This test is meant to validate skills for cloud administrators of OpenStack, an open-source infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud. Why does it matter? OpenStack might be powerful, but also very difficult to deploy and manage.
As Red Hat's vice president of worldwide training Ken Goetz explained: "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," he said.
"Like any major technology shift, cloud computing has challenged companies to re-skill engineers and redefine culture and processes," said Jonathan Bryce, the OpenStack Foundation's executive director, in remarks. "The Certified OpenStack Administrator exam will help provide a target for cloud administrators who are in high demand as the number of organizations adopting OpenStack continues to grow."
Bryce added that the certification "targets the cloud talent gap."
The test is not easy. Bryce jokingly said the first people came out of the test "crying."
It's not just businesses, which are already invested in OpenStack, that see the need for a strong certification. LinkedIn has found that cloud computing was the 2015's hottest global skill. According to Computerworld's 2016 IT Salary Survey, cloud expert compensation is up 4.8 percent percent in 2016, And, by one IT job site's count, OpenStack job listings doubled in 2015.
To make sure that COA graduates have the right stuff, the COA is performance-based exam. It can be taken virtually, and anywhere in the world through the OpenStack Foundation and its training marketplace.
To pass the exam, a Certified OpenStack Administrator should have at least six months of OpenStack experience and has the skills required for day-to-day operations and management of an OpenStack cloud. To pick up the skills needed to get that kind of experience, there are dozens of training companies offering the course needed to gain the required skills and capabilities of a Certified OpenStack Administrator.
Red Hat delivers this training through its Red Hat Learning Subscription. Red Hat offers a full-stack Linux, OpenStack, and container set of classes. Unlike some of the many other companies offering training Red Hat's training is not vendor-neutral. Instead its courses focuses on real world Red Hat OpenStack Platform deployments and management.
The other companies, which can be found in the OpenStack Training Marketplace, are generally speaking taking a more vendor-neutral approach.
Initial training companies that will offer the COA exam include Canonical, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, The Linux Foundation, Mirantis, PLUMgrid, Rackspace, SUSE, and Tesora.
OpenStack is growing in acceptance and importance. Major companies such as AT&T, SAP, Verizon, and Volkswagen are betting their IT future on this cloud technology, IT professionals who want to secure their future careers will be well-advised to start learning OpenStack and work towards getting their COA.