Tag: Open Cloud Academy

Open Cloud Academy Launches Cybersecurity Program for Veterans

David Gibson, a veteran enrolled in the Open Cloud Academy's first cybersecurity class.

David Gibson, a veteran enrolled in the Open Cloud Academy’s first cybersecurity class.

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

David Gibson retired from the U.S. Air Force as a cryptographic specialist after 18 years in 1995 in San Antonio and then worked construction jobs until he hurt his back.

Since then he’s been looking for steady work.

And that’s why he enrolled in the first class of cybersecurity training for veterans at the Open Cloud Academy downtown. His $16,000 tuition for the three-month program is paid for through Project Quest, a workforce development program, using a U.S. Department of Labor training grant with additional support from the City of San Antonio and Bexar County.

When he completes the course, he will be certified as a cybersecurity professional.

“Everybody wants that and it’s hard to get and it’s expensive,” Gibson said.

Once he finishes the Open Cloud Academy course, he goes into an internship with Rackspace. He is guaranteed $18 an hour during the course of his internship, he said.

“If I’m successful in that, then they’ll pick me up,” Gibson said.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff at the Open Cloud Academy's event to launch its cybersecurity program.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff at the Open Cloud Academy’s event to launch its cybersecurity program.

On Friday morning, the Open Cloud Academy officially welcomed its first cybersecurity class with 15 veterans. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff attended the event along with Sister Pearl Caesar, Executive Director of Project Quest.

The academy has partnered with Coley and Associates, which will be providing the instructors for the class, said Deborah Carter, director of the Open Cloud Academy.

“Vets are great for this program because many of them have security clearance which makes them highly qualified candidates for cybersecurity roles,” Carter said.

Future classes in cybersecurity at the Open Cloud Academy will be open enrollment, Carter said. No information is available yet on when the next class will take place, she said. They are going to learn lessons from this program to tweak it and improve it for the next round, she said.

All of the veterans will be paired with a company for an internship upon completing the program, Carter said. The academy is working with seven companies that have agreed to employ them, she said.

The Open Cloud Academy had 20 openings for veterans in the class, but only 15 qualified in this round, Carter said.

The Open Cloud Academy has several open enrollment programs, Carter said. It hosts information sessions at 6 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month on the fifth floor of the Rand Building at 110 E. Houston St., she said. Every summer, the Open Cloud Academy offers a Linux for Ladies scholarship program, she said.

Charles “Chuck” Rodriguez, a retired Major General, served for 33 years in the military, in active duty for eight years and Army reserves for 11 and the Texas National Guard for 14. He also spent 24 years in higher education and the last nine years at Texas A&M San Antonio.

Rodriguez graduated from the Open Cloud Academy in December of 2015. He now works as a support technician at Rackspace.

Military veterans are great candidates for cybersecurity jobs, Rodriguez said. In addition to the security clearances many of them hold, they are also punctual, disciplined workers with great temperament.

“They do whatever it takes to get the job done,” he said.

Soloshot, BiblioTech, Cloud Academy and SMSGate at SA New Tech

Founder of Silicon Hills News

IMG_2725On the first Tuesday of every month, a group of people interested in the latest technology developments in San Antonio gathers at Geekdom for the San Antonio New Tech meetup.
The hour-long program showcases some of the latest startups in the city along with other interesting projects.
Cole Wollak, Jeremy Karney and Michael Girdley head up SA New Tech, which has grown to become one of the city’s most popular meetups with 672 registered members. SA New Tech has held 19 events since its founding more than two years ago.
On Tuesday, Geekdom and Codeup sponsored the event providing free beer and pizza to the more than 70 people in attendance.
Soloshot, a robotic cameraman, SMS Gate, a marketing messaging service, Open Cloud Academy, a Linux administrator and technical training center, and BiblioTech, the nation’s first all digital library, pitched to the crowd for five minutes and then answered questions from the crowd.
Chris Boyle, co-founder and CEO of Soloshot, a tripod device that allows a camera to track and film a subject automatically, gave an update on his company.
IMG_2728Soloshot is on the second generation of its product, the Soloshot2, the robot cameraman. The latest model includes new features such as vertical tracking, camera control for automatic zooming and start/pause recording, a smaller lighter transmitter and compatibility with third-party professional tripods.
The San Antonio-based company now has 15 employees. It also has 19 patents issued or pending and its product is available in more than 200 retail stores.
Soloshot has been featured in Popular Mechanics, the Discovery Channel, Fast Company magazine, TechCrunch and other publications. It has won several prestigious industry awards. Soloshot also won the 2013 InnoTech Beta Summit.
Soloshot, founded in 2012, originally sold its products to sports enthusiasts and professional athletes in the surfing, kiteboarding sports. But others quickly adopted its device to film snowboarders, soccer players, rugby teams, equestrians, skiers, wakeboarders, skateboarders, motocross racers, racecar drivers and parents seeking to capture their kid’s events.
IMG_2727Catarina Velasquez, BiblioTech Community relations liason, gave a brief overview of BiblioTech, which has more than 20,000 digital books available for download to Bexar County residents. It’s the nation’s first digital public library.
The $2.5 million library has 48 iMacs and it loans e-readers, which can hold up to five books to county residents with a BiblioTech library card. The library is open seven days a week and is located on the city’s South Side at 3505 Pleasanton Road.
Felipe Castillo pitched his startup, SMSGate, which provides a direct marketing service to companies through text messages. The company is from Mexico. The company is looking for Beta testers to try out its product for free. For more information, visit its website at SMSGate.co.
A representative from the Open Cloud Academy, on the sixth floor of the Weston Centre, gave a brief overview of the year-old technical training center. Rackspace’s Chairman and CEO Graham Weston started the academy to provide Linux administrator training to the general public. The program is based on the Rackspace Academy, which trains its employees in technical fields. The 10-week Linux Administrator training program costs $3,500 and the program provides some scholarships and other financing. Recently, the Open Cloud Academy launched Linux for Ladies, its first program targeted exclusively at training women to become Linux system administrators. That class, which begins in June, is already full. The demand is high for the classes. Jobs for Linux system administrators are plentiful and the jobs pay more than $50,000 a year, on average. More than 200 people attended an information session to learn more about the Linux for Ladies program.

Geekdom is a sponsor of Silicon Hills News

Codeup Seeks to Create New Developers in San Antonio

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Codeup logo“Learn to Program. Get a Job Offer. Guaranteed.”
This is the not-so-humble sales pitch of Codeup – a for-profit code education startup founded by San Antonio entrepreneur and angel investor Michael Girdley. The startup offers a nine week programming boot camp located at Geekdom of San Antonio which will teach the programming skills currently sought for in the workforce. The startup’s first boot camp, starting Feb. 3, will focus on web development and will cover Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, and JavaScript. The camp price tag is $7,430, and if the student does not receive a job offer within six months of completing the course they get half their tuition back. Enrollment has already begun.
Girdley justifies his guarantee with his business approach. Before launch, he collaborated with both small startups and larger companies in need of developers to find out exactly what skill-set they want to hire.
“We went and talked to them and got feedback on what they are looking for. We added a whole set of methodologies in terms of how to work as a team of programmers to the course after meeting with certain employers,” Girdley said. “Ultimately we have two customers. One is the student and the other is the employers. We have really worked hard to have them meet in the middle for everyone to be happy.”
Codeup’s classroom experience is designed to be as intensive and hands-on as possible. Students will learn concepts quickly in 15 minute intervals and then immediately implement them with exercises lasting 20 minutes. Each class will hold 20 students. Girdley will be teaching the classes along with Jason Straughn, Samantha Atkins, and Chris Turner. During exercises, all four instructors will be present to answer any questions. Classes will be eight hours a day and five days week.
To ensure that graduating students get hired, Codeup has formed agreements with 18 startups and recruiting companies who have agreed to consider hiring the graduates upon completion of the course. A few of the employers Girdley has talked to – whom he can’t name at this time – have such difficulty finding developers that they are willing to hire immediately after graduation.
Despite its growing tech talent, finding full time developers in San Antonio is a difficult task — both for large companies like Labatt Food Service and smaller startups such as Geekdom’s TrueAbility. Founder and COO Frederick “Suizo” Mendler welcomes an easier way to find developer talent.
“For us, it is a constant challenge to find folks that can operate at a fairly high level when it comes to the dev stuff. If they produce a good candidate then, yea, we’ll take a look at them,” Mendler said. “All the other developers we hire, we have to go out and hunt them down, go find them in weird places.”
Codeup will start out with only one class of 20, and that class is already starting to fill up. Codeup has received seven applicants since they went public a week ago and have already confirmed two spots. Texas State University Communications Graduate Leslie Tolbert was the first to sign up. She developed a love of programming in her last semester of college but was having trouble learning it all on her own.
“I really feel it’s an investment to myself to make this bigger commitment. It’s really hard to teach yourself how to program through all the other resources out there,” Tolbert said. “It was really appealing to me to have the option that Codeup presents to work with a team of peers…in a collaborative space with expert instructors available to answer questions.”
Tolbert was also able to take advantage of one of the three women’s scholarships Codeup offers, which will pay for half of the tuition. Two are still available.
As a for-profit company, Codeup will raise revenue by charging tuition and by charging a placement fee to the employer when they hire a graduate. The employer’s fee will be equal to 10 percent of the graduates annual salary. Codeup currently has no competitors in San Antonio, but would be competing with MakerSquare in Austin. While the model is similar to Rackspace Hosting’s Open Cloud Academy, the two will not directly compete because they are teaching different skills. In another similarity to the Open Cloud Academy, Girdley says applicants do not need any prior coding experience to be admitted.
“If you are a smart person and you are willing to work hard, you don’t need to know anything. Show up, we will take care of you.” Girdley said.

Geekdom was a sponsor of Silicon Hills News. TrueAbility is an advertiser with Silicon Hills News.

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