A Fresh Look for Rackspace’s Open Cloud Academy

Alumni feedback recently helped us improve our classes and website.

Recent Open Cloud Academy graduates gather with staff in front of the new OCA logo.

The Open Cloud Academy is always working to improve, and thanks to recent feedback from alumni, we’re excited to announce a series of upgrades.

Since 2013, Rackspace’s Open Cloud Academy has helped prepare students to enter the fast-growing field of information technology with hands-on technical training. We began by offering courses, focused on Linux System Administration and Networking. Since then, we’ve added a second 13-week class focused on cybersecurity. We recently worked with the Veterans Administration to accept the GI Bill for tuition, and have seen an increase in military and veteran engagement since then.

In total, 828 students have graduated from Open Cloud Academy — a 98 percent completion rate — who report earning an average of 193 percent more than they did before enrollment.

Why Open Cloud Academy for technical training?

But the industry moves fast, and we know potential students have lots of choices these days when it comes to technical training opportunities. That’s why we recently surveyed roughly 200 of our graduates. We asked them why they chose Open Cloud Academy from among the growing number of boot camp-style technical courses available in San Antonio, and how we could improve.

Based on their feedback, we’ve updated our website, making it easier to find and navigate. We added a tab specifically for military service members, spouses and veterans, and made the process for applying for financial assistance from our partner Project Quest even easier. We’re also strengthening the pipeline to Rackspace for our students by helping them understand the company’s business needs and the skills most in demand on the support floor.

It’s always been important for us to allow prospective students the chance to “try before you buy,” and thanks to alumni feedback, we increased the number of free, week-long “crash courses” this year to 10 — with several still open for enrollment through the end of the year.

Free intro courses

“IT Fundamentals” is the most basic crash course, offering a history of the internet, computers and their inner workings. The 40-hour course cover CPUs, computer storage, operating systems, file access, users and groups, plus firewall and security overviews. At the end of the week, students should have the background and confidence to pursue a CompTIA IT Fundamentals certification, either through self-study or by enrolling in our System Administration bootcamp.

“Network Fundamentals” is primarily for our cybersecurity applicants who don’t yet have the required CompTIA Network+ certification. Completing the course and passing the exam will satisfy the Cybersecurity prerequisite. It’s also for anyone considering enrollment at Open Cloud Academy. You will get a taste of what it’s like in the classroom, gain some exposure to networking, and ultimately decide if you have what it takes to embark on a career in IT.

Taking the plunge

For those interested in taking the plunge, OCA’s two 13-week technical training bootcamp courses are System Administration and Cybersecurity. Each program is designed around a technical job profile and prepares students for multiple industry recognized certifications.

OCA students get more than technical training, however. We also focus on professional and soft-skills development to truly advance their opportunities for employment upon graduation.

After completion of our program, Open Cloud Academy, along with Project Quest, work to put job opportunities in front of students including employer tours (including Rackspace), meet and greets and LinkedIn and resume building workshops.

Want to learn more? Check out our newly redesigned website or reach out to us directly at opencloudacademy@rackspace.com.

Marcus Benavidez is the Academy Director of Open Cloud Academy, a unique hands-on learning academy that provides students the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to enter into the IT workforce. Marcus has held numerous roles since he began his career at Rackspace in 2007, including positions in sales, account management and operations. Marcus holds a degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and in January 2019 welcomed the birth of his son, Ace.

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