At VMWorld, VMWare Says It Wants to Train You Some More

By Doug Bartholomew 

It’s a pretty good bet that, at $1,750 per ticket, just
about every one of the estimated 17,000 information technology professionals
who attended this week’s VMworld 2010 in San
Francisco already has a job.

At VMWorld, VMWare Says It Wants to Train You Some MoreMany came to not only learn more about virtualization, but to
add a few arrows to their quiver. Their goal: to make themselves more
attractive to their current employer, as well as prospective employers down the
road.

Obviously, the main topic was virtualization. But why attend
the show? "Being here allows you to speak to the experts and learn
different pieces of the virtualization technology," said Bruce Ahrendt,
security manager/network engineer for Restaurant Services, Inc., the supply
chain management firm for Burger King in Coral
Gables, Fla. "You’re
learning things that bridge the gaps in your own skills, while building a
resource set for you to become more attractive elsewhere." 

Virtual Contractors

Ahrendt attended the breakout on "Enabling Contractors
and Mobile
workers with VMware View" presented by Robert Baesman, a senior product
manger at VMware. He pointed out that 46 percent of enterprises support personal
mobile devices, and companies need ways to manage those devices, particularly
when it comes to issues such as external security and controlling access.     

Similar challenges pop up when managing consultants who work
from home. "This technology allows us to present that virtual desktop to
the contract worker’s PC that’s already built by us and managed by us," Baesman
said. "It allows us to leverage the infrastructure without security and
management risks."  

New Courses and
Certifications

Some attendees were concerned about the possibility that
eventually they’ll find themselves virtualized out of a job. "I think
virtualization will do for IT costs what the Internet did for productivity, and
it will change what IT spends its money for," says Jason Blue, with Virginia-based
defense contractor BAE Systems IS. "In a way, it’s scary for us from a job
standpoint, because anybody around the world can administer (a virtualized
system.)."    

Steve Netols, an instructor at Fox
Valley Technical
College in Appleton, Wis.,
said his institution’s IT program will begin offering a basic virtualization
class next year. "A lot of people don’t know how to create a VM environment,
or even what virtualization is," he says. As a technical community
college, Fox Valley has a number of students who’ve
lost jobs and are seeking to improve their skills so they can find a job again.

Meanwhile, VMware’s training and certification allows professionals
to progressively demonstrate their skill level to the point where they can implement
a complete data center virtualization.

The new wrinkle in the certification scheme introduced at
the show was a pair of mid-level certifications for "Advanced Datacenter
Administrator" and "Data Center Design." These complement two
existing certifications, the beginning-level "VMware Certified
Professional" and the "VCDX" expert level – in effect the black
belt of virtualization.

Each certification track has prep courses as well as exams
that cost $400 apiece. While some groaned when they heard the cost, presenter
John Hall responded, "With these certification programs, we are focused on
what we can do for companies that are looking for these qualified people."
In other words, VMware claims to run these programs not to make a bundle of
money, but to give employers a sense of security when they hire a certified
VMware expert.

Melissa Tuite, senior manager for technical certification at
VMware, said the certification programs "enable people to differentiate
their skill sets. We have 54,000 individuals going through our certification
program."

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