by Jason Kendall
It's really great that you're reading this article! Just ten percent of people claim contentment with their job, but a huge number just go off on one from time to time and nothing happens. Because you've done research we have a hunch that you're finding out about training, so you've already stood out from the crowd. What comes next is find out more and then take action.
On the subject of training, it's important to initially know what you want and don't want from the position you'd like to train for. Be sure that a new career would suit you better before much time and effort is spent re-directing your life. We recommend looking at the destination you're hoping for, to make the right judgements:
* Is having company at work important to you? Perhaps you like being a team player? Maybe you like to deal with tasks that you can get on with on your own?
* What elements are you looking for from the industry your job is in? (If it's stability you're after, you might think twice about banks or the building industry right now.)
* And how many years do you want to get out of your retraining, and can the industry you choose offer you the chance to do that?
* Do you think being qualified will make it easier to find new work easily, and remain in employment until your retirement plans kick in?
Don't overlook Information Technology, that's our best advice - it's one of the only market sectors still on the grow throughout Europe. And the salaries are much higher than most.
The world of information technology is amongst the most electrifying and revolutionary industries to be involved in today. Being up close and personal with technology puts you at the fore-front of developments affecting everyone who lives in the 21st century. We've only just begun to get a feel for how technology will define our world. Computers and the Internet will profoundly alter how we see and interrelate with the entire world over the coming decades.
Let's not ignore salaries moreover - the usual income over this country as a whole for the usual IT professional is significantly higher than in the rest of the economy. Chances are that you'll earn a much better deal than you'd expect to earn doing other work. As the IT industry keeps developing nationally and internationally, it's predictable that the search for certified IT specialists will continue to boom for years to come.
So if the UK Information Technology (IT) industry offers so many impressive career possibilities for us all - then which questions should we pose and what factors are most important?
Commencing with the idea that it makes sense to choose the area of most interest first and foremost, before we're even able to ponder which development program would meet that requirement, how are we supposed to find the correct route? How can we possibly grasp the tasks faced daily in an IT career when it's an alien environment to us? Most likely we don't even know anybody who performs the role either. To work through this, a discussion is necessary, covering many core topics:
* Personalities play a significant role - what things get your juices flowing, and what are the activities that ruin your day.
* Is your focus to get qualified because of a certain raison d'etre - for instance, are you pushing to work based at home (self-employment?)?
* Is your income higher on your priority-list than other requirements.
* With so many different sectors to gain certifications for in the IT industry - there's a need to pick up a basic understanding of what differentiates them.
* It makes sense to understand the differences across the myriad of training options.
To bypass the industry jargon, and uncover what'll really work for you, have an informal meeting with an industry-experienced advisor; someone that understands the commercial reality while explaining each accreditation.
Proper support should never be taken lightly - find a program that provides 24x7 direct access, as anything else will annoy you and definitely hamper your progress. Don't buy study programmes that only provide support to you via a call-centre messaging system after 6-9pm in the evening and during weekends. Companies will try to talk you round from this line of reasoning. The bottom line is - support is needed when it's needed - not at times when they find it cheaper to provide it.
The best training colleges opt for a web-based 24 hours-a-day system utilising a variety of support centres from around the world. You get an interface that accesses the most appropriate office no matter what time of day it is: Support on demand. Never make the mistake of compromise when it comes to your support. The vast majority of IT hopefuls that throw in the towel, are in that situation because they didn't get the support necessary for them.
We can guess that you've always enjoyed practical work - a 'hands-on' person. If you're anything like us, the unfortunate chore of reading reference guides is something you'll make yourself do if you have to, but you really wouldn't enjoy it. You should use video and multimedia based materials if learning from books is not your thing. We see a huge improvement in memory retention when all our senses are brought into the mix - learning experts have been saying this for many years.
Locate a program where you'll receive a selection of CD and DVD based materials - you'll be learning from instructor videos and demo's, and then have the opportunity to hone your abilities through virtual lab's. It's wise to view some of the typical study materials provided before you make your decision. What you want are instructor demonstrations, video tutorials and interactive modules with audio-visual elements.
It is generally unwise to opt for on-line only training. Due to the variable nature of connection quality from all internet service providers, you should always obtain CD or DVD ROM based materials.
An area that's often missed by people considering a training program is the issue of 'training segmentation'. This basically means the way the course is divided up for drop-shipping to you, which can make a dramatic difference to what you end up with. The majority of training companies will set up a 2 or 3 year study programme, and courier the materials in pieces as you get to the end of each exam. This sounds reasonable until you consider the following: What could you expect if you didn't actually complete each element within the time limits imposed? And maybe you'll find their order of completion doesn't work as well as another different route may.
To avoid any potential future issues, it's normal for most trainees to have all their training materials (which they've now paid for) couriered out in one package, all at the beginning. That means it's down to you in what order and how fast or slow you'd like to work.
One crafty way that training providers make extra profits is by charging for exams up-front and offering an exam guarantee. This looks like a great idea for the student, till you look at the facts:
They've allowed costings for it one way or another. It certainly isn't free - it's just been rolled into the price of the whole package. Qualifying on the first 'go' is what everyone wants to do. Progressively working through your exams when it's appropriate and paying for them just before taking them sees you much better placed to get through first time - you prepare appropriately and are aware of the costs involved.
Shouldn't you be looking to go for the best offer when you're ready, not to pay the fees marked up by a training college, and to take it closer to home - rather than possibly hours away from your area? What's the point in paying early for exam fees when there was no need to? A great deal of money is netted by organisations charging all their exam fees up-front - and then cashing in when they're not all taken. Remember, with 'Exam Guarantees' from most places - the company decides when you are allowed to do a re-take. They'll only allow a re-take once completely satisfied.
The cost of exams was around the 112 pounds mark in the last 12 months via VUE or Pro-metric centres in the UK. Therefore, why splash out often many hundreds of pounds extra for 'Exam Guarantees', when it's no secret that what's really needed is a regular, committed, study programme, with an accredited exam preparation system.
Many trainers offer a Job Placement Assistance facility, to help you get your first job. The need for this feature can be bigged up out of proportion though - it's easy for their marketing department to overstate it's need. In reality, the massive skills shortage in Great Britain is why employers will be interested in you.
Bring your CV up to date as soon as possible however (advice and support for this should come from your course provider). Don't procrastinate and leave it till the exams have actually been passed. You might not even have taken your exams when you will be offered your first junior support position; although this won't be the case if interviewers don't get sight of your CV. Most often, an independent and specialised local recruitment consultant or service - who make their money when they've found you a job - is going to give you a better service than a division of a training company. It also stands to reason that they'll know the local area and commercial needs.
Do ensure you don't invest a great deal of time on your training course, then call a halt and leave it up to everyone else to find you a job. Stop procrastinating and make your own enquiries. Put as much time and energy into finding your first job as you did to gain the skills.
About the Author:
After 20 yrs in IT, Jason Kendall has turned his attention to IT education (UK based) consultancy. For advice on Computer Training, visit LearningLolly IT Courses.
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