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Training Canada for the Software-Defined World


The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector can often be as trendy as the fashion industry. Organizations spend millions on research and development for technology that doesn’t ever get put into production. Timing is everything in the industry as market windows open and market windows close. So when opportunities arise, companies need to be responsive and invest in what is fundamentally their most valuable resource: people.

Brainpower is one of the most important assets for an ICT company. With many new and emerging technologies being woven into production, companies are recognizing that to remain competitive they need to ensure their teams are trained on the latest tools and techniques. There’s a high demand for qualified talent to build the next generation of networks, manage infrastructure and analyze data, all while using the latest, increasingly complex technology. This demand will continue to grow in the future for three main reasons:

  1. New technologies in the areas of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) combined with the need for greater network security will generate additional jobs in the ICT field that need to be filled by highly trained personnel.
  2. Sectors outside the ICT industry require more tech expertise. Here at CENGN we’re seeing small and medium-sized (SME) customers coming to utilize our infrastructure for technical solutions targeting the traditional sectors of healthcare, agriculture, and many others. At our last Docker & Kubernetes Workshop in February, we had attendees from health food and wellness companies in addition to our expected attendees from telcos, equipment vendors, and data science companies, all interested in containerization and the cloud. This trend of non-ICT companies requiring skilled technical staff and adopting cutting edge networking extends into the entire Canadian and global ICT community, as companies see they can optimize their efficiency by leveraging disruptive technology.
  3. A concerning number of people currently employed in the tech sector will be retiring within the next decade. According to Brookfield Institute, over 38% of tech workers are between the ages of 45 and 64. Growing our domestic supply of talent and attracting global talent will be a key driver of economic success for Canada.

In today’s market, we are currently seeing several trends as companies virtualize their networks and pivot to hosting their technology solutions in the cloud. The shift to SDN and the adoption of new technologies may require investment in people, but the long-term benefits result in a return through cost-savings, infrastructure scalability, and a more knowledgeable team.

CENGN Academy is building a training program with the goal of levelling up industry and student knowledge on next generation networking technologies and the ICT sector. Our organization is in a unique position to provide training as we operate our own commercial-grade infrastructure comprised of the latest software as well as equipment from our globally recognized member companies.

Our team works with innovative open source tools and cloud technologies on a daily basis which continually enhances our institutional knowledge in these areas. As a member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and the Linux Foundation, we are an early adopter of their projects, providing feedback on the use cases of their tools prior to deployment to the public community. This gives our organization additional insight into the operation and applications of the world’s most cutting-edge ICT tools and solutions.

Because of CENGN’s unique position with regards to cutting edge networking and cloud technology, CENGN Academy can serve both students looking to enter the workforce with relevant experience as well as industry professionals seeking to remain on the cutting edge. See below for details on our course offerings and visit cengn.ca/academy for additional information.

CENGN Academy for Students

CENGN Academy Cloud Networking Boot Camp. CENGN Academy bridges the gap between academic learning and job-ready expertise by putting students through our 3-week cloud networking boot camp. Each student undergoes extensive theoretical and hands-on training on networking and cloud technologies, with a focus on open source tools. Upon completion, the students write an exam certifying their acquired knowledge. Typically, the boot camp has been exclusive to CENGN students, but recently CENGN Academy invited three Wind River students to participate for the first 3 weeks of their semester before returning to Wind River to make an impact. All three students and their manager found great benefit in the training provided through the boot camp.   

JNCAA. CENGN Academy is partnering with Juniper Networks Cloud and Automation (JNCAA) to bring Juniper training and certifications to post-secondary institutions. Students at institutions such as Carleton University, Algonquin College, La Cité Collegiale and Cambrian College have gained additional knowledge, skills and industry certifications that will enhance their networking careers.

CENGN Academy for Industry

Docker & Kubernetes Workshop – CNI Edition. To date, CENGN in partnership with CloudOps has delivered several Docker & Kubernetes Workshops. These workshops have been integral in getting many of our members and other ICT companies up to speed on containerization. Most recently, we trained several professionals from member companies, like Mitel, as they execute on a move-to-the-cloud strategy. Click here to read the details on how Mitel used this training course to enhance their workforce.

NFV Foundations. CENGN recently purchased the exclusive copyright to SDN Essentials’ NFV Foundations Course. Our first public delivery will be at Communitech in Waterloo, ON on March 28th. This introductory seminar is designed to unpack the drivers, technologies and use cases underlying Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), as well as connecting NFV with Software Defined Networking (SDN).

MEF SDN/NFV Professional Course. Partnering with Criterion Networks, an accredited training provider for the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), CENGN will present this 3-day certification preparation course (date TBD). The MEF provides industry-wide leadership in defining networking services and standards. Professionals working hands-on with NFV and SDN will find this training crucial to enhance their skills and prepare for the MEF SDN/NFV Professional certification exam.

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About the Author

CENGN, Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks, drives technology innovation and industry growth through our testbed, technical expertise, talent development, and partner ecosystem. Through our projects, CENGN enables small and medium Canadian Enterprises to test and validate promising technologies, removing barriers to product commercialization and accelerating market growth.

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