Of all the buzzwords in the computing industry, training, support, and certification top the list. What do these magic words offer to the computer and business worlds that others do not? In a word—assurance. Training and certification assure that the employees hired will be knowledgeable in the field and competitive in the industry. Support assures the companies that the products they use will work when expected and be repairable when needed. Solutions need to be immediate and solutions need to be available.

In the Windows community, it’s obvious where training, support, and certification come from. But what about the Linux community? Where are the certified employees coming from? Fortunately, the answers have arrived. Linux training is now available from two major players in the field: Wave Technologies , Int. and Linuxcare .

Wave Technologies
Wave Technologies (Nasdaq: WAVT) is partnered with LPI (The Linux Professional Institute) to offer what they are calling a “boot camp.” This boot camp will be a five-day intensive training program focused on three different levels. The camp will cost around $6,000 and will lead to the certification testing phase. The first level of training will be for the systems administrator with a minimum of one year of Linux experience. The second level will be primarily for the programmer, and the third level is yet to be defined.

One of the highlights of this program is the mentor program. Once a person signs up for the boot camp a mentor will phone you to check on your level of expertise and help to get you to the level you need before the boot camp. This process is done in conjunction with a fairly impressive set of reference manuals that include network cables and devices, network protocols, network design, implementation, and maintenance.

Once the boot camp is complete, the client will then have the opportunity to take the Linux Certification Tests. These tests, which differ according to training level, run around $100 per incident. Product marketing manager Mike Smith told me the level-one training involved two of the certification tests. Should you be interested in this training program you can contact Wave via itsWeb site .

Linuxcare is another new company offering support, training, and instruction to the Linux community. It does not, however, offer professional certification.

What makes Linuxcare unique is its dedication to solutions. Linuxcare will offer support to anyone—from new users with a single incident to a large corporation with a scalable incidents. Linuxcare supports all hardware, all distributions of Linux, and a hardware certification program. With the hardware certification program, Linuxcare puts together packages of hardware that are proven to work with Linux. The company does not sell these packages; it simply recommends them. Its support, fortunately, is not limited to the certified hardware. Linuxcare will support anything, or so it seems. If you have a problem, Linuxcare will try its best to resolve that problem.

Linuxcare does have its downside, of course. The per incident price is rather costly—around $99 will be charged to your credit card should you need help. Of course, for a big corporation that’s running mission-critical applications with Linux, the cost may not be a serious problem. In addition, larger corporations can purchase scalable support packages.

Linuxcare is not limited to support. Training and education is a prime functionality of this company. Linuxcare offers five different training programs that will surely meet any need:

  • Systems administration: This course is five days and very intensive. For five days you will spend eight-hour days putting together Linux networks and running various admin tasks through Linux. This program costs $2,000 and promises to be a great solution to the system administrator’s needs.
  • Security: Finally a training program in Linux security. This program is not as in-depth as the systems administration program and only runs a single day. Cost for the program: $400.
  • Networking: This program is as in-depth as the system administrator track but focuses on only one aspect of the area. The cost is the same ($2,000) as is the time frame.
  • Business: Linuxcare offers an interesting track for businesses searching for an alternate to NT. This program is not application intensive but more theory and practice. The cost for this plan is four days for $1,600.

Yes, the cost is high but the reward is great. Linuxcare’s staff is loaded with programmers, developers, and users who can and will solve your problems. Linuxcare is also very flexible with location. The training can occur either in its California location or, once enough students are enrolled, in a centralized location.

The Linuxcare staff, as the name implies, handles Linux only. Should you be interested in any of the company’s services simply jump to its Web site and, with the help of a very clean and simple user interface, you will be transported to the salvation you desire.

Service to count on
As a final note, I spoke directly with reps from both companies, and each incident demonstrated the sincerity and ability of each. Yes, these companies are out to make a buck, but they will do all they can to help their loyal community.
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