You’ve done the beginner, intermediate, and advanced routine in training classes, and now you’re ready for some high-level instruction. Maybe you’re looking for a class on how to make a mishmash of operating systems work together, how to get your boss to spend money on your department, or even some technical philosophy, such as how to get on the good side of the computer karma gods.

Mike Sullivan recently wrote about this issue in an article about the slim pickings at the high end of the training spectrum. TechRepublic readers wrote back with comments about this problem and suggestions about who their ideal instructor would be.

Where are the classes?
Mondy is an MCP with the four core MCSE certifications who agrees that there is a need for high-end training classes:

“I have been teaching Windows NT for the past year, and I recently obtained the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) by myself after a one-month-and-a-half study commitment. I have been searching for a good Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) training location in the Atlanta vicinity, but in vain thus far. Each one that I call either postpones the class for four to six months or does not have instructors or the required lab yet to teach it.

“I really agree with you that it is time for the IT training industry to start thinking about the more advanced training.”

“Plug me in”
Jmollett has a wishful thought about his favorite teacher:

“Who is my ‘dream instructor?’ Simple, Tank. You know, Tank, the man who teaches Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix?” It would be wonderful to lie back in a chair and 10 hours later look up and say with conviction, ‘I know my MCSE material.’”

“Study and think time”
Rich C. suggests that shortsightedness is not the only reason that there are so few high-end training classes:

“High-end training consists less of facts, and more of knowledge—not a what-to-do, but a how-to-do. This process is not readily ‘canned,’ and requires detailed knowledge of the environment (technical and political). A public high-end class is difficult to structure, because you are dealing with specific problems, not general technical issues. Often, management has a big problem paying for ‘study and think’ time, which is critical to any high-level process. (This is often why staff has to ‘stop thinking and just do it.’)

“My experience in process and communication, along with an outside view of current process, can help me guide technically savvy staff to success. Generally, this involves applying technology already available to them, and building processes and knowledge that allow time for thought and planning.

“High-level training streamlined into a consulting engagement provides enough background on the environment and enough time to evaluate the needs of the staff. This allows the trainer to provide almost one-on-one learning to a great depth on areas that have a great impact on user support and IT staff success.

“This returns results because:

  • Staff does not have work queued up because ‘they are at training.’
  • Staff gains ‘think time’ because you are providing some user support.
  • Cost can be spread over longer periods because it is wrapped in consulting.
  • The department gets the training (billed as consulting) in cases where the training department will not (or cannot) provide the funds.

“Presentation is the key to entry, but results are the reason they pay you. My young daughter loves chicken, so we have chicken every night…even if it never had feathers—a technique that seems to work in an IT context as well.”
We’ve covered the instructor side of the equation, but what about the topic? What’s the most troublesome problem in the big picture of your company? Do you need advice on how to approach a large-scale issue? Send us your wish list of classes and we’ll use them for future article ideas.