It seems a little storm has blown up regarding the use of the term “Official DevOps Awareness Training” as used by the ITIL training company Axelos. I had a feeling it wouldn’t be long in coming after I saw the announcement at the DevOps Enterprise Summit and had a chance to interview Kaimar Karu there. Before I go any further on this though, in the interest of full disclosure, let me state that I am a co-founder of the DevOps Institute (DOI), providers of DevOps training and education. So obviously I have a dog in the race and if you want to stop right here, you are more than welcome to.
This story really starts about 18 months ago when we first announced the DOI launch and the fact that we would be offering training and certification based on the emerging practices around DevOps. At the announcement there was a firestorm of controversy and opinion as duly noted by IT Skeptic Rob England. Many in the community objected to the idea of even training for DevOps but the biggest push back was on the idea of testing and certification. Many in the community said it was repeating the mistakes made by other IT movements such as ITIL, ITSM, etc. In fact some people went so far as to mock the DOI by making up silly certification post its and handing them out at DevOps conferences. In fact I believe that some of those folks were from Axelos itself.
So imagine my surprise when I saw at this years DOES, Axelos announce that they were entering the DevOps training market with a free course based on the IT Revolution (Gene Kim, et al) books among other sources. I was really blown away when on stage Kaimar of Axelos said, “The Official DevOps Awareness Training syllabus is flexible and powerful, allowing training providers to develop their own value-add training programmes, either as simulations or extended classroom-based courses, which can be accredited against the syllabus.” They went even further, putting this up on their website:
Official now are we? By whose measure? That is a good question.
The Storm Brews
I guess I wasn’t the only who took exception to this. IT Skeptic Rob England has once again spoken up, questioning by what right Axelos has to say they are the “official DevOps Awareness training”. Evidently, Rob and Kaimar had a little twitter exchange on this. You can head over to Rob’s article to read the exchange, but the gist of it is that by official Axelos meant to say they are the official training based on IT Revolution writing.
Here is the thing though, official would seem to connate some sort of exclusivity. Now I have not spoken to Gene Kim or the other IT Revolution team members, but I have spoken to people who have and if you want to put credence in this hearsay, IT Revolution never said anything about Axelos training being the exclusive or even the “official” DevOps awareness training. It seems Axelos has perhaps overstepped their bounds here in trying to claim the official monicker. There may well be other DevOps training based on IT Revolution writings and how many official DevOps training classes do we need?
Don’t blame the Tiger for his stripes
Now you might ask yourself why would Axelos go to all that trouble for a class they are offering for free? Well the answer to that one is pretty simple really. Axelos will not offer DevOps training for just free forever. In fact I would bet that they will be developing formal DevOps training and wait for it, DevOps certification training in the not so distant future. After all they are in business to make money. Don’t blame the tiger for having stripes.
I interviewed Kaimar at DOES this year and brought up this very issue. I asked him how after mocking the DOI, giving out post it notes stickers claiming DevOps certification, he could now stand here and offer training that we all know is headed towards some sort of certification. To be fair to Kaimar said the issue is that it is pre-mature for DevOps certification now. That best practices are not in place yet, just emerging practices (hmm where did I hear that before?).
It is easy to see Axelos path here. They will continue developing their “free” class until they think it is good enough to charge for it. Shortly thereafter, lo and behold the time will be right for DevOps best practices to emerge and Axelos will offer certification in DevOps. You don’t have to read tea leaves or the innards of goats to see that future.
But alas by then it could be too late. Between DevOps training and certification from the DOI (and many new courses and roles, now available and coming out soon), training and certification by Red Hat, AWS and others, there is no shortage of DevOps training and certification courses available. To call any of them official is probably not a great idea.
Another point is that for all the people who bemoaned that official training and certification had come to DevOps and that it was in danger of being like ITIL seem to have either changed their mind or chosen not to speak out on this (that I have seen anyway).
If you read to this point though, here is my bottom line. Like everything else, getting some training and education on a subject is never a bad idea. You as a consumer can pick whichever provider you choose. But don’t be fooled by “official” titles. You may find out they are more like fake news sites on Facebook.