[kwlug-disc] Is there, in fact, a Linux training market out there?

Robert P. J. Day rpjday at crashcourse.ca
Tue Jun 1 07:32:29 EDT 2010

  hi, folks.  i just recently finished another local linux gig and,
as usual, my thoughts once again turned to thoughts of training and
whether there's any potential training work out there while i look
around for my next contract.

  i posted the following to the TLUG mailing list since toronto is
such a massive potential market, but i figured it's worth posting
again here since i know way more people locally and i'm interested in

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 30 May 2010 08:37:17 -0400 (EDT)
From: Robert P. J. Day <rpjday at crashcourse.ca>
To: TLUG mailing list <tlug at ss.org>
Subject: Is there, in fact, a Linux training market out there?

  Warning:  This post is going to be somewhat (OK, a lot) self-serving
in terms of my looking for new Linux training gigs in Toronto, but I'm
also interested in the opinions of those who have had to deal with
that sort of thing.  And I'm typing this from the finish line stage of
the Toronto Criterium this morning so I might ramble a bit.

  Most people who know me know that I've been a professional Linux and
OSS trainer for many years -- taught both my own material to my own
clients, other peoples' material to my clients and other peoples'
material to their clients.  And the training market certainly seems to
be cyclical.

  Several years ago, training was in demand.  Now, not so much it
seems, which inspires me to ask the question -- is there a viable
Linux and Linux-related training market out there?  Or, even if there
is, has it already been snapped up by the big vendors so that there's
little point in trying to break in anymore?

  Case in point:  When I lived in the US years ago, I had a national
bank as a client, and I taught them several classes of intro and admin
AIX.  Not to sound unhumble, but they were terrifically happy with me;
that relationship lasted over a year until, one day, the director of
IT told me that they simply couldn't use me anymore.  The edict had
come down from head IT that the bank had centralized on exactly two
national training providers, and everyone else was simply dropped.
Apparently, it didn't matter that neither of them offered AIX classes,
or that the local IT manager went to bat for me.  It was just
simplification and that was that.

  The same thing happened a while back locally, where someone who had
been spectacularly happy with my instruction told me that, nationally,
they were switching to Red Hat for all their Linux training.  Can't
fault them, of course, Red Hat offers good courses -- I used to
contract teach for them during that stint in the US.  But, again, it
just takes what little there is left of the training market and makes
it even tinier.

  To make a long story short, I've always enjoyed writing and
delivering courseware, especially custom stuff based on *exactly* what
the client asked for.  And I thought (correctly or not) that there
might be a market out there for what I called "crash courses" (hence
my domain name), the idea being that some places just don't have the
time or budget to send people for 3/4/5 day classes and have a
*specific* training need that could be dealt with in a single day.  I
don't see the major vendors offering many single-day courses because
it's just not profitable for them, but for an independent trainer,
that represents a perfectly respectable market.

  So, back to the original issue -- I'd dearly love to get back to
making a living as a corporate Linux instructor, writing custom
courseware as the need arises and charging a fraction of what the
major vendors charge, simply because that would still represent a
perfectly good living.  But ... is there a market anymore?  Or has it
simply been swallowed by the big fish?  Thoughts?


P.S.  There is, of course, tons of good courseware out there on the
net for the taking.  Specifically, there's all of this stuff:


and I recently hooked up with those guys to start updating a lot of
that content and add more as the opportunity arises.  So, certainly,
if someone was looking for hands-on training on any of those topics, I
could grab the appropriate slides and labs, and update as necessary.
But is there a market?

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