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Virtualization Jobs: Hot To The Touch

Virtualization is hot right now -- that's not news to anyone half-awake in IT. But it appears that virtualization-related jobs are also in serious demand.

A new report from tech job site Dice.com states that jobs requiring VMware experience are up 40 percent in six months, with more than 1,500 postings. "Right now, only a handful of jobs call for Hyper-V knowledge, but we'll be watching to see if demand for this skill grows once the product is released," says Dice executive Tom Silver in the report (hat tip, Alessandro).

For some reason (likely a general lack of subject knowledge), Silver left out Xen. My search this morning found 68 jobs that ask for Xen experience, almost 10 times the number calling for Hyper-V skills (just seven).

A Dice news story from last December discusses the exploding market:

"The advantages virtualization delivers are simply too compelling for administrators and CIOs to ignore. As the technology continues to integrate itself into all aspects of IT infrastructures, the need for professionals who understand the technology will only increase. For those willing to embrace a technology that is rapidly evolving, the opportunities are there for the taking."

Sounds about right to me. Those figures are only going to increase in the future, so it would behoove admins to work with virtualization as often as possible. In addition, we're starting to see a rise in certification offerings from the big vendors. VMware, for instance just announced a new, high-level certification, the Certified Design Expert (VCDX) on VMware Infrastructure 3. Cerfitication-crazed Microsoft will certainly have certifications around Hyper-V (and likely around virtualization in general), and Citrix has plenty as well.

My theory on certifications is that they have value as long as they come after experience. In other words, work with a product for months or years before getting certified. If you reverse the order, you run a significant risk of being seen as a poser who can pass tests but not do jack in the real world. I have experience in this, in case you're wondering. I've been an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) on Windows NT and Windows Server 2000. Although I had the title, and some experience in IT (with NT, as an application specialist for a very large media company), my Windows 2000 cert was purely paper, as by that time I'd gone back into journalism, and got the credential at a boot camp for the story referenced earlier.

A certification with relevant experience is a potent combination, and will likely give you an edge in your job hunt. And uber-geeks can always use a couple of extra letters after their name, right?

Posted by Keith Ward on 05/22/2008 at 12:48 PM


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