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How Difficult is it to Hire IT Workers with Virtualization Skills?

When looking through resumes, it isn't often that you'll find someone who lists virtualization skills - let along specifically list out things such as VMware ESX, VI3, Microsoft Virtual Server, Xen or the like.  In my own search, I've found people who simply list VMware as one of their skillsets, but when asked questions, they typically have used Workstation to launch a virtual machine.  That's great, but in an enterprise situation, you need more than someone who has powered on a virtual machine.  And that's where the problems start.  Finding someone familiar with the technology who can architect a solution or manage a virtual farm isn't that easy. 

VMware stated that this year's VMworld conference was up in participation from 7000 to 10,000.  While at the show, I had an opportunity to speak to a lot of those people.  What I found was that there were many people in attendance who were there scouting for information.  So, of that 10,000, how many were actually "virtualization users" as opposed to virtualization scouts?  And of those people who are gurus in a sense, how many are actually looking for a job?

ComputerWorld is posing similar questions.

As more organizations adopt server virtualization software, they’re also looking to hire people who have worked with the technology in live applications.

But such workers can be hard to find, as Joel Sweatte, IT manager at East Carolina University’s College of Technology and Computer Science, recently discovered when he placed a help-wanted ad for an IT systems engineer with virtualization skills.

Sweatte received about 40 applications for the job at the Greenville, N.C.-based university, but few of the applicants had any virtualization experience, and he ended up hiring someone who had none. “I’m fishing in an empty ocean,” Sweatte said.

To give his new hire a crash course in virtualization, Sweatte brought him to market leader VMware Inc.’s annual user conference in San Francisco last month. “That’s a major expenditure for a university,” Sweatte said of the conference and travel costs. “[But] I wanted him to take a drink from the fire hose.”

Sweatte isn’t the only IT manager who has had trouble finding workers who already have virtualization skills. VMware said its VMworld 2007 conference drew more than 10,000 people — up from about 7,000 at last year’s event. But it was common to find conference attendees who were new to virtualization and largely self-taught on the technology.

Read the entire ComputerWorld article, here.

Published Monday, October 01, 2007 5:57 AM by David Marshall
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Comments
Brent Hughes - October 1, 2007 9:11 AM

Very good article. I have four years of virtualization experience now and have been with the same company for three years. The company I work for understands what virtualization provides and has no issue with training. At VMWorld this year I also noticed a lack of experienced virtualization users, but networked until I found the guru's. You will find the majority of the guru's in the advanced seminar's or at least that is what I signed up for. Most of the seminars should suffice for someone new to virtualization. I highly recommend networking outside of the seminar with other companies. As for the pain of finding virtualization experience that may continue here in the United States. It seems to be progressing slower in comparison to our International counterparts. It almost seemed that the majority of the attendees this year were from overseas. The expectation is that 12,000 users will be at VMWorld 2008. Sooner or later the experience should catch up with the demand.

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