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

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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. 

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