OSS popularity spurs training demand

With more companies moving to open source and demanding such expertise, one Singapore polytechnic steps up to include Linux training in its curriculum.

SINGAPORE--The shift among local organizations toward open source software (OSS) is driving more IT professionals to undergo additional training to equip themselves with the right skills.

For example, Yuma Tejima, telecom manager for Asia at Genesys Conferencing, was keen on the Certificate of Performance in Enterprise Linux Administration (Copela) because his employer was preparing to move from SCO to the Red Hat Linux platform.

Offered by Singapore Polytechnic (SP), Copela, the course is designed for IT system administrators who need to manage Linux servers and is based on the Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT). The polytechnic offers the course as part of Singapore's National Infocomm Competency Framework (NICF), which aims to help ICT professionals upgrade their skills.

Tejima is one of the first 31 working professionals who successfully earned a Copela, which can be completed in 17 weeks. The course is also offered as part of a six-month option, called the Professional Conversion Programme for System Administrators, which is designed to equip infocomm professionals and mid-career switchers with the expertise to embark as open source system administrators.

Another Copela graduate, Michael Goh, senior telecoms and quality manager at InterCall, said his company is moving some of its servers to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Tan Hang Cheong, principal of SP, told ZDNet Asia that the school had studied the market prior to starting the course. It found that many enterprises in Singapore were looking to adopt OSS and wanted a higher level of OSS expertise.

"This certification helps to provide that," Tan said.

Although the course is based on Red Hat's flavor of Linux, both Tejima and Goh said it still helps them transcend their abilities across various open source operating systems.

The Red Hat OS was built based on the Unix platform, which is common among OSS operating systems, Tejima noted.

Goh described the course as "hands-on", extending beyond classroom lectures to include lab assessments and exposing students to real-world system tasks such as kernel updates. These helped students see how the technology works, make changes to modules or compile their own modules, as well as learn how to test and run their own software, he explained.

According to Goh, the open source technology skills acquired through the course have enhanced his market value as an IT professional. "I am now a more valuable asset to my company, as is evident from my ability to handle a wider scope of Linux-related work," he said.