The Culture of Business
This is the first part of a mini-series about Technology in San Antonio.
The Open Cloud Academy
The Open Cloud Academy to the layperson might sound like a school for dreamers and although this academy is filled with dreamers, their dreams are of grounded processes and practices to ensure websites and applications work properly. These students will be working in jobs such as system administrators using open cloud technologies. The cloud refers to the collection of servers and networks that houses the large amounts of data now on the internet. If you have ever uploaded a YouTube video, used a mobile app, or streamed a movie on Netflix, you have used the cloud. Managing all of that data is a large task. It is estimated that by 2015, 7 million positions will be created in the cloud-related jobs. This exploding field, however, is facing a serious drought of applicants. In 2012, an estimated 1.7 million jobs went unfilled. San Antonio’s own Rackspace, a cloud hosting company on Fortune’s “100 best companies to work for” is making great strides to combat this workforce shortage. By creating a school called the Open Cloud Academy, they are supplementing the virtual cloud with much needed talent not only to combat the current drought, but to prepare for the future expansions. On June 14, at Rackspace’s headquarters, also nicknamed “The Castle,” the inaugural class of 17 students celebrated their graduation. The Academy, open to just about anyone with an interest in learning IT, currently focuses on teaching Linux, however, they plan to offer certifications for software development, network security and cyber security in the future.
What does this mean for San Antonio?
In 2010, a series of public forums developed goals for improving San Antonio by 2020. This culminated in establishing SA2020 as a non-profit organization with the mission to catalyze the entire community into focused action to transform San Antonio into a world-class city. This mission focuses on eleven key areas including economic development and education. Open Cloud Academy directly addresses two of these key areas by providing affordable IT training, and bolstering San Antonio’s workforce skills and ability to find quality jobs both inside and out of Rackspace. Sheryl Sculley, the city manager said in a speech at the graduation, “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.” In much the same way as the internet allowed for a boom in opportunities for entrepreneurs so does cloud computing lay the ground work for the next generation of technology savvy entrepreneurs to drive us into the future.
What does this mean for businesses?
A study commissioned by Rackspace found that 66% of companies are looking to increase their employee’s IT skills. Although many companies are looking to expand their IT departments a recent survey by Price Water House Coopers found that companies thinking about expanding say they can’t find employees with the right skills. Graham Weston, Rackspace chairman says, “The cloud era represents a huge opportunity and it requires a specific, and critical skill set for this to be fully realized. As cloud adoption increases, companies stand to reduce IT costs and become more agile. However, with not enough people properly trained in these cutting-edge technologies, organizations are missing the boat.” The Open Cloud Academy does not just add benefit to job seekers looking to expand their skills, but also to companies looking towards the future. Cloud services provide solutions for large corporations spanning across drastically different industries to achieve cost-savings, expand their businesses and decrease their carbon footprints. San Antonio will not only be a fantastic place to find IT workers, but it is also laying the groundwork for those dreamers with their heads stuck in the clouds, and those dreamers trained in the cloud.