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Morgan plans cloud computing program as Amazon nears

Morgan State University plans to offer a degree in cloud computing as universities around Maryland evaluate program offerings to make students more attractive to companies like Amazon and Google.

The university’s Board of Regents approved the cloud computing program at its most recent meeting, the university announced Monday. The program must still be approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

“I applaud the board’s foresight and forward-thinking as it relates to preparing Morgan for the future in addition to protecting that future,” David Wilson, Morgan’s president, said in a statement. “For our students to solve the problems of tomorrow, we need to offer them the programs that address those problems today, and cloud computing is at the top of the list.”

Morgan State will offer the bachelor of science in cloud computing both in the classroom and online. It will be a part of the university’s School of Computer, Mathematical & Natural Sciences, School of Engineering and Earl G. Graves School of Business & Management.

The program will be targeted toward different types of students, including adult learners and other nontraditional students, the university said.

“Everybody nowadays has to constantly upgrade (their) skills,”said Hongtao Yu, dean of the School of Computer, Mathematical & Natural Sciences. “This area, because of the demand, certainly a lot of people are going to be thinking about doing something like this.”

After receiving all regulatory approvals, the program could begin as soon as next fall.

Cloud computing itself has grown to be a part of just about every institution in the country, through services such as Google’s Gmail and Amazon’s Amazon Web Services.

Graduates with a cloud computing background can find work as administrators, modelers, engineers and developers and in security. 

“This is the future of the tech industry,” Yu said. “It’s quite a large need for professionals with skills in this area, cloud computing, to deal with data, to deal with the analysis of this data and security issues.”

Amazon in particular has been notable for its cloud computing efforts: Amazon Web Services makes up half of the company’s revenue. And now Amazon is moving into Morgan State’s backyard, with its second headquarters slated to open in Arlington, Virginia.

Conversations with Amazon were behind the plan to launch the cloud computing program, Yu said.

“We look forward to working with them on this particular program,” he said. The school hopes to create a pipeline of talent between Morgan State and Amazon. 

“That would be ideal,” Yu said. “That’s part of the discussion we would like to continue to discuss.”

Morgan State is not the only university in Maryland preparing for the arrival of Amazon and at least 25,000 new jobs.

Earlier this year, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents approved a data science program at Salisbury University and an internet of things program at the University of Maryland, College Park.

The University of Maryland, College Park also plans to open a Discovery Center in Crystal City, Virginia, next year. One of the explicit goals of the center is to maintain ties with Amazon.


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