IT Landscape Through Regional Enablement

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Can certification organizations truly affect the IT landscape? Definitely. Simply put, the value of testing programs is directly connected to organizational goals and industry need. Both must be in concert with each other. Otherwise, it is difficult to realize true value on either side of the equation.

To that end, Linux Professional Institute (LPI) is transforming to accept this challenge by redefining its global connection to ensure its programs positively affect the industry at large. Through its regional enablement Initiative (REI), LPI is exploring ways its programs can become a meaningful and effective change agent for Linux and open-source adoption.

As a certification organization, LPI must think larger and understand the ways it can influence and engage the market it serves. Often, new certification programs arise in response to software and hardware innovation. Although this is important, it is just one piece of the solution LPI can influence. As an open organization, LPI takes its supporting role seriously. It encourages global feedback and strives to create programs and services necessary to best support the needs of the industry. In summary, LPI’s focus is clear: stimulate open-source adoption and growth through stable yet innovative programs that engage regional networks to best serve the needs of the individual professional and the industry.

The first component in building the proper environment to support the industry is a stable platform. By working with many other programs, LPI is establishing itself as the foundation for professional Linux certification. The vendor-independent LPI Level 1 certification (LPIC-1) was developed “by Linux professionals for Linux professionals.” To ensure the industry maintains a sense of clarity and momentum, LPI’s continual focus is to establish LPIC-1 as the entry point for any Linux professional. This is the foundation of LPI’s existence: to provide a solid bedrock on which open-source professionals can build their own success.

Stability also stems from industry support and partnerships. Many global organizations sponsor LPI programs and embrace the LPI family of products, as they provide a common ground of skills measurement. Governments and enterprise organizations around the globe consistently relay the importance of establishing a measurement tool to ensure global skills consistency. The vendor-independent nature of LPI figures prominently in these discussions and instills a sense of credibility in the program.

Establishing a foundational certification enables the competitive mobility of human resources, ensures an acknowledged industry entry point into the world of Linux and open source and provides a global standard for talent and knowledge.

Industry cohesion is important to stability. LPI acts as a unifying force within the open-source ecosystem. Through a “common ground” approach, LPI is working to prevent unproductive fragmentation within the larger open-source environment through involvement in such organizations as the Free Standards Group, participation in U.N. policy discussions and membership in cutting-edge regional IT consultation organizations in Brazil, China and elsewhere.

Further, in its day-to-day operations, LPI promotes this stabilization through regional marketing and sales offices. In addition, LPI’s realigned internal infrastructure ensures transparent communications between both business and technical thought leaders around the globe. For example, many of Japan’s leading server manufacturers participate on LPI-Japan’s board of directors. Although these companies have competing interests in the marketplace, they work together to ensure the LPI skills standard is embraced throughout the region.

As the foundation under which open-source adoption can flourish, LPI also provides an environment for the global network of Linux professionals to volunteer input and consultation on exam quality and improvements. As with the open-source movement, LPI’s support infrastructure is global in reach, self-defining and dedicated to industry excellence.

LPI is committed to innovation, both internally and externally. Staying abreast of important industry shifts requires fundamental agility, flexibility, responsiveness and credible global feedback. LPI recently established an innovative approach to its internal processes, as well as a market-leading external communications channel, to ensure it continues to gain and maintain the proper information for relevant program growth.

Internally, LPI champions innovation in its certification programs. This is demonstrated by its ongoing effort to create technology-based tools that result in larger, more dynamic pools of exam questions and the refinement of mathematical and statistical models that will better measure candidates’ success and knowledge.

Looking beyond internal structure, there is a need for outward-facing innovation. LPI recently announced it is expanding beyond its traditional career-enhancing certification programs to assist in the area of global IT workforce development. The Open Source Professional Resource Enablement program — titled “OSPREY” — will match highly skilled Open Source professionals with enterprise customers searching for talent. As open source technology becomes more prevalent, this need will continue to increase. For example, India plans to hire more than 200,000 Linux professionals in the next few years. LPI is taking responsibility to assist in providing a piece of this regional solution.

As with the workforce development program, the need for an enterprise-level advanced skills certification for Linux professionals (i.e. LPIC-3) arose through extended dialogue with some of the world’s Fortune 100 IT companies and Linux professionals around the globe. As a result, LPI defined the standard for a global, enterprise-level professional Linux certification, which will launch in January.

Although stability and innovation are necessary prerequisites for growth, there is no substitute for established regional networks, which, given the proper tools can influence their own success. This is best demonstrated by LPI’s REI program, which focuses attention on infrastructure and next-generation programs to fuel open-source adoption.

To illustrate this point, LPI recently established a support infrastructure with area operations management in major geographies such as Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America. In addition, the organization identified key countries in which to place master affiliate organizations, supported by its area management structure, that can carry out the REI program and best inform LPI of local cultural and technological needs.

These “trusted channels” provide important feedback and champion all its programs from the bedrock of LPIC-1 to the upcoming LPIC-3 certification, as well as LPI’s career-assistance program (OSPREY).

This infrastructure assists LPI in defining new opportunities that readily expand from its core. For example, LPI is piloting a variation of its training partner program, the LPI Approved Training Partner (LPI-ATP), in Germany with an Approved Academic Training Program (LPI-AATP) that is more sensitive to the needs of publicly funded educational institutions.

This regional enablement, however, moves beyond simple organizational imperatives to wider goals in the sector. For example, many key organizations within growth economies such as China speak of the need to move beyond the focus of an OEM approach (consumers and manufacturers of others’ creativity) to one of an ODM approach (their own creative force). To facilitate this larger ambition, LPI is using its REI strategy to establish master affiliate offices in China, Japan and Korea that will cooperate on mutual initiatives. Alternatively, in Latin America, LPI is an active participant in

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