Google has launched a program to give students in computer science and related courses at accredited U.S. universities free access to all of the company's Cloud Platform products.
The new Google Cloud Platform Education Grants program will give college students an opportunity to use the same tools and infrastructure available to enterprises, to build and test cloud applications.
To participate in the program, Google wants computer science faculty from U.S. colleges to apply for education grants for their students. Approved institutions will be given a certain number of credits to distribute to their students.
Students can use their credits to access and use any Google Cloud Platform product relevant to their area of study. For example, students in mobile development courses will be able to code their apps using Google App Engine. Those interested in machine learning will be able to use the company's Vision API and Translate API, while those intending to pursue opportunities around data analysis can use BigQuery and BigTable, according to Google.
Giving students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with cloud technologies makes them more competitive in the job market, Google's vice president of marketing Alison Wagonfeld wrote in a blog post announcing the program.
"Students that have access to public cloud infrastructure gain valuable experience with the software and infrastructure used by today's employers," Wagonfeld said. Student projects also can benefit from the sheer scale and scope of the infrastructure and tools that will be available under the grants program.
Google's effort to get more students up to speed on cloud technologies—albeit its own—is reminiscent of efforts by other technology vendors to spur availability of skilled workers amid a deepening talent shortage.
One example is Cisco Systems, which recently launched a $10 million scholarship program to train students for careers in cyber-security. Under the Cisco Global Cybersecurity Scholarship program, the company will provide free cyber-security lessons to qualified individuals in areas such as security system monitoring, breach detection, breach analysis and incident response.
Students who complete the program will be certified by Cisco as qualified for an entry-level cyber-security analyst job. Cisco has said it hopes to train at least 10,000 individuals under the scholarship program.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise is another technology vendor offering scholarships for cyber-security-related courses. But the program is available only to women who want to pursue a career in information security. Qualified individuals studying information security courses at the undergraduate or graduate level can receive up to $10,000 in scholarships under the Hewlett Packard Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security program.
Google's computer science grant program currently is available only within the United States. But Google says it will soon become available to students in other parts of the world as well.