Sep 20 2017

UMUC Expands Opportunities for Cloud Training

University of Maryland University College's cloud computing program prepares future federal IT workers.

As more organizations, corporations and federal agencies move to the cloud, the need for well-trained workers that understand the enivironment is ever-increasing.

The Small Business Adminstration has been working training into its infrastructure refresh, but the agency's CIO, Maria Roat, tells Federal News Radio that her staff needs more than just a simple update on new systems.

Thankfully college programs on cloud management are constantly emerging. Last year, Carnegie Mellon University launched a "Cloud Computing for Business" course aimed at preparing both IT and business students for the cloud.

For SBA, a local university program is coming in handy for training workers.

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Maryland Cloud Program Leverages Nearby Experts

University of Maryland University College hopes to help agencies fill the cloud skills gap with its new master’s program in cloud architecture and management, Federal News Radio reports.

Pete Young, a senior vice president of analytics, planning and technology at UMUC, told the publication that the need for more cloud training was evident after he led an effort to move the university into the cloud. The new program is designed to give students a deeper understanding of the cloud and then help their employers manage migrations.

The program brought together experts from the private sector and government to help identify the specific skills and capabilities that are needed, and then program administrators worked backwards to design courses, programs and projects to give them the skills they need in the workplace.

“Our program is really based on our experience of the difficulty of finding and retaining qualified staff and just as important the development of existing employees,” Young tells Federal News Radio. “There are very few programs around cloud available, which was one of the reasons why we decided to start this program, although many programs have elements of this. This is really a cloud focused program.”

According to Federal News Radio, the “online courses include cloud management, focusing on the principles and practices about managing in a cloud environment; cloud infrastructure planning, design and configurations; and cloud orchestration, which has the students designing, planning, implementing and doing a complete cloud migration.”

Agency employees working in the cloud need to know how data moves in the cloud and how they can use that information to meet mission needs, Roat tells Federal News Radio. She also says that users must know whether the data needs to be encrypted at-rest, in transit or both if they want to understand cloud architecture.

Training programs like the one at UMUC are critical to the federal CIO community, Roat says. She plans to spread the word about the program through the CIO Council and other channels in the federal IT community.

Roat also highlights the importance of continual training. “To maintain relevance, to continue to further your education, it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old or middle-aged, you own your career. You have a responsibility if you want to continue in this field to remain relevant,” she tells Federal News Radio. “You do have to go out and get training on your own. There is only so much that I can do. I will offer free training, pay for what I can, but employees own their career and own their training.”

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