The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Intelligence Initiative is an onboarding and skills rotational program that trains participants to be AWS engineers. These engineers support Amazon Dedicated Cloud (ADC) regions. So far, more than 450 employees have gone through the program, learning the skills needed to land one of the unique technical roles.
Find out how they did it, and learn more about how we’re preparing engineers for the jobs of the future.

What is the AWS Intelligence Initiative?

An image of Amazon employees participating in the AWS Intelligence Initiative.A group of Amazon employees participating in the AWS Intelligence Initiative.
The AWS Intelligence Initiative prepares engineers to build, operate, and maintain Amazon Dedicated Cloud (ADC) regions around the world. In ADC regions, we build and operate AWS cloud services to support customers’ critical missions by equipping them with the power of cloud computing.
ADCs are physically isolated, private cloud environments that are dedicated to support specific mission-critical customers such as government agencies. To work within these regions, people who join the AWS Intelligence Initiative must meet the functional and technical competencies necessary for specific engineering roles—and must possess a government security clearance or be able to obtain one.
“We launched the program to support the ever-growing technical hiring needs required to operate ADC regions around the world, and to ensure that engineers are consistently gaining proficiency in the latest AWS products and services,” said Neil Saval, AWS Director of software development, who launched AWS Intelligence Initiative in 2016.
“It started with just 20 people, and now we have hundreds of people in the program,” Saval said.
The program is now one of Amazon’s 10 upskilling programs included in the company’s Upskilling 2025 pledge.

What type of skills do participants learn?

An image of the AWS Intelligence Initiative team working together in a conference room.An AWS Intelligence Initiative team working together.
The program follows a centralized structure, with all participants undergoing onboarding, technical training, and job rotations across various AWS internal teams. Once participants are admitted to the program, they participate in a 12- to 24-month development program to learn about AWS operational culture, enhance their technical skills, and obtain on-the-job experience. Engineers rotate working on different AWS service teams as they work side by side with experienced AWS engineers to build and operate AWS services.
The program includes trainings on core industry technologies, AWS services, and internal AWS software builder and operational tooling, and it is structured to expand an engineer’s technical knowledge. Individuals develop deeper skills in operating systems and AWS services and security posture that they need to excel at AWS. They also can refine their soft skills, like leadership style.
The program seeks to have engineers work on technologies they’re most passionate about and where they feel they can have the greatest impact as they assist AWS service teams with service deployments and operations across AWS regions. Some of these services include coding assistance for easy customer adaptation and integration; supporting Amazon EC2, which are virtual servers in the cloud; and Amazon Simple Storage (S3), scalable data storage in the cloud.

Who should apply for the program?

The AWS Intelligence Initiative is dedicated to developing builders. The program is open to individuals who currently work at Amazon or AWS and external candidates interested in expanding their technical career or wish to enter the technical field.
The program offers opportunities to work as a team to cultivate new interests, share knowledge among peers, and find mentorship opportunities across AWS. Throughout the program, participants have the opportunity to learn, grow, and innovate while working alongside great people with diverse perspectives who share a passion for technical work.
All individuals participating in the program are full-time, salaried employees and are placed on an AWS service team upon graduation. To date, more than 450 program graduates have completed the training (including on-the-job rotations) and have been placed on AWS teams.
Rohini Shah participated in the program and is now a systems development manager at AWS.
“I joined straight out of university, and it was my first full-time job,” said Shah. “I came directly into the AWS Intelligence Initiative, was with the team for about eight months, and then joined an AWS service team.
“The role you come in with isn't necessarily the role you are going to leave the program with. Really, the world is your oyster here, and your creativity is as far as you can take it.”

Where and when can Amazon employees participate in the program?

The program accepts applications on a rolling basis. Positions can be based in Baltimore, Maryland; Denver, Colorado; Seattle, Washington; Herndon, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; or internationally.