NOVA Collaborates With Amazon Web Services to Create New Associate Degree

NOVA is pleased to announce an innovative degree offering designed to address one of the most pressing skill-demands in the Washington metropolitan area and the nation. The College will offer a Cloud Computing specialization under its Information Systems Technology (IST) associate of applied science degree starting in Fall 2018 as part of a collaboration between Amazon Web Services’ AWS Educate. The degree program will be one of the first cloud computing programs in the nation offered by a community college. Cloud and distributed computing were highlighted by LinkedIn as the #1 in-demand global skill over the past three years.

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 is also 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: 1) Cloud Computing: Infrastructure and Services, 2) Information Storage and Management and 3) Virtual Infrastructure: Installation and Configuration. Students will receive a free membership to AWS Educate 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 two-year programs nationwide.

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, contact Dr. Chad Knights, Senior Academic Leadership Fellow at

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