Lack of Qualified Linux Talent Impedes Enterprise Move to the Clouds

Even in these changing times of shuttered shops and pandemic-driven corporate layoffs, a flood of tech jobs goes unfilled due to a lack of Linux skills among IT workers.

That combination is contributing to a slowdown or delay in enterprise plans to migrate their local computing base to public cloud operations, as an already existing Linux tech pool gap has widened since the pandemic.

A Cloud Guru (ACG) hopes to fill that growing gap in trained Linux techs. ACG launched its new flagship cloud training platform this summer to address the shortage of tech workers needing Linux-based cloud training. It offers a comprehensive, hands-on, effective solution through a cloud-based learning platform.

This new platform stems, in part, from assets acquired as part of ACG’s December 2019 acquisition of Linux Academy (LA). The new ACG platform combines the strengths and benefits of both ACG and LA products to offer an innovative solution for leveraging cloud skills among individual learners and enterprise teams.

Cloud services have been on a sharp increase as businesses of all sizes adopt cloud computing to gain a competitive edge. In fact, 80 percent are quickly ramping up cloud adoption in response to the current pandemic.

IT decision-makers say the primary challenge to optimizing cloud adoption and maturity is a lack of skilled talent. Eighty-six percent agree that a shortage of qualified talent will slow down their cloud projects this year.

Traditional education is not equipping the workforce with the needed skills to be successful in IT careers, according to said ACG co-founder and CEO Sam Kroonenburg.

“Modern technology requires a modern approach to education, and both ACG and Linux Academy have pioneered the transformation of technical learning,” he said.

More Jobs, Few Qualified Takers

The Linux Foundation has been working to address the shortage of Linux talent for many years with a combination of training and certification exams.

Despite this, the breathtaking growth in Linux adoption, especially as the de facto OS of the cloud, means that there is still a shortage of qualified talent, according to Clyde Seepersad, senior vice president and general manager for training and certification at The Linux Foundation (LF).

“We are always supportive of developments in the training ecosystem which help address this gap. In particular, we are finding that demand for our performance-based certification exams continues to be gated by individuals not feeling adequately prepared,” he told LinuxInsider.

LF’s certification exams include Certified Kubernetes Administrator, Certified Kubernetes Application Developer, Linux Foundation Certified SysAdmin, and Linux Foundation Certified Engineer.

“ACG and LA both have excellent reputations for the quality of their open-source training content so we are pleased to see them come together to better serve the talent development needs of the open-source software ecosystem,” he added.

Blended Goals

ACG and the Linux Academy combined resources in this new platform, according to Justin Talerico, chief marketing officer at A Cloud Guru. The new course catalog is 300 percent larger than ACG’s previous catalog. It combines courses and modules on Linux, Kubernetes, security and containers – content previously available only on Linux Academy – with ACG content on cloud technologies like AWS, Azure, and GCP.

“Many of the courses now include Linux Academy’s learn-by-doing components, meaning learners have access to 1,500 hands-on labs that put them into real-world cloud environments where they can hone their skills,” he told LinuxInsider.

An updated ACG for Business platform also enables organizations to accelerate continuous tech skills development at scale through skills assessments, specialized learning paths, and certification accelerators, he added.

In all content and operations, Linux Academy is now completely under the ACG umbrella. The company continues to support and enhance its Linux Academy solution for existing Linux Academy customers, and it expects to migrate users to the new ACG platform over the course of the next year. All new customers will be onboarded directly onto the new ACG platform, he explained.

Why the Acquisition?

ACG heard from customers that they loved Linux Academy and ACG for two different reasons. Linux Academy specialized in hands-on learning experiences for a range of technical subjects in the cloud and beyond. ACG provided engaging methods of teaching cloud content at all levels.

“We saw an opportunity to bring these two benefits — the way content was consumed on Linux Academy and the way content was taught on ACG — together to provide customers with the most robust tech skills development platform on the market,” Seepersad explained.

The resulting platform incorporates Linux Academy’s learn-by-doing approach into all courses that are taught with ACG’s focus on entertaining and engaging teaching methods.

In order to remain competitive, enterprises need employees who are skilled in a breadth of technology skills, including Linux. Training individuals in these skills provides advantages for both businesses and individuals, noted Seepersad.

Businesses can easily upskill existing employees. Individuals get a competitive leg up in a fast-growing industry.

Migrating From On-Premises

Cloud involvement is big money for enterprise operations. Companies are investing billions of dollars migrating workloads to the public cloud. Yet the vast majority of workloads are still on-premises.

“Many IT leaders find their cloud projects stall after migrating a few workloads,” remarked ACG’s Talerico.

Migrating to the public cloud provides a number of advantages. Businesses are able to scale their operations more quickly and efficiently — often at a lower cost. They are afforded best-in-class computing power, storage, networks, and databases.

“Transitioning infrastructure from an on-premises data center to the cloud is often the best choice for companies, provided they have enough skilled employees to manage the transition,” Talerico said.

That migration process often confronts problems, in part, because skilled cloud techs are not available, he added. Cloud efforts often slow or stall due a shortage of qualified talent.

“At the end of the day, skilled IT teams are the enablers of cloud transformation. Hiring within a skills gap is slow and expensive. It is cheaper and faster for companies to invest in current employees. But until now, there has not been a comprehensive solution for IT skills assessment and development,” he explained.

Guru To the Rescue

ACG’s new cloud-learning platform is uniquely positioned to address this growing issue. Modern technology requires a modern approach to education, and both ACG and Linux Academy have pioneered the transformation of technical learning.

“With our combined platform, we are poised to accelerate our impact and close the tech skills gap, solving the single biggest problem facing CIOs, CTOs, and Learning and Development leaders today,” Talerico said.

One of the primary hurdles to cloud skills development is figuring out where to begin. IT leaders need to identify employee knowledge gaps if they want to scale their business operations to the cloud, he added.

Another way the platform mitigates operational challenges is by giving employees a chance to experiment in cloud environments where mistakes are integral to the learning process. This provides a huge advantage for companies that normally have employees learn on-the-go in live cloud situations.

“This creates a risky scenario where one mistake could derail an entire project,” commented Talerico.

Different Approach

ACG’s learning platform has a large technology skills content library. Engaging and entertaining instructors teach the cloud skills courses. Instructors tailor the content to varying levels of understanding.

The platform’s content is also updated regularly so it stays current in the quickly shifting cloud industry. Finally, the hands-on learning model puts individuals into real-world cloud environments and allows them to experiment with different technologies in ways that are not available elsewhere.

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open-source technologies. He is an esteemed reviewer of Linux distros and other open-source software. In addition, Jack extensively covers business technology and privacy issues, as well as developments in e-commerce and consumer electronics. Email Jack.

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