Academy Launches First Batch of Grads Into the Open Cloud

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Emcee Larry Reyes at the Open Cloud Academy's first graduation ceremony. Photo by Garrett Heath.

Garrett HeathOnline users hate it when their favorite website is down, a shopping cart freezes or that cute LOL cat won’t load.

The talented people who ensure websites and applications work properly are called system administrators. Many work with open cloud technologies and are of increasingly high demand. However, many of the networking and troubleshooting skills required for this field are not taught in traditional classroom settings.

Globally, about seven million cloud-related jobs will be created by 2015, but an estimated 1.7 million jobs in this field went unfilled in 2012, according to an International Data Corporation report.

To help solve this problem, Rackspace Hosting created the Open Cloud Academy at the Weston Centre downtown, an eight-week crash course into Linux, a popular open source technology.

Open Cloud Academy Graduates

Open Cloud Academy’s class of June 2013. Photo by Garrett Heath.

Today, the 17 students of the inaugural class celebrated their graduation at Rackspace’s headquarters, also called “The Castle.”

Graduates took a variety of technical classes to prepare them for the information technology workforce, including: A+, Network+, Linux+, Apache, MySQL, Rackspace System Administration, Cloud Basics and Critical Thinking. With their newfound knowledge, graduates have many opportunities awaiting them – several have already been hired.

“When you think about Linux talent and you look at a source like Career Builder, there are 40,000 jobs posted on average per month for people with a Linux skill set,” said Larry Guillory, vice president of Rackspace Talent Management.

As far as career growth, Guillory said, individuals with a Linux background have an average year-over-year salary increase of five percent.

Emcee Larry Reyes at the Open Cloud Academy's first graduation ceremony. Photo by Garrett Heath.

Emcee Larry Reyes at the Open Cloud Academy’s first graduation ceremony. Photo by Garrett Heath.

The eight-week courses cost students an average of $3,500. The next round of Linux courses start in July. Over the next several years, the Academy will begin to offer new coursework/certification tracks for Network SecurityCyber SecuritySoftware Development, Windows System Administration and DevOps (development and operations).

City Manager Sheryl Sculley attended the graduation ceremony and said she felt that the Open Cloud Academy helps fulfill the promise of SA2020, the citywide initiative-turned-nonprofit organization started by Mayor Julián Castro, who is now a board member of the initiative.

“We see (the academy) as a step forward to the realization of the vision we had for our city, to make (San Antonio) a great place to live and work and to grow more entrepreneurs and innovators here in the community,” Sculley told the crowd.

City Manager Sheryl Sculley address the crowd at the Open Cloud Academy's first graduation ceremony. Photo by Garrett Heath.

City Manager Sheryl Sculley address the crowd at the Open Cloud Academy’s first graduation ceremony. Photo by Garrett Heath.

Government incentives alone are not enough to attract businesses to move to San Antonio. “The right person for the job is what will set San Antonio apart from other cities in retaining and growing jobs in the future,” Sculley said.

The Academy not only offers a level of training to ensure graduates have those desirable skills, but also increases the ability for people to find quality jobs.

Open Cloud Academy graduate Tyler Dolliver accepts his certificate. Photo by Garrett Heath.

Open Cloud Academy graduate Tyler Dolliver accepts his certificate. Photo by Garrett Heath.

“The academy was a fantastic head start into the IT world,” new graduate Tyler Dolliver said.

“I had no knowledge of Linux before and now I feel really comfortable with it, to the point that I could work at a place supporting that,” he said. “Open source operating systems are powerful because you can get down into the nitty gritty of customizing them to run how you want them to.”

To find out more information about current and upcoming coursework, visit their website at www.opencloudacademy.rackspace.com.

 

Garrett Heath blogs for Rackspace and is the Average Joe that started SAFlavor. He loves San Antonio, especially eating at mom and pop Mexican food restaurants. Find him on TwitterFacebookPinterest and Google+.

 

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4 thoughts on “Academy Launches First Batch of Grads Into the Open Cloud

  1. I wonder how many people that tried to enroll in the first class already have their A+ and Network+ certifications and are thus ready to enroll for the 2nd class, and if they miss that deadline, the 3rd class . If enrollment is based on a first come, first served approach, you have to figure that these classes will fill up very quickly. I hope the Academy can recruit more educators in the near future to accommodate for a larger class of students than the present maximum of 20.

  2. In my theme to call a spade a spade…

    The program was created for Rackspace to develop talent that would understand their proprietary code. Since we are short of coders in San Antonio, Rackspace created this truly as a recruitment tool.

    Sneaky.

    But hey, you must do what you must do, I suppose.

  3. Amazon and IBM are doing the same thing. The question here is if a good portion of San Antonio’ population derives a benefit from such a program.

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