Congratulations! Finding this article proves you must be thinking about your future, and if it’s new career training you’re deliberating over that means you’ve taken it further than the majority of people will. Did you know that a small minority of us are fulfilled in our working life – yet the vast majority of us will just put up with it. We implore you to break free and make a start – don’t you think you deserve it. We’d strongly advise that in advance of taking any individual training program, you chat with an expert who can see the bigger picture and can advise you. They can look at aspects of your personality and help you find your ideal job to train for: Is it your preference to work in isolation or is being in a team environment more important to you? Are you thinking carefully about which market sector you could be employed in? (Post credit crunch, it’s essential to choose carefully.) Is this the last time you plan to retrain, and based on that will your chosen career path allow you to do that? Are you happy that your chosen retraining will offer you employment opportunities and make it possible to be employed up to the time you want to stop? Look at Information Technology, it will be well worth your time – unusually, it’s one of the growing market sectors throughout Europe. Another benefit is that remuneration packages are much better than most.
Doing your bit in the leading edge of new technology really is electrifying. You become one of a team of people shaping the next few decades. We’re at the dawn of beginning to understand how all this change will affect us. How we correlate with the world as a whole will be profoundly affected by computers and the internet. A regular IT man or woman in the United Kingdom has been shown to earn a lot more than his or her counterpart outside of IT. Average incomes are amongst the highest in the country. It’s no secret that there is a considerable nationwide hunger for certified IT specialists. Also with the marketplace continuing to expand, it appears this will be the case for a good while yet.
It’s indisputable, the UK IT sector provides unique potential. But, to fully investigate, what questions do we need to raise, and which are the areas we need to look at?
Of course: the actual training or the accreditation is not the ultimate goal; the job or career that you’re getting the training for is. A lot of colleges seem to put too much weight in the piece of paper. It’s not unheard of, in many cases, to find immense satisfaction in a year of study only to end up putting 20 long years into a career that does nothing for you, as an upshot of not doing the correct research when it was needed – at the start. Make sure you investigate what your attitude is towards career development, earning potential, and if you’re ambitious or not. It’s vital to know what (if any) sacrifices you’ll need to make for a particular role, which particular qualifications will be required and in what way you can develop commercial experience. Take advice from a skilled advisor, even if you have to pay – it’s considerably cheaper and safer to investigate at the start whether something is going to suit and interest you, instead of finding out after several years of study that you’ve picked the wrong track and have wasted years of effort.
The classroom style of learning we remember from school, using textbooks and whiteboards, is an up-hill struggle for the majority of us. If all this is ringing some familiar bells, dig around for more practical courses that are on-screen and interactive. Our ability to remember is increased when all our senses are brought into the mix – this has been an accepted fact in expert circles for many years. Search for a course where you’ll receive a library of CD or DVD ROM’s – you’ll be learning from instructor videos and demo’s, followed by the chance to use virtual lab’s to practice your new skills. It’s imperative to see some example materials from your chosen company. They have to utilise instructor-led video demonstrations with virtual practice-lab’s. Avoiding training that is delivered purely online is generally a good idea. Physical CD or DVD ROM materials are preferable where obtainable, so you can use them wherever and whenever you want – and not be totally reliant on your internet connection always being ‘up’ and available.
One thing you must always insist on is comprehensive 24×7 direct-access support via professional mentors and instructors. So many companies we come across only seem to want to help while they’re in the office (9am till 6pm, Monday till Friday usually) and nothing at the weekends. Email support is too slow, and so-called telephone support is normally just routed to a call-center who will just take down the issue and email it over to their technical team – who will then call back sometime over the next 24hrs, when it’s convenient to them. This is no use if you’re stuck with a particular problem and have a one hour time-slot in which to study. We recommend looking for training programs that utilise many support facilities from around the world. Each one should be integrated to provide a single interface and also round-the-clock access, when you need it, with no hassle. Always pick a trainer that cares. Only true round-the-clock 24×7 support gives you the confidence to make it.
qualifications from the commercial sector are now, most definitely, beginning to replace the more academic tracks into the IT industry – but why is this the case? Vendor-based training (as it’s known in the industry) is most often much more specialised. The IT sector has become aware that specialisation is vital to cope with an increasingly more technical world. CISCO, Adobe, Microsoft and CompTIA dominate in this arena. Of course, an appropriate quantity of relevant additional information needs to be taught, but focused specialisation in the particular job function gives a commercially educated person a distinct advantage. Think about if you were the employer – and you wanted someone who could provide a specific set of skills. What should you do: Pore through reams of different degrees and college qualifications from several applicants, trying to establish what they know and which workplace skills they’ve acquired, or choose a specific set of accreditations that precisely match your needs, and then select who you want to interview from that. The interview is then more about the person and how they’ll fit in – rather than on the depth of their technical knowledge.
It’s not uncommon for companies to offer inclusive exam guarantees – this always means exams have to be paid for upfront, at the very beginning of your studies. However, prior to embracing this so-called guarantee, consider this: Clearly it isn’t free – you’re still paying for it – the cost has just been rolled into the whole training package. It’s everybody’s ambition to qualify on the first attempt. Progressively working through your exams when it’s appropriate and paying as you go sees you much better placed to get through first time – you put the effort in and are conscious of what you’ve spent. Sit the exam somewhere close to home and hold on to your money and pay for the exam when you take it. A lot of so-called credible training course providers secure huge amounts of money by getting paid for exams at the start of the course then banking on the fact that many won’t be taken. It’s worth noting that exam re-takes through training course providers with an ‘Exam Guarantee’ are tightly controlled. They’ll insist that you take mock exams first until you’ve demonstrated an excellent ability to pass. Paying maybe a thousand pounds extra on an ‘Exam Guarantee’ is remiss – when consistent and systematic learning, coupled with quality exam simulation software is what will get you through.
Many training companies will provide a useful Job Placement Assistance facility, designed to steer you into your first job. It can happen though that people are too impressed with this facility, because it is genuinely quite straightforward for any focused and well taught person to secure work in IT – because there’s a great need for skilled employees. Help and assistance with preparing a CV and getting interviews may be available (if not, see one of our sites for help). Make sure you update that dusty old CV immediately – not after you’ve qualified! It can happen that you haven’t even taken your exams when you will be offered your first junior support position; although this won’t be the case unless your CV is with employers. If you’d like to get employment in your home town, then it’s quite likely that a local (but specialised) recruitment consultancy can generally be more appropriate than a centralised service, as they’re going to be familiar with local employment needs. A common confusion of many course providers is how hard people are focused on studying to become certified, but how little effort that student will then put into getting the position they have qualified for. Don’t falter at the last fence.