Here comes the OpenStack training wave, as The VAR Guy predicted a few days ago. This first wave comes from Rackspace (NYSE: RAX). But more waves are coming -- especially as the OpenStack Summit approaches next month. Here's the update.

Let's start with some background. If you're a Linux professional, you stand a pretty good chance of landing an attractive job, as we reported last month. And if you also boast cloud-computing skills, your odds of gainful employment might be doubly good. That's according to a survey out this week from Rackspace. Now, the question that remains is how to increase the supply of professionals with vital skills like these.

Rackspace commissioned Vanson Bourne and Manchester Business School to conduct the survey, which it based on 1300 companies in the United States and the United Kingdom. While this area of focus means the results may not be totally representative of the global cloud-computing industry, they do provide some particularly useful insight into demand for cloud-computing talent in two of the largest markets. Key findings include:

  • 66 percent of respondents are searching for IT staff with cloud-computing expertise.
  • 56 percent were unaware of cloud-computing courses for IT professionals interested in improving their skills in this area.
  • 42 percent have hired professionals for their cloud-computing talent in particular.
  • 79 percent think universities should include cloud-computing in their courses.

Along with the survey results, Rackspace announced the first pilot program of its Open Cloud Academy, which it describes as "an educational program designed to provide students with affordable IT certifications, specifically around open cloud technologies." It says the initiative will help to bridge the skill gap among IT professionals when it comes to the cloud.

Rackspace promises that Open Cloud Academy will serve as a fast-track solution for providing the expertise IT professionals need to deploy and manage cloud-computing environments. It will provide certifications, and "will have a focus on former military and university graduates," according to Rackspace.

The educational initiative comes on the heels of similar endeavors by Rackspace in recent months, such as a partnership with community colleges in Texas to train students in open source cloud computing based on OpenStack. It also delivered OpenStack training at MIT earlier this year.

Closing the cloud-computing skill gap completely is likely a larger task than Rackspace can achieve on its own. Still, the company clearly believes that open source cloud computing education is key to its own prospects, as it has been investing heavily to make that education available. Will other channel partners follow suit?