Telecom has been in a skills race -- some would say a skills battle -- for some time now. The need for new IT-related skills outpaces the availability of talent in many companies and pressures today's more telecom-skilled workers to adapt or become irrelevant.
Virtualization has layered on additional training challenges and the Open Networking Foundation is now stepping up, into the training gap, to establish a set of credentials by which SDN skills and knowledge will be measured. (See ONF to Announce SDN Skills Certification Program.)
All this is happening even as the ONF continues to develop and define SDN technology itself, which shows how important this training piece is.
"We know things are changing dramatically," says Rick Bauer, technical program manager of the ONF. "And companies today are offering certification for their flavor of SDN -- but that doesn't help in the long run."
So what the ONF wants to do is establish credentials and the appropriate test alongside its evolving standards and then update the training as things change.
The ONF won't do the training itself, preferring to leave that to organizations skilled in how to do technical teaching and training. But it will provide those teaching groups with the guidelines for what should be taught and the testing criteria itself.
By early next year, the organization expects to have two flavors of its certification set to go, one for ONF-Certified SDN Engineers (OCSE) and one for ONF-Certified SDN Associates (OCSA).
The former gets into engineering-level knowledge at the entry level for SDN technologies and architectures, while the latter is aimed more at the conceptual level of understanding.
As part of our interview, Bauer challenged me to step up and take the OCSA training and I have to admit, it's intriguing to see what this aging brain could absorb. Of course, I'd write about the whole process. Maybe we could even get a little Light Reading staff competition going, to see who could score the highest. My money is on Dan O'Shea, who masters technical details with skill.
If you are a regular reader, who would you pick as LR's most likely ONF-certified smart SDN person? Tell us in your comments.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading