Network and computer support workers are constantly in demand in the United Kingdom, as organisations are becoming more reliant upon their knowledge and fixing and repairing abilities. Our requirement for larger numbers of commercially qualified individuals grows, as society becomes significantly more beholden to computers in these modern times.
Seeing as the UK computing market presents such an array of marvellous career development prospects for us - what sort of questions should we be asking and what aspects carry the most importance?
With so much choice, it's not really surprising that the majority of trainees balk at what job they could be successful with. What is our likelihood of grasping the tasks faced daily in an IT career if we've never been there? Most likely we have never met anyone who performs the role either. Generally, the way to deal with this problem in the best manner stems from a full chat, covering several areas:
* The sort of person you reckon you are - what tasks do you find interesting, and on the other side of the coin - what you hate to do.
* Why you're looking at stepping into the IT industry - it could be you're looking to overcome a particular goal such as self-employment for example.
* What scale of importance is the salary - is it the most important thing, or do you place job satisfaction further up on your list of priorities?
* Considering the huge variation that Information Technology encapsulates, it's obvious you'll need to be able to see what is different.
* You'll also need to think hard about the amount of time and effort you'll put into your training.
At the end of the day, the most intelligent way of covering these is through a meeting with an advisor or professional who understands the market well enough to lead you to the correct decision.
We need to make this very clear: You absolutely must have proper 24x7 professional support from mentors and instructors. You'll severely regret it if you don't heed this. Always avoid training courses that only support trainees via an out-sourced call-centre message system after office-staff have gone home. Training schools will give you every excuse in the book why you don't need this. The bottom line is - you want to be supported when you need the help - not at times when they find it cheaper to provide it.
The best training colleges opt for an internet-based 24x7 facility pulling in several support offices across the globe. You're offered a simple interface which seamlessly accesses whichever office is appropriate any time of the day or night: Support when it's needed. If you accept anything less than 24x7 support, you'll end up kicking yourself. It may be that you don't use it in the middle of the night, but you're bound to use weekends, early mornings or late evenings.
Traditional teaching in classrooms, involving piles of reference textbooks, is usually pretty hard going. If all this is ringing some familiar bells, dig around for more practical courses which have a majority of interactive, multimedia parts. Years of research and study has always confirmed that becoming involved with our studies, to utilise all our senses, will more likely produce memories that are deeper and longer-lasting.
Search for a course where you'll receive a library of DVD-ROM's - you'll begin by watching videos of instructors demonstrating the skills, followed by the chance to use virtual lab's to practice your new skills. It makes sense to see examples of the courseware provided before you sign the purchase order. The minimum you should expect would be instructor-led video demonstrations and a variety of audio-visual and interactive sections.
It doesn't make sense to select online only courseware. Because of the variable quality and reliability of your average broadband company, you should always obtain actual CD or DVD ROM's.
Workshops can be offered as a major benefit by a lot of training schools. When you talk to most computer industry students who've attended a few, you'll find they generally end up being seen as a waste of time because of many things:
* Many round trips - quite often hundreds of miles each and every time.
* Weekday only accessibility to workshops is typically the case, and trying to take several days leave in a single chunk can represent quite a problem for a lot of trainees who are working.
* Most of us think 4 weeks off each year doesn't go very far. Take away over half of it for study workshops and you'll experience even more problems.
* Training workshops usually end up way too big.
* Often attendees hope to push through at quite a pace, others want a more steady pace and want to set their own pace that fits. This will often generate tension and difficulty in most workshops.
* You can't forget the extra expense of driving or taking public transport or several days bed and breakfast either. This may well run to a lot of money - from hundreds to thousands. Do the maths yourself - you'll be (unpleasantly) surprised.
* Quite a lot of attendees want study privacy to avoid any kind of questions in their work.
* Who amongst us hasn't avoided asking a question, because we didn't want to look stupid?
* Living away for part of your working week - a minority of attendees find themselves working or living away for sections of their training. Events end up being impossible at that point, yet you've already paid for them with your initial fees.
For a far more flexible approach, exploit filmed lessons at home, in comfort - taking them when it's convenient to you - not anybody else. Ponder this... Utilising a laptop then you're free to learn wherever you happen to be at that time. And live 24x7 support is only a web-browser click away in case you get challenged. You'll never have to write notes again - every lesson is laid out for you already. Any time you want to repeat something, just go for it. Could it be simpler: You avoid travelling and wasting time and money; and you get a more comfortable learning setting.
The world of information technology is one of the most exciting and ground-breaking industries you could be involved with. Being up close and personal with technology is to do your bit in the gigantic changes shaping life over the next few decades. Computing technology and interaction through the internet will noticeably shape the way we live our lives in the future; to a vast degree.
And keep in mind that on average, the income of a person in the IT industry across the UK is a lot better than in the rest of the economy, therefore you'll probably gain significantly more as a trained IT professional, than you'd expect to earn elsewhere. Apparently there is no easing up for IT sector development in the UK. The market is still growing rapidly, and we don't have anywhere near enough qualified skilled IT professionals to fill current job vacancies, so it's not likely that this will change significantly for a good while yet.