Cynics will say that Rackspace’s creation of Open Cloud Academy is self-serving, but that doesn’t mean it won’t help tech professionals who want to expand their skills. Rackspace, after all, is a player in the open cloud world, and offering courses based on its internal training programs looks like a logical way to share hints of the company’s thinking about its services specifically, and cloud practices in general. The six- and eight-week courses will be held at Rackspace’s headquarters in San Antonio, Texas.
Rackspace says it plans to hire about a third of those who complete the course work, and it will review the resume of every student, said Deborah Carter, program manager for the academy.
There’s no argument about whether there are more jobs than available experts to fill them in the cloud world right now. IDC says 1.7 million cloud jobs went unfilled last year and estimates there’ll be as many as 7 million cloud positions by 2015. But even while employers bemoan the shortage of qualified candidates, they can’t come to a consensus about the importance of training, or whether they prefer skills over experience, or experience over skills.
Where Do You Go?
Either way, Rackspace thinks that skills are important, but there’s not an affordable way to get them. And whether employers put more stock in skills or experience, entry-level people need to at least know the basics. ”What if you just got a computer-science degree, and you wanted to do some cloud training, where would you go?” asked Rackspace Chairman Graham Weston in CRN. “There’s not a good answer right now.”
Alas, “affordable” to Weston means roughly $3,500 per six- to eight-week class. That’s more than $1,000 over what Cloudera and Hortonworks charge for their Hadoop administrator training courses, but those only run three days. And, you’ll have to be in San Antonio to take the Rackspace classes, so be prepared to incur some expenses for room and board.
Veterans and recent college grads are considered likely students for the program, as well as more experienced IT workers who need to boost their marketability. In a video on the company blog, instructor Nathan Isburgh said applicants can start with basically no IT knowledge.
However, they will need CompTIA’s A+ and Network+ certifications, which they can get through a self-study program that Rackspace will offer online, Carter said. The first courses will focus on Linux, and others covering open-cloud software development technologies and paths will follow. Plans call for covering services and applications such as the LAMP stack in Linux, Mongo, Hadoop and OpenStack, plus Ruby and Python. Beyond Linux, blocks covering cyber and network security and software development are still being developed.
“They will leave with Linux Plus and the RHCSA, which is the Red Hat Certified System Administrator and the Rackspace System Administrator certification that we’re going to start offering to highlight the workflow processes and tools you need to be a successful admin in Open Cloud,” Carter said.