“Are you getting a job at Amazon?” is what probably a half-dozen friends and relatives have texted you since the company announced it’s coming to Northern Virginia.
It’s the result of a yearlong bidding process to find a location for a second headquarters — dubbed “HQ2” — that promised to bring 50,000 jobs to the winning city. But if we learned anything from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” it’s that when eccentric billionaires hold contests, the prize is never what it seems. Amazon announced in November that it will split HQ2 between Long Island City, N.Y., and Crystal City, Va. (Washington Post Express’ owner, Jeff Bezos, is the CEO and founder of Amazon.)
According to reports, Amazon expects to hire about 400 people in our region next year and 1,180 in 2020, eventually adding 25,000 jobs. If you’re hoping for one of those jobs, lots of area graduate programs will give you the skills Amazon is seeking. And we don’t just mean tech skills. Although Amazon reps didn’t respond to our questions about the type of jobs they’ll be hiring for, New York officials have said only about half the positions at that headquarters location will be tech jobs. The other half will be “administrative jobs, custodial staff, HR, all those things,” New York Economic Development Corp. vice president Eleni Bourinaris-Suarez told The Wall Street Journal.
You can expect about the same breakdown in Northern Virginia, Virginia Economic Development Partnership president Stephen Moret told the Washington Business Journal. How can you prepare to win an Amazon job? Start by taking a look at these programs.
If you’re interested in technology jobs, Virginia Tech is creating a campus just for you — and for Amazon.
In its pitch for HQ2, the commonwealth lured Amazon in part by promising to build a Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in the newly dubbed “National Landing” area in Crystal City, where Amazon will be located.
After last month’s selection announcement, planning for the campus has begun.
The campus will offer one-year master’s degree programs in computer science and software engineering, says Brandy Salmon, chief operating officer of the Innovation Campus. Students will have the option to specialize in in-demand areas that could include artificial intelligence, machine learning, the internet of things or technology policy.
“We’ll make sure that our curriculum is meeting the needs of our partners and is meeting marketplace needs as well,” Salmon says. “We hope that it will be a pipeline to jobs at Amazon and other industry partners.”
Virginia Tech plans to welcome 100 master’s students in fall 2019 — in a temporary space before the campus is completed — and to grow to a class of 500 within five years. At full capacity, the campus will host doctoral candidates as well.
Barely a week after announcing its HQ2 locations, Amazon revealed that a data breach exposed an unknown number of customer names and emails. It seems like the company could use some smart people to help with cybersecurity.
The increased demand for cybersecurity experts — in all fields, not just tech — is why Georgetown is launching a master of professional studies degree in cybersecurity risk management.
“One of the things that Amazon needs is people who aren’t looking at cybersecurity only in terms of threats and vulnerabilities but think of cybersecurity as a process,” says Frederic Lemieux, faculty director of Georgetown’s master’s in applied intelligence and cybersecurity risk management.
The program, which kicks off in fall 2019, will teach students to manage risk exposure throughout an organization, with courses on cybersecurity frameworks, regulation and compliance, deploying new technologies and communicating risk to various audiences.
Lemieux wants students to graduate from the program with “all the qualifications and competencies that a chief information security officer would need,” he says. “That’s our ultimate objective.”
The program is designed for working professionals, with evening classes that meet online or on campus. Most of the accepted students will arrive with about five years of professional experience. Lemieux estimates that students will complete the 33-credit program in 18 to 24 months, depending whether they study full or part time.
Whether you want your Amazon order to arrive in two hours or two days, you probably know that the e-commerce giant relies on supply chain management.
Lucky for you, the University of Maryland has a very well-regarded program in that field.
“[Some of our graduates] have already worked for Amazon locally, supervising their warehouses or distribution centers, so we already have a pipeline,” says Thomas Corsi, a logistics professor. “But this new opportunity would be at the executive level.”
U-Md.’s supply chain management programs teach students about the supply chain from end to end, including customer and supplier relationship management, warehouse management and supply chain software.
They equip students with skills that Amazon will need at the corporate level, such as “understanding transportation costs, the best combination of insourcing and outsourcing and how to come up with the best delivery system at the safest and lowest costs,” Corsi says.
U-Md. students can study supply chain management in a one-year M.S. program or as part of a full-time or part-time MBA program at campuses in College Park, Shady Grove and downtown Washington. The school plans to launch an online M.S. degree in supply chain management by 2020.
“It’s such a huge field, and an amazing and interesting field,” says Muhammad Hasan Ashraf, who graduated from U-Md. last year with an M.S. in supply chain management. He credits the program with helping him land a job as an industrial engineer at UPS’ Laurel, Md., hub. “Everyone just wants to stay home and order online, so e-commerce is booming. And people want stuff at their doors as soon as possible.”
And if demand keeps up for products delivered to our doors in no time, how long can it be before we need an HQ3?
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