Sunday, March 22, 2009

Computer Career Training - Making The Right Choice 2009

By Jason Kendall

Good for you! As you're reading this article it's likely you're thinking about getting re-qualified for a new job - that means you've already taken one more step than the majority. Very few of us are pleased to go to work each day, but most just moan and do nothing about it. You could join a select group who make a difference in their lives.

When considering retraining, it's crucial to initially know what you DO want and DON'T want from the position you would like to get. It's important to discover if you would be more satisfied before much time and effort is spent re-directing your life. We recommend looking at the end goal first, to avoid disappointment:

* Are you hoping to be involved with others in the workplace? Would that be with a small 'tightly-knit' team or with a lot of new people? Perhaps working alone in a task-based situation may be your preference?

* What criteria are fundamentally important with regard to the industry you hope to work in?

* Is it important that this should be the last time re-training is necessary?

* Do you think being qualified will give you the opportunity to find the work you're looking for, and keep working until you wish to retire?

A predominant industry in the United Kingdom that can satisfy a trainee's demands is Information Technology. There's a shortage of skilled technicians in the industry, simply have a look at a local jobsite and you will find them yourself. But don't think it's only geeky nerds sitting in front ofscreens all day long - there's a lot more to it than that. The majority of workers in this sector are people of average intelligence, but they enjoy their work and get well paid.

There is a tidal wave of change about to hit technology over the next few decades - and this means greater innovations all the time. We've only just begun to scrape the surface of how technology will affect our lives in the future. The internet will significantly revolutionise how we view and interrelate with the entire world over the coming years.

The standard IT employee in the UK will also earn a lot more than his or her counterpart in other market sectors. Standard IT wages are around the top of national league tables. Due to the technological sector emerging nationally and internationally, it's looking good that the requirement for certified IT professionals will continue to boom for quite some time to come.

Be under no illusions, the computer sector provides outstanding potential. Yet, to fully investigate, what questions do we need to raise, and what are the sectors we need to investigate?

A expert and practiced consultant (in contrast with a salesperson) will talk through your current experience level and abilities. This is paramount to working out the point at which you need to start your studies. With a little real-world experience or base qualifications, it may be that your starting point of study is different from a beginner. Always consider starting with a user-skills course first. Beginning there can make the transition to higher-level learning a a little easier.

Full support is of the utmost importance - ensure you track down something that includes 24x7 access, as anything less will frustrate you and could hamper your progress. Be wary of any training providers who use 'out-of-hours' messaging systems - with your call-back scheduled for office hours. This is no use if you're stuck and need help now.

Keep your eyes open for study programmes that use several support centres active in different time-zones. Every one of them needs to be seamlessly combined to give a single entry point and round-the-clock access, when you want it, without any problems. Never ever take second best when you're looking for the right support service. Many IT hopefuls that give up, are in that situation because they didn't get the support necessary for them.

We'd hazard a guess that you probably enjoy fairly practical work - a 'hands-on' personality type. If you're anything like us, the unfortunate chore of reading reference guides is something you'll force on yourself if you absolutely have to, but it doesn't suit your way of doing things. Consider interactive, multimedia study if you'd really rather not use books. If we can get all of our senses involved in our learning, our results will often be quite spectacular.

Start a study-program in which you're provided with an array of DVD-ROM's - you'll begin by watching videos of instructors demonstrating the skills, with the facility to fine-tune your skills in fully interactive practice sessions. It makes sense to see some of the typical study materials provided before you purchase a course. The minimum you should expect would be instructor demonstrations, video tutorials and audio-visual elements backed up by interactive lab's.

It is generally unwise to go for purely on-line training. Due to the variable nature of connection quality from your average broadband company, make sure you get disc based courseware (On CD or DVD).

Quite often, students have issues with a single courseware aspect which is often not even considered: The method used to 'segment' the courseware before being delivered to your home. Typically, you will purchase a course requiring 1-3 years study and receive a module at a time. This may seem sensible until you think about these factors: Sometimes the steps or stages prescribed by the provider doesn't suit you. What if you find it hard to complete all the sections at the speed required?

To provide the maximum security and flexibility, it's not unusual for students to make sure that every element of their training is delivered immediately, and not in stages. It's then up to you how fast or slow and in what order you'd like to work.

'Exam Guarantees' are often bundled with training offers - this always means you have to pay for the exams at the very beginning of your studies. However, prior to embracing a course with such a promise, why not look at the following:

Patently it isn't free - you are paying for it - the price has simply been included in the whole thing. Qualifying on the first 'go' is what everyone wants to do. Going for exams in order and paying for them just before taking them has a marked effect on pass-rates - you revise thoroughly and are conscious of what you've spent.

Do your exams somewhere local and go for the best offer you can find when you're ready. Why tie up your cash (or borrow more than you need) for examinations when you didn't need to? Big margins are made because training colleges are charging upfront for all their exams - and then cashing in when they're not all taken. Additionally, many exam guarantees are worthless. Most companies won't pay for re-takes until you have demonstrated conclusively that you won't fail again.

Exams taken at local centres are approximately 112 pounds in the United Kingdom today. Why spend so much more on fees for 'exam guarantees' (often covertly rolled into the cost of the course) - when a quality course, support and exam preparation systems and a dose of commitment and effort are what's required.

One feature that several companies offer is a Job Placement Assistance program. This is designed to help you find your first job in the industry. But don't place too much emphasis on it - it's quite easy for companies marketing departments to make too much of it. In reality, the massive skills shortage in Great Britain is what will make you attractive to employers.

Help with your CV and interview techniques is sometimes offered (alternatively, check out one of our sites for help). Make sure you polish up your CV straight away - don't leave it till you pass the exams! It's not unusual to find that you will be offered your initial job whilst you're still studying (occasionally right at the beginning). If your CV doesn't show your latest training profile (and it hasn't been posted on jobsites) then you don't stand a chance! Normally you'll get better results from a specialised and independent local recruitment service than any course provider's employment division, as they'll know the local area and commercial needs better.

Not inconsiderable numbers of trainees, so it seems, put a great deal of effort into their studies (sometimes for years), only to do nothing special when trying to get their first job. Introduce yourself... Make an effort to get in front of employers. Don't expect a job to just fall into your lap.

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1 comment:

Amela Jones said...

When will you be doing another article on this subject? 

Amela
IT Training Hertfordshire