Every once in a while I run into a company that is particularly interesting, relatively unique and useful. Such was the case when I took a briefing from the IT Training company CBT Nuggets. I know that keeping certifications current and making sure you and your folks have them when needed is not only a pain, but it can be wickedly expensive. I also know that a lot of IT people have experience they can share, and because raises in staff organizations are an infrequent thing, they could use some extra money. This firm offers both a subscription based training service and an opportunity for well qualified people to earn money teaching others their skills over the web.
Let’s talk about CBT Nuggets and subscription IT training this week.
Finding the time…
Technology moves quickly and often due largely to a combination of understaffing, underfunding and overwork finding the time for training can be problematic. Add to this the difficulties associated with finding time to travel to the class, funding the effort (getting approvals), and then staying focused on the class while the needs of your job are intruding and there is no wonder that people often fall behind on keeping their skills and certifications current.
However, if you allow that to happen you become less and less valuable as an employee and that will push you higher on a layoff list and make it harder to get a new job if you are let go. Being unemployed and in need of training is a double whammy because now you have to pay for that training and the longer the gap between jobs the more hiring managers are likely to take a pass on you.
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The idea of having a paid subscription for training is interesting. Once funded you no longer have to ask for approvals for classes. In addition, like Netflix movies, the training is provided online so you don’t have to travel. This means you can train in the evenings and not be distracted by as many daily interruptions or you don’t have to waste time driving to the class during evening rush hour. For me, driving to a four-hour class at night was incredibly painful because I lost another 90 minutes on the commute and winding down to get into bed at a marginally reasonable hour was problematic.
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Picking a firm
There are actually a number of firms that provide services like this in the U.S. They include Pluralsight, Lynda.com (part of LinkedIn and now Microsoft), which produce a great deal of content; IT pro TV and StormWind Studios, which are valu- focused; and CBT Nuggets, which is positioned as a more focused premium service. Each of the firms has their unique advantages and disadvantages, however, I haven’t used any of them myself. Generally, in choosing a firm, you look to make sure their content matches your needs, whether their customers are pleased with the outcome, and whether their training methods are both hands on and lecture. Personally, I prefer the hands on classes myself, as I don’t retain lectures well. But match what the firm has and does to both how you like to learn and what you need to learn.
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What attracted me to CBT Nuggets at first was the promise of extra income as a teacher. These spots are few and only available to folks who are at the top of their respective fields. Pay is tied to attendance but the courses are streamed so you could end up with residual payments for some time and CBT Nuggets pays for you to maintain your own certifications as well. The advantages to participating in this side of the program are not only maintaining your own education level but meeting others who could become future employees through student interaction. You also gain third party validation of your own expertise.
The CBT Nuggets method just makes sense
Given how much churn there is in IT and how much value is associated with current skills and certifications prioritizing the related activity should go a long way towards job security. It isn’t uncommon for IT to go through staffing reductions but shortages in key skills remain so making sure you have them also assures your paycheck. Choosing the right school is important and that means matching the content and method to your skill needs and how you like to be taught. This new, to me anyway, Netflix-like method makes a ton of sense to me as does learning online at your own house as long as it is both hands on and lecture (otherwise you and I are likely to dose or zone out and miss what we need to learn).
Thanks again to CBT Nuggets for the update and here is hoping you find this information as useful to read as I did.