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Don't Take a training class until you read this! - 10 Things you should know about IT
Aug 11, 2009 - In the bid
to acquire skills and knowledge in today's information age, many are turning
to IT Training. For many individuals and organizations, the need for
training has never been greater. This hunger for IT training
is driven by the rapid rate of change in all spheres of life that are now
affected by information technology. Individuals and organizations are making
efforts to keep pace with the "latest"
Training is required both by users and professionals. To remain
relevant, you have to be equipped with knowledge and tools required
by the digital age. And training is a route followed by many. From
time to time, you will have to take important decisions regarding
training. Training is often your opportunity to proactively move
your IT career forward. How should you do your groundwork? An
informed decision is the key to getting training right. You can
start by taking a look at ten things you must know about IT
1. IT Training focuses on both the theory and practice of IT -the acquisition of skills and knowledge. It is therefore an activity that seeks to fill skills and knowledge gaps. What is lacking? Are you at zero level? Then the training you need is one that will make you computer literate. If you are an IT professional your need might be for IT certification. Before embarking on training you must know what your training needs are. What gap needs to be filled? Is the training need for an organization or an individual? What is your desired career path and specialization? What do you need to know? Are you sure training will close the gap? Set your training objectives carefully. The purpose of your training should be well defined.
2. To acquire practical IT skills and knowledge, the best
training approach is that which uses the "See it, Hear it, Do
it." Concept, i.e. interactive and participative. You see it
been done. You listen to concepts and ideas and then you do it
yourself. "What you need to know how to do, you learn by doing."
Training must combine the right blend of theory and practice.
3. The quality of training varies widely. It is critical that
you choose your training provider based on substance. A
training center is assessed with respect to quality of materials,
competence of trainers, degree of instructor support, training
skills of trainers, corporate IT focus, counseling facilities, track
record, quality of facilities and other quality related issues. You
should be able to gain from the real world experience of the
focus of IT training should be on effective learning by students.
Has the gap been filled? What can the learner do now that he or she
couldn't do previously? The training outcome is key. Are the skills
and knowledge acquired relevant and adequate? What is the value of
training you have received? The outcome should be such that you must
not only learn, but you must also be able to apply your learning for
5. Certification and awards of diplomas are
important training outcomes most especially where there is a lot of
emphasis on paper qualifications. But the primary focus of IT
training should be the acquisition of practical skills and knowledge;
the award of certificates or diplomas is secondary. Paper
certification will not get you anywhere in IT. Training should give
you a form of certification (diploma, certificate, etc), as well as
practical skills and knowledge. Training is not only about
immersing yourself in knowledge, it's also about creating
opportunities for yourself.
6. If you want to build a
career in IT and you have a degree or certification without
practical skills, training is essential for you.
You need to acquire these skills and knowledge to advance your IT
career. Cramming for tests and reading text materials alone are not
enough to establish your IT career.
7. Cost is a major issue in IT
training. To many it is a deciding factor. But price should not
be your sole determinant for choosing training or a training
institution. Always do a proper cost benefit analysis before
deciding if the cost will give you value. How do you value the
investment? Tie this to your training needs. Think not only of your
immediate costs but also of present and future opportunities. It is
reckless to choose an inferior training solution to save money. On
the other hand high cost does not indicate high quality.
the best instructors, world-class facilities cannot learn for you.
You must be prepared to make the effort to learn. Learning involves
more than routine attendance of lectures. Your primary role is to
learn. With a good training setup, there is no mystery to learning.
You simply have to be committed. Lack of commitment is a major
problem. This often arises due to poor planning and or insufficient
motivation. Each day after training, do you go over concepts you've
been taught? Do you practice on your own? Or is your learning
reserved for the classroom only? You paid your course fees in full
two weeks before the course started, but where is your commitment if
you are frequently absent or late for training sessions? Make sure
you are dedicated to learning before you start.
It might seem funny
or weird, but I've met students who just want to pay training fees
and collect certificates. They're simply not ready to go through the
"stress" of training classes or exercises! Talk about a misplacement
of priorities! You either want to learn or you don't want to.
Period! If you want to learn, get with the program and work on
getting the most out of your training program. Let your career
ambitions keep you motivated during times of self-doubt and stress.
You must be ready to
make the effort to learn and to apply what you have learnt. If you
don't make the effort you are burning, not just throwing away, good
time and money.
You need to consider some important factors when choosing the right learning solution. What is your skill and motivation level? Consider financial constraints and available study time. Each of these important pieces should be used in determining the right training model for you. Instructor-led IT training seems to achieve more for students than other training options, most particularly when there is a focus on in-depth hands-on exercises. Instructor-led training is regarded as the most effective means of acquiring IT skills and knowledge. You must however be prepared to learn at the pace of your training institution.
However, if you already have some practical skills and or you cannot make time to attend instructor-led training, a wide variety of learning options is available to you. These include self-study such as books, practice tests, computer based training and Web / Online learning (http://www.jidaw.com/article5.html). A blend of self-paced learning and classroom learning might be what you need.
- Most IT Training focuses on
the acquisition of IT skills and knowledge. However, if you want
to build a career in IT, there are more issues at play than
technical skills and knowledge alone. You also need soft
skills (presentation, communications, marketing, project
management, etc) to enhance your value. Your tech skills and training
decisions are important, but if you can't market yourself,
getting ahead will be an uphill task.
Furthermore, attitude is important in the real world. Attitude will determine your altitude. Issues like professionalism are important. Do you practice in an ethical manner? IT Training is a career advancement tool. You don't train just for the sake of training. As an IT professional you need to develop professional skills and know how training fits into your career plan.
I have looked at some issues you must consider as you embark on IT Training. In this ever-changing world fueled by Information and communications technologies, training is not optional. The time and effort commitment involved with training could be intimidating. But don't let that prevent you from achieving your goals. Investing in your education, investing in yourself is the best investment you can ever make.
Taking informed decisions is the
key. Learning to manage these decisions is a worthwhile and
essential skill. It's not just about hard work. Or spending time and
money. The choices you make are as important.
Stay on track by making wise training decisions.
MORE ...For more coverage and information related to this topic, head to the IT Career Resource Center
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