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You say you're an Ansible expert, wise guy? Come and prove it

RH-owned automation vendor draws up certification scheme

App automation bods Ansible will launch a formal training and certification program in May, making it a little easier for employers to work out who really does know their onions when it comes to the continuous delivery platform.

Companies are reportedly looking for expertise in skills like DevOps, Automation, and Continuous Delivery, and jacking up salaries to match.

At the same time, many of the upstart vendors in the sector are yet to reproduce their traditional rivals’ thickets of training and certification programs.

Ansible GM Todd Barr told us at Ansible Fest last week that the automation vendor planned to introduce a formal training course through its new-ish owner Red Hat sometime this spring.

“[It] will be in the Red Hat global learning network….Classroom online multiple languages, the whole deal,” he said. “And then they [Red Hat] will have certification for Ansible expertise.”

Gven that Ansible pushes itself on the how easy it is to get up to speed with its platform, it will be a “one size fits all” cert, designed to demonstrate competence on the product.

“The Red Hat Certified Engineer’s a very distinguished certification. It’s difficult, you have to know your stuff,”he said. “We want you to know your stuff but Ansible shouldn’t be hard to learn.”

At the same time, the company’s ambitions are to connect all the infrastructure silos in companies. It really expanded its platform to offer deeper integration with networking kit, for example.

“I’m sure we’ll do custom advanced training for people who want to learn to write modules,” Barr continued. “Now that we’re doing networking and Windows, there might be some tracks for people who want to go off and do those things

James Smith, CEO at Cardiff-based transformation consultancy The DevOps Guys, said he accepted the need for certifications that could demonstrate technical proficiency on particular tools. “Where we have an issue, is where you try to certify the philosophy.”

More to the point, he continued, to really understand automation you had to be intimately familiar with real systems in real environments: “You can’t distil 15 years' experience into two days in the classroom.”

In the traditional software world, the evolution of certifications and training go hand in hand with more formal channel policies.

Barr said many of its customers had established partners, and it was happy to fulfil through them. At the same time, he said, Red Hat was about “60 per cent partnership” and “we’ll work through those same channels that Red Hat has.”

But, he continued, “the ones we’re really focusing on are the solution provider who has a devops competency or some sort of agile competency.”

Of course, the problem there is how you quantify a partner’s competency in automation, devops, etc. If Ansible gets the traction it’s gunning for, we can probably expect a more formal accreditation scheme for its partners before too long. ®

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