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

Insurance Squared Inc. gcooke at insurancesquared.com
Tue Jun 1 07:43:18 EDT 2010

I have no experience in that market,but do believe the training market 
is competitive.  I would suggest the following three things for 
- target corporations who may pay to send their ee's.
- target or create credentials
- package niche packages, like rather than linux training, run sessions 
on apache.  Or how to set up and admin a mail server for a busy ISP or 
large corp.  Or whatever else it is that people use linux for in 
corporate environments.

Part of the problem may be (I'm guessing) is that linux us mostly self 
taught then pulled into the corps rather than the corp deciding to 'go' 
linux and pushing their employees out to train them (which I think they 
do with MS products).  So corps hire linux people with existing skills 
rather than paying to train them.  Which brings up another maybe - are 
there 'upgrades' you can sell to linux ee's?  Like, office 2007 comes 
out so you create a course people can take for when the corp rolls out 
office 2007.  What's the upgrade counterpart in linux?

And lastly, one can always try delivering this stuff online rather than 
in person, create canned courses one can take whenever/wherever they want.

On 01/06/10 07:32 AM, Robert P. J. Day wrote:
>    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
> feedback.
> ---------- 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?
> rday
> 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:
>    http://free-electrons.com/docs/
> 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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