With Linux bagging more “prime time” in the enterprise, there is now a growing demand in the region for certified professionals to work on major open-source projects. Open source solutions provider, Red Hat, says this is a key reason why it is ramping up its certification and training services for Linux professionals in the region. In mid-May, it announced that it is offering for the first time a high-level Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA).
The capstone certification course will provide hands-on, deep training for senior Linux system administrators deploying and managing multiple systems in large enterprise IT environments.
Red Hat has certified over 23,000 IT professionals globally, and of these a third are from Asia, remarks Peter Childers, vice-president of global learning services at the company.
The move to offer architect certification recognizes the demand in regional firms for professionals capable of managing increasingly high-profile and challenging open source projects.
This demand comes in part from firms transitioning from a Unix to Linux environment, Red Hat’s “sweet spot.” Childers added, “But we’re also seeing more and more people coming in with a Windows-only background, the MCSE and Novell-certified professionals.”
“There has been strong interest in open source solutions from government,” said Jamie Pride, Red Hat’s director for Asia Pacific Services. Academic institutions, too, are retooling their programs to include Linux. Pride added the firm is working with three Singapore polytechnics here on projects.
Typically, Linux is being deployed at the “edge of network” in areas such as mail and Web servers, as well as firewalls, but even this picture is beginning to change as open source takes up a more central position, said Pride. For instance, the vendor is working closely with Oracle Corp. on database services, and the February release of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux v.4 was aimed squarely at server and network competitors such as Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Solaris.
The architect course will be taught alongside Red Hat Certified Technician and Red Hat Certified Engineer courses to professionals in ASEAN at the company’s learning hub here. The facility is fully equipped with servers and necessary hardware to save company’s money if they need their staff to train on deploying Linux in, say, a storage area network environment. The courses also meet National Infocomm Competency Center (NICC) criteria, and they’re Citrep-certified. Citrep is an NICC program that aims to equip local IT professionals with critical skills. Eligible participants can get up to 50 per cent rebate on course and examination fees.
Singapore has loomed large in Red Hat’s business plans for the region in recent months. Besides the opening of the new training hub, the firm appointed Pride to spearhead its services strategy and management in early May. In January, the firm moved its sales and marketing headquarters to Singapore, in a move to put it in closer proximity to strategic partners. The next two to three months should see all the courses made available to professionals in the region, Pride said.
Childers added that Red Hat’s training schema is widely recognized as having brought a semblance of order to what was otherwise a rough-‘n’-ready training landscape: one characterized by too many training houses, little or no benchmarking and poor quality assurance.
This is why, he says, Red Hat saw gold in the opportunity to “change the face of IT education” when it began looking at certification six and a half years ago.
And this has helped raised trust levels among employers. “Basically, employers are not going to find that they have gone into a technology that is unsupported. All this means decreased risk for them.”