Who do information technology trainers turn to for resource and support services? Other IT trainers, of course. And an increasing number of IT folks are finding their colleagues among the rank and file members of the International Association of Information Technology Trainers (ITrain).
About the association
ITrain is a nonprofit international association of about 4,400 IT professionals in 149 countries. According to Dave Murphy, ITrain membership director, the organization provides newsletters, training conferences, a job bank, and professional development help to members.
“We help our members through our ‘Train the Trainer’ seminars, through networking among the members, and through helping with member and non-member job placement, which includes helping employers find trainers or helping trainers find work,” Murphy said.
Murphy said four members presently serve on ITrain’s regular staff, but the organization plans to add at least one more member this year.
ITrain will conduct a seminar titled “Train the Trainer Boot Camp” June 14, 2000, for novices and an advanced, two-day course titled “Train the Trainers” June 15-16, 2000, in Columbia, MD. The seminars are open to all teachers, instructors, and trainers regardless of discipline. Both events are prerequisites for all ITrain members seeking professional technical trainer (PTT) certification. For more information, check out the ITrain Web site .
Murphy said the basic seminar deals with the foundations of IT training and covers such topics as asking effective questions, developing training materials, and preparing the presentation room or training lab.
The advanced course, which is geared toward IT trainers with one year or more of experience, focuses on issues such as how to handle disruptive and problem students, and how to manage over- or under-qualified students.
“What I want to leave with the students who complete the two-day seminar is an understanding or an appreciation for their strengths and their weaknesses and how, when our participants force us to teach from our weaknesses, to maintain control and not lose it under pressure,” Murphy said.
Benefits of membership
There are three levels of membership. If you subscribe to ITinfo, one of the organization’s publications, you receive a limited, free membership as an associate member of ITrain.
Individual membership dues are $149 per year. Organization membership dues are $499 per year. An organization membership allows all employees of the member organization to share the benefits of the association.
Vendor memberships are available, as well, for $999.
A quick scan of the membership list on ITrain's Web site shows that, at this time, most people have taken advantage of the free associate membership offer.
- Discounts on training materials
- 15 percent discount on the registration fee of ITrain-sponsored seminars
- Training tips
- Course outlines
- Vendor information
- Professional education seminars
ITrain also has desktop software training guides that it developed. To review samples of these guides, follow this link to "Honesty Downloads.”
IT news you can use
ITrain produces two newsletters, ITinfo and ResponsibleTraining. The ITinfo newsletter is an e-zine and covers:
- Tips & Tricks
- Web site Design
Recent article topics include “64-Bit PC Linux & Mainframe Linux,” “Novell: Instant Messaging for Suits,” and “Microsoft Office 2000 Requires Security Update.”
Responsible Training is published in fax and print editions, and is sent to full members. A recent issue included information on training materials offered by ITrain and recent viruses. Older editions of both publications are available on the ITrain Web site.
ITrain’s certification program started in April 2000, and offers three certification tracks for:
- Individual trainers
- Organizations and their training staff
- Materials and learning guides
Membership in ITrain is required for all certifications. As part of the certification process, individual trainers have to submit a videotape of their work, references from 10 students, and evaluations from 10 classes. The organization’s certification evaluates the management of training procedures and the skills of the individual trainers of the training center.
Authors and publishers of training guides and instructional materials may submit their products for independent review and certification.
Murphy said that to date, two people have completed the certification program, and a third person that recently enrolled is expected to finish soon.
Click here to find out more about ITrain’s certification process.
ITrain, you train, we all train
Suleiman Adem, training manager of Top Tek Computing in London, Ontario, said he joined ITrain to help him continue his computer training education. He said he is currently A+ and MCSE qualified.
“I found ITrain on the Internet, while looking for a way to get more information on computer training,” said Suleiman, an ITrain associate member.
Renee Atkinson, an ITrain associate member of Austin, TX, said she likes ITinfo, which she receives via e-mail.
“I like it because I get a concise digest of things that are happening in the IT world quickly, and I don’t have to read a lot of garbage,” Atkinson said.
Atkinson, a training specialist for the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, said the ITinfo articles are consistently well-written and developed.
“Dave is so thorough in his reporting and is always on top of things, so I know that it’s accurate, I know that it’s been researched, and I know that it’s the happening thing,” Atkinson said.
Are you a member of ITrain? If so, do you recommend it to other IT professionals? Is there another professional organization that you’ve joined? Let us know what you think by sending us a note.