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News Staffs Uni announced UK winners in the AWS Educate Challenge

Enterprising students have helped Staffordshire University top the leaderboard in a challenge set by Amazon Web Services.

High scoring Staffs Uni student Dean Mutam
Image: High scoring Staffs Uni student Dean Mutam

To come top in the UK confirms that we have some very driven and self-motivated students who understand that participation in the AWS Academy and Challenge will give them that competitive edge.

Dr Carolin Bauer, Senior Lecturer in Network Communication

Staffordshire University was among the first universities to offer the AWS Academy curriculum to students on a range of degrees. As an AWS Academy member institution, the University has access to an authorised cloud computing curriculum developed and maintained by AWS.

The AWS Educate Challenge took place over six weeks and three Staffordshire University students - Callum Lindsey, Theo Sphikas and Dean Mutam - were among the top-scoring students in the UK, pushing the institution to first place overall.

Former army engineer Theo Sphikas, 35, who is studying part-time on the BSc (Hons) Intelligence and Cyber Security course said he had been motivated to join the challenge for the chance to meet with Amazon Student recruiters.

He said: “I’ve spent a year preparing for the degree as I’ve always wanted to work in IT and I have an IT internship starting with my employers DPD in April. I saw this as a way to meet with Amazon recruiters, who run some of the best internships in the world and find out which computer languages employers are looking for.”

Students earn digital credentials upon completion of the AWS Educate Cloud Career Pathways and Badges, which are based on workforce demands and technical skills required for jobs such as Website and App Development, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Cyber Security.

Dean Mutam, 40, from Chippenham is studying for a Masters in Cyber Security while working for American company Upland Software. He said he had opted to sit the pathways that were most relevant to his job role.

He said: “I was happy to receive free AWS training. Winning wasn’t anything I contemplated so it was a nice bonus. Winning has given me the confidence to sit and hopefully pass the AWS certification.”

Callum Lindsay, 20, who is studying on the BSc (Hons) Business Information Technology degree, added: “In the future, I’ll be looking to go into IT, probably cloud, because that’s the way forward.”

Commenting on the win, Dr Carolin Bauer, Senior Lecturer in Network Communication and an Amazon Web Services Certified Educator, said: “Our students have really done us proud. We recognise the value of our participation in the AWS Academy in terms of helping students to build the technical skills employers want and need.

“To come top in the UK confirms that we have some very driven and self-motivated students who understand that participation in the AWS Academy and Challenge will give them that competitive edge.”


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