Garrett Heath

Online 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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Garrett Heath

Garrett Heath blogs for Rackspace and is the Average Joe that started SA Flavor. He loves San Antonio, especially eating at mom and...