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When it comes to OpenStack skills, enterprises are faced with a build or buy decision: build talent from within, or acquire the talent externally. It is no secret that filling open requisitions for Cloud-related IT jobs can be difficult, costly and time-consuming. And rarely does a new recruit require zero training whatsoever – there is almost always some sort of up-skilling necessary to properly on-board acquired talent. It is therefore important for IT managers to have access to effective training programs to adapt to the rapidly-changing world of private cloud and scalable infrastructure platforms.

So what defines an effective training program for OpenStack? We need to appreciate that OpenStack is an emerging technology. New versions are released much more regularly than established technologies like Linux. Attending a single 5 day class presents a risk that acquired skills can become outdated in just a few months as changes are made and new features released. Students are better served through continuous learning strategies like Red Hat’s Learning Subscription – a learning subscription where the user always has access to current content and hands-on labs.

Red Hat Learning Subscription has been a hit with our enterprise customer base because in addition to receiving updated learning, they also gain access to Red Hat’s full portfolio of curriculum, including Linux and other prerequisite content that anyone using OpenStack needs to know. This has real TCO implications – given that people costs can be the single largest cost in a typical private cloud implementation. Companies that can decrease the cost of acquiring and maintaining skills through subscription learning can achieve a better TCO.

Another important implication of the emerging nature of OpenStack is that there is sometimes a rift between product function and reality. Effective training should reflect this by incorporating use cases from the front lines. And those best poised to do that are the software vendors themselves – especially Red Hat, which has significant experience implementing and using OpenStack in real world production environments. And by extension, training should not be vendor-neutral but rather it should reflect the actual distribution the company is implementing or most likely to implement in production. Training must reflect the real world for it to have the most relevance.

To this point, we ran a comparative job trends search on Indeed.com using the top corporate contributors to the OpenStack Mitaka release to see what skills are most in-demand. When it comes to OpenStack skills, the market is currently looking for professionals with Red Hat skills over any other vendor, as noted in the graph below.

Chart created at Indeed.com

At Red Hat, we believe that our OpenStack offerings are only as good as the problems our customers can solve by using them. And therefore we believe the best measure of training effectiveness is how well it conveys real skills that drive real business outcomes on the job. This is why we put so much effort into our performance-based certification program at Red Hat. We offer two levels of certification for IT managers to validate OpenStack skills: the Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) and the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) in Red Hat OpenStack. Both are only achievable by passing a hands-on exam that requires students to demonstrate what they actually know. The tests are taken in secure, proctored environments that maintain a high level of integrity to help prevent cheating. We go to great lengths to offer meaningful certifications that deliver the most value back to the companies that invest in them.

All around the world, there are thousands of Red Hat certified OpenStack professionals. This is because Red Hat uniquely offers OpenStack training globally, in multiple formats (virtual, in-person, and self-paced), and in multiple languages. These are important considerations to global companies and IT managers with globally dispersed teams that are considering where to invest when it comes to OpenStack training and adoption. In 2015 alone, more than 10,000 IT professionals and partners worldwide accessed, enrolled in, or purchased OpenStack training from Red Hat.

The momentum doesn’t stop there. As customer deployments of Red Hat OpenStack Platform grow, we plan to continue expanding our training to fit the varied needs of our customers and the market. New training curriculum is currently being developed to accompany the general availability of Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8. Learn more about our OpenStack training offerings here, and follow the Red Hat Services Speak blog to keep up with the latest from Red Hat’s Training and Certification team.

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