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The Linux Foundation 2021 Predictions: Tech Training Trends - Remote Learning and Test Taking are Here to Stay

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

2021 Tech Training Trends: Remote Learning and Test Taking are Here to Stay

By Clyde Seepersad, SVP & General Manager, Training & Certification, The Linux Foundation

Looking back to late 2019, no one could have predicted the twists and turns we have all experienced in 2020. In some ways though, the new normal we are only beginning to become accustomed to makes it simpler to imagine what trends are going to continue versus those that are going to fall off.

For example, it is hard to imagine that everyone who has transitioned from full time office work to full or part time work from home will return to their old routines; that means cloud usage is not likely to ever drop back to pre-pandemic levels. Many people also find that they enjoy some of the contactless pickup options that have emerged, such as driving up to a retailer, clicking a button in a smartphone app and having your order brought out and placed directly in your vehicle. Or doing routine medical appointments that may not require a physical examination virtually rather than going into the doctor's office.

The thing that ties all of these changes in our daily lives together is how strongly they rely on relatively new technologies, especially the cloud. And considering that the cloud is mostly built on open source software including Linux and Kubernetes, in 2021 and the years beyond we foresee continued growth in demand for qualified open source talent. This is backed up by the recent 2020 Open Source Jobs Report from The Linux Foundation and edX, which found despite the pandemic, most organizations are keeping their open source recruitment efforts either the same or actually increasing them - and 93% of hiring managers are still struggling to find enough individuals qualified to work with these technologies.

This increase in technology adoption means organizations need to train employees on these technologies. That does not only mean the IT department or development team; a retail employee needs to understand how that curbside pickup app at least functions in order to get the right order to the right customer at the right time. The same could be said of restaurant workers as they rely more on delivery and take out orders. And a healthcare office administrator who may never have used Zoom in their lives may now be dealing with dozens of Zoom appointments a day. And countless companies and organizations will need to increase their backend technical talent in order to build out and maintain these systems over the long run.

There are also broader trends unrelated to the pandemic that will continue to accelerate. One in particular is shifts in the energy industry towards using software rather than hardware to manage distribution, similar to how the networking industry has evolved in this direction the past few years. While this will be a great benefit in terms of carbon reduction, it also requires significant reskilling of the workforce in order to train individuals in how to use these new technologies.

Of course, it is also more difficult than ever to gain new skills considering so many schools and exam centers remain closed. Although we never anticipated a situation like the one we are currently faced with due to COVID-19, The Linux Foundation has pioneered remote learning and testing for many years, and was one of the first organizations to offer remotely proctored certification exams. This has enabled us to continue offering robust training options to both individuals and organizations, as well as enabling folks to obtain verifiable, credible certifications to demonstrate their skills. The Open Source Jobs Report reinforces this approach, as 80% of employers this year reported offering online training to their teams, a significant increase from the 66% reporting this in 2018.

We have also honed in on the tech areas we foresee having the biggest impact and need, including cloud and containers, DevOps, and web and application development - all of which strongly reinforce all these trends - with new courses and certifications in recent months. We have offered more free introductory courses than ever before to help folks get started, and also increased the number of scholarships we award by more than 1,500% to help those affected by the pandemic. Finally, we have an entry-level IT certification - the Linux Foundation Certified IT Associate - in development, which should be available by the end of 2020, which will help even more individuals get their technology careers started.

Even when things eventually normalize, we anticipate online training and certification offerings will remain popular. The flexibility they offer by eliminating the need to travel to a classroom or exam center makes them more accessible and affordable to both individuals and organizations. The demand for expertise in open source and emerging technologies is not going to decrease anytime soon as more businesses move from traditional models to essentially becoming technology companies themselves. There simply are not enough qualified individuals out there to meet current demand, let alone increasing demand for talent. This means it is essential that quality technology training be available to anyone who wants it, and that is what we will continue striving to accomplish.

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About the Author

Clyde Seepersad, SVP & GM, Training & Certification, The Linux Foundation

Clyde Seepersad 

Clyde Seepersad is responsible for the training and certification arms of The Linux Foundation. The goal of the team is to provide high-quality training and skills development to the open source community. Over the past decade Clyde has held senior leadership positions in the education space, most recently as head of operations at 360training.com and before that as a senior executive of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a global leader in education.

Prior to his involvement in education, Clyde was a Principal at the Boston Consulting Group, a global strategic consultancy known for its cutting-edge thinking and value creation for clients. He started his career in the public sector, working within the Ministry of Finance in Trinidad and Tobago. He holds an MBA and a Masters in Economics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Published Monday, October 26, 2020 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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