Amazon expands Technical Academy classes to two online schools to open enrollment beyond employees

Both schools use "income share agreements," which means graduates pay part of their income monthly once they get a job instead of tuition.

Webinar learning or video watching on computer screen vector illustration, flat cartoon working table desk and education stuff, idea of online courses or internet study, school or student workplace

Image: vladwel, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Amazon is taking its internal training program beyond its own employees to help more people learn the skills required to get a job as a backend engineer, the company announced in a blog post. Two online schools will use the same curriculum that Amazon developed for its non-technical employees. 

Amazon Technical Academy is partnering with two online training partners with tech expertise: Kenzie Academy and Lambda School. Amazon launched the academy in 2017 as part of an internal upskilling plan and the company invested more than $12 million into the program in 2020 alone.

Lambda School will launch a nine-month, full-time training program for students interested in backend engineering jobs, according to a blog post. Graduates will have the technical and professional skills required to land an entry-level software developer role, according to the school.

The Kenzie Academy program is nine to 12 months and costs $20,000, according to the school. The training includes weekly check-ins, Zoom group tutoring sessions, office hours and group projects. In addition to the backend engineer training, the school also offers programs in software engineering and UX design. Kenzie also offers a 24-month "outcomes payment plan" with monthly payments starting after graduates secure a job in 6 months.

SEE: Top 5 programming languages for systems admins to learn (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Students at the Lambda School don't pay any tuition until they graduate and find a job. Graduates make monthly payments based on what they earn. Payments end once a person reaches the $30,000 cap or has paid 17% of the monthly income for 24 months. If an individual's annual income dips below $50,000 per year, payments are paused. 

Lambda School offers three programs: Data Science, Full Stack Web Development and Enterprise Backend Development. The web development course covers front-end skills like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React as well as how to interact with APIs and databases. The new program will train students to build a scalable and robust backend and cover Java, testing, DynamoDB, concurrency and more foundational computer science content like data structures and algorithms. Lambda School graduates earn 1,400 hours of hands-on coding experience during the training.

Amazon Technical Academy graduates come from a variety of professional backgrounds, including fulfillment center associates, program managers, recruitment coordinators, executive assistants and financial analysts. According to a blog post, the company has prioritized diversity in academy students, which include single parents, immigrants, college graduates and GED recipients. The company reports that it has placed 98% of its graduates into software development engineer roles at Amazon, with their salary and compensation packages increasing an average of 93%. The academy is tuition-free and participants also receive a stipend to cover living costs and a subsidy to maintain their benefits. 

The academy is part of the company's Upskilling 2025 program which is a $700 million investment to provide free skills training to 100,000 employees over the next four years. 

Also see

By Veronica Combs

Veronica Combs is a senior writer at TechRepublic. For more than 10 years, she has covered technology, healthcare, and business strategy. In addition to her writing and editing expertise, she has managed small and large teams at startups and establis...