Courses in Computer Support

by Scott Edwards

If we didn’t have a regular deluge of knowledgeable network and computer support workers, commerce in the UK (and around the world) would inevitably be drawn to a standstill. There is an on-going requirement for technically able people to support systems and users alike. Our requirement for better skilled and qualified individuals multiplies, as human beings become significantly more beholden to PC’s in these modern times.

Making the most fitting career option is very difficult – so which sectors are important to investigate and what questions do we need to ask?

A ridiculously large number of organisations only look at the plaque to hang on your wall, and completely miss the reasons for getting there – getting yourself a new job or career. Your focus should start with the end goal – don’t get hung-up on the training vehicle. It’s a sad testimony to the sales skills of many companies, but the majority of trainees begin programs that seem spectacular in the marketing materials, but which deliver a career which doesn’t satisfy. Try talking to typical college students for a real eye-opener. It’s a good idea to understand the expectations of your industry. Which particular accreditations you’ll be required to have and how you’ll go about getting some commercial experience. It’s definitely worth spending time thinking about how far you think you’ll want to progress your career as it will often present a very specific set of exams. Always seek guidance and advice from a skilled advisor, even if you have to pay – it’s much safer and cheaper to find out at the start whether your choices are appropriate, instead of discovering following two years of study that you aren’t going to enjoy the job you’ve chosen and have to return to the start of another program.

You should only consider learning programmes that move onto industry approved qualifications. There are far too many trainers promoting unknown ‘in-house’ certificates that are essentially useless when you start your job-search. From an employer’s viewpoint, only top businesses such as Microsoft, Adobe, CompTIA or Cisco (as an example) provide enough commercial weight. Anything less won’t make the grade.

We’d hazard a guess that you probably enjoy fairly practical work – a ‘hands-on’ type. If you’re like us, the unfortunate chore of reading reference guides can be just about bared when essential, but it’s not ideal. Consider interactive, multimedia study if books just don’t do it for you. Our ability to remember is increased with an involvement of all our senses – this has been an accepted fact in expert circles for decades now. Start a study-program in which you’ll receive a selection of CD and DVD based materials – you’ll learn by watching video tutorials and demonstrations, with the facility to practice your skills in interactive lab’s. You must see the type of training provided by each company you’re contemplating. Be sure that they contain instructor-led video demonstrations with virtual practice-lab’s. Pick disc based courseware (On CD or DVD) if possible. You’re then protected from internet connection failure and issues with signal quality.

If you forget everything else – then just remember this: It’s essential to obtain proper 24×7 round-the-clock instructor and mentor support. You’ll definitely experience problems if you let this one slide. Look for training with proper support available at all hours of the day and night (no matter if it’s in the middle of the night on a weekend!) Make sure it’s always direct access to tutors and not a message system as this will slow you down – waiting for tutors to call you back at a convenient time for them. The very best training providers have many support offices from around the world. They use an online interactive interface to provide a seamless experience; any time of the day or night – help is just a click away with no hassle or contact issues. If you accept anything less than 24×7 support, you’ll regret it very quickly. It may be that you don’t use it during late nights, but you’re bound to use weekends, early mornings or even late evenings at some point?

Consider the points below very carefully if you think the sales ploy of examination guarantees seems like a good idea: Everyone knows they’re ultimately paying for it – it’s not so hard to see that it’s already been included in the overall figure from the course provider. Certainly, it’s not a freebie – don’t think these companies are so generous with their money! Students who go in for their examinations when it’s appropriate, paying for them just before taking them are in a much stronger position to qualify at the first attempt. They are thoughtful of what they’ve paid and prepare more appropriately to be ready for the task. Don’t you think it’s more sensible to go for the best offer when you’re ready, not to pay any mark-up to a training course provider, and to take it closer to home – instead of the remote centre that’s convenient only to the trainer? A surprising number of questionable training companies secure a great deal of profit through charging for exams at the start of the course then cashing in if they’re not all taken. The majority of companies will require you to sit pre-tests and with-hold subsequent exam entries from you until you have proved to them you have a good chance of passing – making an ‘exam guarantee’ just about worthless. Exams taken at local centres are approximately 112 pounds in Great Britain. Why spend so much more on ‘Exam Guarantee’ costs (often covertly rolled into the cost of the course) – when good quality study materials, the proper support and commitment, effort and practice with quality exam preparation systems are the factors that really get you through.

We’re regularly asked to explain why academic qualifications are being overtaken by more commercially accredited qualifications? As we require increasingly more effective technological know-how, industry has moved to the specialised core-skills learning only available through the vendors themselves – for example companies like CISCO, Adobe, Microsoft and CompTIA. This frequently provides reductions in both cost and time. Of course, a reasonable amount of relevant additional information must be learned, but essential specialised knowledge in the areas needed gives a commercially educated student a distinct advantage. It’s rather like the advert: ‘It does what it says on the tin’. The company just needs to know what they need doing and then match up the appropriate exam numbers as a requirement. They’ll know then that all applicants can do what they need.

Being at the forefront of the cutting-edge of new technology is about as exciting as it can get. You become one of a team of people defining the world to come. There are people who believe that the technological advancement we’ve had over recent years is cooling down. There is no truth in this at all. Terrific advances are ahead of us, and most especially the internet will be the biggest thing to affect the way we live. Should receiving a good salary be up there on your wish list, you will be happy to know that the average salary of the majority of IT staff is considerably better than salaries in most other jobs or industries. The requirement for well trained and qualified IT technicians is assured for many years to come, because of the constant increase in the technology industry and the massive shortage still in existence.

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