Has your training center hugged you today?
- By Dian Schaffhauser
I’ve been thinking a lot about training lately, for several
First, I spoke recently with an MCSE who told me how he
got his title after being in the networking business for a few years.
He attended classes at a CTEC in southern California called EdNet Career
Institute. While Nate considered the facilities there just “workable,”
he found the staff highly supportive—which drove him to attend courses
for five or six months, from 6 to 11 every night of the week. This wasn’t
just book learning either. In every class, Nate recalls, the group had
to troubleshoot technical problems. He went to a school that grounded
him in handling the messy stuff. Then there’s Matthew, who signed off
a recent email message to me: “PRINT THIS IF YOU DARE.” Why is Matthew
so unhappy? Because he sees the “computer field as an enormous self-referential
mass assembly line factory of certifications, certification upgrades,
recertifications, $100 sylvan [sic] adaptive examinations, classes, vocational
schools, books, cram courses, videos, all feeding off the frenzy of the
fantasy of ‘too many IT jobs to fill.’”
I get the feeling that Matthew went to one of those schools
that advertises on the radio and lures the listener with promises of a
lucrative job as an MCSE in just weeks. Now Matthew says he’s going into
real estate appraisal because “a mere $1,000” will get him into a field
“in which people regularly make over $100K a year with constant demand.”
Good luck, Matthew. Try to find a school that offers some hands-on instruction
And then there’s the recent phone call I received from a
prime-time news show that wants to blow the lid off sleaze-ball training
facilities, a.k.a. MCSE mills. They’d heard from a number of viewers that
rip-off artists abound in our industry, feeding on the frenzy of high
salaries, seemingly limitless IT job openings on Dice.com and HotJobs.com,
and an easy way to measure success: “Pass these tests and you’ll prove
you’re an expert!”
Personally, I hope they don’t do the story, because it has
the potential to harm companies trying to do a decent job of training
IT professionals on new technologies—and it’ll call into question the
value of all IT certifications. But you and I know those other companies
are out there and the television crew can persuade itself it’s saving
consumers from stupid decisions.
So, while we gird for prime-time treatment of the MCSE program,
let’s share our own stories.
I’d like to hear about your training experiences—good and
bad. Did you go to a top-notch facility or a rip-off joint? Tell me the
name of the company, where it’s located, what you liked or hated, and
what you plan to do next time you need some training. If you’ve got shopping
advice for others seeking training, put that in your letter too.
We’ll publish as much as we can
in an upcoming issue. I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dian L. Schaffhauser is a freelance writer based in Northern California.