[OpenStack Foundation] OpenStack Training and Certification

Jonathan Bryce jonathan at openstack.org
Thu Jun 6 21:53:37 UTC 2013

At the last Board meeting, we discussed training and certification around OpenStack. This topic first came up last year, and a working group of interested volunteers formed to discuss options and plans that might make sense for the community and Foundation. At the Board meeting, the working group sought input from the Board to be able to move forward with creating more detailed plans. There are definitely different schools of thought, but rather than try to recount the discussions during the Board meeting, I'll let the various participants speak for themselves.

There appears to be a lot of support for the idea of using the Foundation's resources to do more to promote the third party training already going on in the ecosystem (and to encourage even more), and with some clear guidelines for participation I think we can make progress on that quickly. As proposed to the Board, this would take the form of a marketing program that would work similarly to the existing "Powered by OpenStack" and "OpenStack Distribution" marketing programs. For example, XYZ training company could offer "Training for OpenStack" if they met a few high level requirements, such as "the primary purpose of the program should be training students to contribute to OpenStack, operate an OpenStack cloud or build applications for OpenStack clouds."

The stickier issue is the question of credentialing and certifications. It's clear there is demand from individuals who wish to pursue some kind of OpenStack credential (e.g. "OpenStack Certified Engineer") to build up a resume, and clearly there is also demand from employers to find and hire qualified OpenStack experts. The key questions are to what extent some standardization with respect to credentialing would benefit the community and ecosystem (vs. having a proliferation of 3rd party certification programs that are unique), and second what role the Foundation should play.

The proposal presented in the Board meeting[1] recommended that the Foundation work with training companies in the ecosystem to develop and introduce globally available certification tests covering some of the key fundamentals of OpenStack technology. These would provide a baseline standard that employees and employers can rely on and be widely available around the world through third-party testing centers. Beyond that, additional advanced, specialized or product-specific certifications would come to market from various companies in the ecosystem, to validate one's knowledge of a specific OpenStack-powered product, such as a distribution or appliance. In this scenario, an ecosystem member could offer training that helps students pass the baseline "OpenStack Certified" test, but also differentiate by the method of delivery, content or advanced/specialized training and certifications on top of the baseline. This approach raises a question of trademark usage and if the OpenStack word mark could be used in this context by ecosystem companies for their certification product names. In other words, if there is a baseline credential ("OpenStack Certified Engineer") would Company XYZ be able to offer their own credentialing product incorporating the OpenStack word mark ("XYZ Certified Engineer for OpenStack "). 

Coming out of the Board meeting, the staff and working group are going to proceed with filling in more details in the proposed plan for presentation at a future meeting while also continuing the discussion with those who have concerns about downsides of the approach. You can contact me directly if you'd like to get involved on an ongoing basis in the working group.

This topic can be complicated to navigate, and this is really a fairly brief summary of it. Please contribute to the discussion and let us know what you think, or if you have specific questions or would like more details. As we see the demand around the world for OpenStack knowledge it's clear this is an important item to tackle. Thanks,


[1] http://www.slideshare.net/laurensell/training-pdf-22565428

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