Leaders say removing the financial barrier to professional training can open up the tech world to a more diverse workforce.
Blacks In Technology Foundation (BIT) is offering 200 scholarships for open-source certifications for members in partnership with The Linux Foundation.
The scholarships are open to members of the advocacy and professional development group. The Foundation will award 50 scholarships per quarter to cover a range of certifications for beginning to experienced IT professionals. The certifications included in the scholarship program include:
- Linux Foundation Certified IT Associate (LFCA)
- FinOps Certified Practitioner (FOCP)
- Certified Kubernetes Administrator
- Certified Kubernetes Application Developer
- Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist
- Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS)
- Certified Hyperledger Fabric Developer (CHFD)
- Certified Hyperledger Sawtooth Administrator (CHSA)
- Certified Hyperledger Fabric Administrator (CHFA)
- OpenJS Node.js Services Developer (JSNSD)
- OpenJS Node.js Application Developer (JSNAD)
- Cloud Foundry Certified Developer (CFCD)
- Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE)
- Certified ONAP Professional (COP)
Each scholarship recipient will receive a voucher for any Linux Foundation certification exam. Online training courses that go with these certifications also will be provided at no cost when available. Each recipient also will receive one-on-one coaching with a Blacks In Technology mentor each month to help them prepare for these exams.
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Clyde Seepersad, Linux Foundation senior vice president and general manager of training and certification, said in a press release that the open source community has a long way to go to increase diversity. Seepersad sees this scholarship program as a way to make certification more accessible to more people.
"We hope this program will help scholarship recipients start on the path to becoming successful IT professionals who can go on to mentor the next generation," he said in a press release.
Dennis Schultz, executive director of the Blacks In Technology Foundation, said in a press release that removing the financial barrier to entry is a significant change.
"By offering training and certification options for all experience levels, we can meet people where they are in their technical journey and provide support along the way for long-term success," he said.
In a recent jobs report, the Linux Foundation found that open source is still the leading software development environment for SMBs and the enterprise despite the uncertain economic conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All certification tests are conducted online with a proctor via webcam and screen sharing. Scholarship recipients will have six months to take the exam and will be able to retake the test once. Applicants who pass the exam will receive a PDF certificate and a digital badge to add to digital resumes and social media profiles, and which can be independently verified by potential employers.
The Blacks In Technology Foundation is a nonprofit, global community of Black technologists. Membership is free. The foundation's goal and mission is to "stomp the divide" between Black workers and the rest of the tech industry. BIT works to level the playing field via training, education, networking, and mentorship with the support of allies, partners, sponsors, and members.
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