with technology skills and critical-thinking capabilities, the NOVA curriculum will include three new “cloud” courses – Cloud Computing:  Infrastructure and Services, Information Storage and Management and Virtual Infrastructure: Installation and Configuration. All students will receive also free membership in the AWS Educate program and gain hands-on experience with leading cloud technology and tools. 

“The Northern Virginia region is home to one of the largest concentrations of IT jobs in the nation, as well as one of the greatest demands for employees with cloud computing skills,” said Dr. Scott Ralls, NOVA President. “This new cloud computing program is our latest initiative to meet the highly skilled employment needs of technology employers and to offer pathways to family-supporting careers for our students.”

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with NOVA on this degree program, as they break new ground to open up opportunities to careers in cloud computing for students in the state of Virginia and around the globe,” said Teresa Carlson, Vice President of Worldwide Public Sector at Amazon Web Services, Inc. “With this program, we seek to build a strong pipeline of talent to contribute to innovation across sectors in the growing and dynamic field of cloud computing. Cloud computing is creating a massive job opportunity, and NOVA is playing a leading role in moving community colleges to the forefront of this revolution. We believe that this degree offering, and our collaboration with community and vocational programs around the world, can fundamentally alter the role that these institutions play in helping to build and diversify the pipeline of new, exceptional talent in the tech community.”

In parallel with this degree offering, NOVA is working with Columbus State Community College to increase awareness of cloud computing and the number of certified IT professionals within their respective regions. Together, the two colleges have submitted a proposal, Reach for the Cloud:  Building an Industry-Aligned Pathway to Careers in Cloud Computing, to the National Science Foundation – Advance Technological Education (NSF-ATE) in support of developing cloud computing 2-year programs nationwide.

“A key part of the new Virginia economy is building up our talent pipeline to match our education system, and aligning our training programs around the skills needed, such as cloud computing, for 21st century jobs,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “Community colleges like NOVA are important engines for workforce development, and this collaboration with Amazon Web Services marks an exciting first step in a broader plan to bring cloud computing education to students across the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Cloud Computing courses will initially be offered at NOVA’s Alexandria, Loudoun and Woodbridge Campuses, with general education, personal development and foundational IT courses available at all of NOVA’s five comprehensive campuses and online. Additionally, NOVA will share its Cloud Computing curriculum with other educational institutions around the world, helping to promote the global needs of educators and students.

For additional information on the new Information Systems Technology (IST) Cloud Computing specialization degree program, visit the Cloud Computing program page or contact Dr. Chad Knights, Senior Academic Leadership Fellow at cknights@nvcc.edu.


NOVA Media Contact: Kristina Ogburn | 703.503.6338 | kogburn@nvcc.edu



Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.