When I first spoke with Rackspace over a year ago about CloudU, the basis of the concept was that as someone who has seen first hand the benefits Cloud Computing can bring to an organization, I wanted to tackle a project that saw more people understand what Cloud is and, in doing so, to enable more organizations and individuals to take advantage of the Cloud.

The CloudU certificate is another example of that – helping IT pros and business people in this constrained economy to give themselves an edge and an understanding of an important new facet of technology. As with all things, that was a hypothesis based on some knowledge and a lot of faith, and like all hypotheses, it needed to be tested in the real world.

It didn’t take long for that hypothesis to be tested. Only a few days after we launched the program, Steve Dixson was one of the first people to gain the certificate. Steve is even more of a validation of the concept for me because, living as I do outside of the US, I was anxious that CloudU should be something that transcends borders and would be equally valuable to people no matter where they’re based. The fact that one of the earliest graduates is from outside the US (the UK in this case) is something that makes me happy.

I wanted to ask Steve a few questions – here follows his answers in an interview which will be interesting to other IT industry people looking to build their skill base.

Q – Who are you, what’s your background and what do you do?

A – I have been working within the IT industry for over 15 years, started off as a basic engineer doing desktop repairs and installations. Gradually moved in to building and configuring PC’s and Servers when it was still commercially viable. Did about a year of on-site maintenance and support. Was asked if I wanted to move in to sales so I thought why not, had always sold things since i was at school so not a problem for me. Built up a raft of accreditations and used my knowledge of infrastructure and vendor brand awareness to increase profitability and revenue. Sold a large portfolio of hardware, software and services.

Been watching the cloud for sometime now as I always keep my eye on nascent technologies.

Q – How did you first hear about CloudU?

A – I am a member of Cloud and SaaS forums on LinkedIn. I came across the CloudU posting and immediately looked in to it as a way to increase my knowledge. Thoroughly enjoyed the course and was surprised at the amount of synergy between the cloud and my experience within the industry and technologies.

Q – What’s the short and medium term value from the program for you?

A – Invaluable for me, the Cloud is the future as Solid State is the future of storage. Increasing your skill set and adaptability is of paramount importance in every area of life.

Q – How important is cloud going to be in your job/career going forwards

A – Incredibly important as I hope to move in to a Cloud based role and help create a buzz around Cloud based technologies and services, a good challenge to get my teeth in to and ultimately immensely rewarding.

Thanks for your time Steve, congratulations on completing the certificate and best of luck in your future endeavors!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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