Sun Microsystems is investing resources in extending its training and education offers for Web-based services in an attempt to tackle the industry's skills shortage.
Bill Richardson, vice president of educational services at Sun, said the vendor was developing Web-based courses to be offered on both subscription and per-module basis. These services are due to be delivered in July through a series of globally managed regional centres.
Daryl Plummer, research director at Gartner Group, had previously warned that the skills shortage was having an effect on vendors' services. He said: 'While certification is on the rise ... there is a significant skills shortage.' Gartner research suggested that the skills crisis will last at least until 2001, by which stage it will be running at about 50 per cent of demand.
Richardson acknowledged the shortage and said regional differences in attitude towards Java made global statements about the uptake difficult.
However, he refused to be drawn on either the rate of examinee throughput or the number of Java-certified programmers and developers.
Java 2 certification tests will be available this week and Sun is extending the number of courses on offer in UK universities, but Simon Maskrey, UK sales and marketing manager for educational services at Sun, accepted that education programmes are not the subject of a huge launch.
Frank Pinto, vice president worldwide sales at Sun, revealed that the company will announce both internet and intranet computers. Asked whether Sun plans to partner for applications to go with the expected release of desktop devices, he said: 'We think this will come from a variety of sources, including service providers such as Digex and Exodus.' He added that he had, 'no idea how the developers will make money - presumably by some kind of per-use basis'.
Pinto indicated that Sun will aim the devices at the SME market. He claimed the company has learned from past mistakes but conceded it needs to make a much stronger offering if its second attempt at promoting network computers is going to make a serious impact.
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