Without a steady stream of knowledgeable PC and network support personnel, commercial enterprise in the United Kingdom (and indeed in most countries) would be likely to grind to a halt. We have an on-going demand for people to support both the systems and the users themselves. Because we are getting massively more beholden to advanced technology, we simultaneously emerge as increasingly dependent on the technically knowledgeable network engineers, who ensure the systems function properly.
The age-old way of teaching, with books and manuals, is an up-hill struggle for the majority of us. If you’re nodding as you read this, find training programs that are on-screen and interactive. Recent studies into the way we learn shows that we remember much more when we use all our senses, and we get practically involved in what we’re studying.
Find a course where you’ll receive a selection of CD or DVD ROM’s – you’ll start with videos of instructor demonstrations, followed by the chance to fine-tune your skills in fully interactive practice sessions. You must ensure that you see some example materials from your chosen company. Be sure that they contain video demo’s and interactive elements such as practice lab’s.
Some companies only have access to online training only; sometimes you can get away with this – but, consider how you’ll deal with it if internet access is lost or you get intermittent problems and speed issues. It’s much safer to rely on actual CD or DVD ROMs which don’t suffer from these broadband issues.
Proper support should never be taken lightly – look for a package that provides 24×7 direct access, as anything else will annoy you and definitely put a damper on the speed you move through things. Never purchase training courses that only support students via a call-centre messaging service when it’s outside of usual working hours. Training companies will try to talk you round from this line of reasoning. Essentially – support is needed when it’s needed – not at times when they find it cheaper to provide it.
The very best training providers utilise several support facilities from around the world. Online access provides the interactive interface to link them all seamlessly, any time of the day or night, help is just a click away, avoiding all the delays and problems. Never settle for less than you need and deserve. Direct-access round-the-clock support is really your only option for computer-based training. Maybe burning the midnight-oil is not your thing; usually though, we’re at work at the time when most support is available.
Don’t get hung-up, as many people do, on the training process. Training is not an end in itself; you’re training to become commercially employable. Begin and continue with the end in mind. It’s quite usual, in some situations, to thoroughly enjoy one year of training and then spend 20 miserable years in a tiresome job role, entirely because you stumbled into it without the correct level of soul-searching when it was needed – at the start.
Never let your focus stray from what it is you’re trying to achieve, and then build your training requirements around that – avoid getting them back-to-front. Stay on target and begin studying for something that’ll reward you for many long and fruitful years. Have a conversation with an industry professional who has a commercial understanding of the realities faced in the industry, and could provide an in-depth explanation of what to expect in that role. Establishing this before beginning a training path makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
Several companies have a handy Job Placement Assistance service, to assist your search for your first position. With the growing need for more IT skills in the United Kingdom right now, it’s not too important to place too much emphasis on this feature however. It isn’t such a complex operation to land the right work once you’re well trained and qualified.
Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate and wait until you have finished your training before polishing up your CV. Right at the beginning of your training, list what you’re working on and get it out there! Various junior support roles have been offered to trainees who are still studying and have yet to take their exams. This will at least get you into the ‘maybe’ pile of CV’s – rather than the ‘No’ pile. If you’d like to keep travelling time and costs to a minimum, then you may well find that a specialist independent regional recruitment consultant or service might be more appropriate than a centralised service, as they’re going to have insider knowledge of what’s available near you.
A common grievance of some course providers is how much trainees are prepared to work to pass exams, but how un-prepared they are to work on getting the role they’re acquired skills for. Don’t falter at the last fence.