Last year, open source software and services company Obsidian Systems partnered with Red Hat, ICT training service provider CTU Training Solutions and the MICT Seta, to help source 20 potential Red Hat Linux system administrators and open source professionals.
Out of 20 enrolled students, 15 completed the learnership programme successfully. Five received the international RHSAC, while the other 10 qualified with a national certificate in IT systems support.
The companies yesterday joined the newly certified RHSAC learners in celebrating their achievement in Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg. The learners, Piet Gaohose, Nonhlanhla Khutane, Lethabo Mashile, Bellinda Chabalala and Vukosi Hlungwani, are now the first group of qualified Red Hat Linux system administrators from the programme.
Muggie van Staden, MD of Obsidian Systems, says the company understands the market requirement for IT candidates to possess structured practical experience and in-depth theoretical background.
"We are encouraging candidates to pursue a career in IT and become certified and qualified professionals who are able to add value to South African businesses that have adopted Linux as a foundation, in a rapidly changing world of IT. The demand for open source skills is driven by the increased relevance of this software within the local market."
Open source technology, he continued, is now firmly positioned at the forefront of ICT infrastructure development strategies at enterprise level. It is now considered a viable, credible and easily supported alternative operating system.
"The IT skills gap is a massive challenge in our country, and most of the big IT organisations take skills from each other and very few of them invest in skills development through similar learnership programmes. Lynx is the one core skill that is required in various disciplines such as big data, DevOps, cloud computing, etc. More businesses are having to streamline operations, reduce cost, operate more productively and efficiently through open source," he explained.
The learnership ran for 12 months, with the learners attending classroom lessons for the first six months, and the other six months consisting of in-house training at Obsidian offices.
Subjects included business communication, administering Windows servers and Linux administration. Two of the learners have been placed at Obsidian as technical consultants, and the company says it is actively helping the other three candidates to also get placed.
"The fact that this is the first of its kind learnership in SA reflects the increasing popularity of open source and the desire for companies to bring in skilled individuals to help administrate these systems to enhance operations. We are very proud of the learners and we are excited to be a part of their journey into the growing open source market. We are confident they will establish themselves and add value to the market very quickly," Van Staden concluded.