Insights into Amazon Future Engineer Pathway from inspiring female leaders


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Amazon increases student access to computer science education

Amazon increases student access to computer science education

Amazon is deeply committed to providing an education in Computer Science and is incredibly proud of the Amazon Future Engineer Pathway. Students now have access to Advanced Placement (AP) CS course offerings, scholarships, and early college internships.  The program creates accessible learn-to-work opportunities for students through sponsored AP CS courses, college tuition scholarships and paid Amazon Future Engineer internships in software engineering. 

Two Amazon Future Engineer Pathway leaders, Shameeka Emanuel and Jacqueline Olliges, speak about computer science education and early college work opportunities, why they’re important, and how their career paths led them to where they are now.

Accessible learn-to-work opportunities in the US 

"The Amazon Future Engineer Pathway is a program that creates accessible learn-to-work opportunities in computer science for students in the U.S," explains Jacqueline. "This includes, AP Computer Science (CS) Courses with cloud computing content and access to AWS Educate, ten thousand dollar college scholarships for pursuing a Computer Science degree, and Amazon Future Engineer Internships for college freshmen and sophomores."

Shameeka explains how she was a hardware design engineer working at a semiconductor company. During her time there, she didn’t see many people that looked like her. When exploring what needed improvement, Shameeka found that the company needed to start earlier in the educational journey to really make a difference. She then got the opportunity to help Amazon build a program that could influence STEM education.

Jacqueline was a recruiter at Amazon when her manager told her about the vision for the Amazon Future Engineer program and she was immediately drawn to it. Her background in recruiting and passion for diversity in tech made it a no-brainer for her to join the project. "Being part of a team that builds programs with the potential to help students realize their dreams is truly a gift that I am thankful for every day," comments Jacqueline.  

How did the Amazon Future Engineer Pathway start? 

The Amazon Future Engineer Program started in 2016 and morphed into a pathway in 2018, starting as a big idea to increase access to computer science education and to increase the representation of underrepresented groups pursuing a CS degree. According to research from Code.Org, women represent 26% of AP CS exam takers and underrepresented minorities represent 20%. That being said, Amazon felt it was important to provide learning and working opportunities to help build the industry’s future workforce.

Career-building internships 

AFE interns work in small groups on software development projects with their host teams, businesses, and customers. As a group, and with the support of their mentors and managers, these interns have the opportunity to collect requirements, design, build, and deploy their projects throughout their 12 weeks at Amazon. These internships allow students to follow a project through the whole development process and see what a computer science career really looks like.

"According to research from Code.org, only 40% of schools in the United States are teaching CS," says Shameeka. "This means that a majority of students in the United States don’t have exposure or the means to pursue this career path. We think more students should have access to this exciting career path!"

Advice from inspiring female leaders in Computer Science

"Be fearless and take electives that are out of your comfort zone! You never know where an opportunity may arise," says Shameeka. 

"Looking back, I would have told myself to think further ahead about my career. Internships and work-studies can help you get your foot in the door and help you determine what you’re passionate about," comments Jacqueline. 

Return to work flexibly with Amazon 

As well as exciting opportunities in Computer Science for interns and graduates, Amazon has many opportunities around the world for women who may have taken an extended career break and want to return to work flexibly, and on their terms. Find out more about the Amazon Returners programme and restart your career today. 

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