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

Insurance Squared Inc. gcooke at insurancesquared.com
Tue Jun 1 07:44:22 EDT 2010

I should also say that I wish you luck with it.

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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