Self studying vs. IT training

This topic is much wider then simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for one of the options. IT changed so much in last 10 years and I believe that changes just speeding up from year to year. How to learn new knowledge or update the knowledge that you already own, became crucial question for people in business as well as for beginners.

So, where to start considering IT training? Now, after more than 15 years in IT business, I am sure that, if you are beginner, you need training for specific technologies or certifications. Simply, I thing that you can’t master material by yourself , just from books or watching Youtube. Take for example of CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certificate. Material is so large and area of studying so huge that without trainer you can easily lost focus and give up. OK, maybe you are so tenacious to master material, but without practical, laboratory exercises with trainer you will not be able to respond to task in real life. Mostly same thing is with all fundamental knowledge or certifications in IT infrastructure.

Programming is slight different, when you consider taking training or use self studying material. In most cases books or video materials are full of examples and situations which can gives you what is going on in real life, in real situation. Still, if you more prefer interaction with experienced trainer, you can take course.

Here we comes to question what kind of learning method should you use when you are experienced in what you do and you have some knowledge about technology you plan to master? OK, let’s take one example: you are network administrator mastering Cisco equipment, but your company purchased CheckPoint firewall. You know in general how firewalls work, you saw user interface or even configured access on some workshop, but details?

There is so many functionalities with different logic in configuring interface. There is so many different features that you haven’t seen before. This is case when you absolutely need training. In case you you go step forward in learning about technologies you already master, like upgrade from CCNA to CCNP, I believe you can pass without training.  Still, I am sure, if you take training even for partially known technologies you will see many features and situations you are unable to see in every day tasks.

This is the point where we comes back to changes. As technologies changes, IT training methods are changing to. Continuous reduction of expenses has led to cutting IT training budgets and therefor companies using e-learning platforms, thereby reducing travel and accommodation expanses. But where is difference between self studying and learning over distance e-learning platform? Key word is interaction. Advanced e-learning platforms are not just simple document reading platforms combined with tests after every area mastered. They using animations, simulations, tests and many other learning methods combined in one robust and comprehensive training. They even combine e-learning with consultations with trainers over IM platforms.

There is another advantage that should not be ignored: when you use e-learning platform you are not required to attend lessons on exact time, which is great having in mind frequent after hours in office or on the field. From my perspective, e-learning is future, or it’s better to say it’s present of education, regardless of whether we are talking about IT training or training from any other field.

Dejan Dzodan

Dejan Dzodan

IT professional for more then 15 years, mostly in financial institutions but with experience in ISP and retail. Proven in networking and overall infrastructure projects. Cisco instructor.

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