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Cisco Retraining 2009

By Jason Kendall

If we didn't have a regular deluge of well educated PC and network support workers, commercial enterprise throughout the country (along with most other places) would surely be brought to its knees. We have a huge demand for people to support systems and users alike. Whereupon we become progressively reliant on our PC's, we also become increasingly dependent on the skilled and qualified networking professionals, who maintain those systems.

Often, individuals don't comprehend what information technology is all about. It is ground-breaking, exciting, and puts you at the fore-front of developments in technology affecting everyones lives in the 21st century. It's a common misapprehension that the revolution in technology we've had over recent years is lowering its pace. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are huge changes to come, and the internet significantly will become an increasingly dominant part of our lives.

And keep in mind that income in the world of IT across the UK is noticeably better than the national average salary, therefore you'll probably earn noticeably more once qualified in IT, than you would in most typical jobs. It seems there's no easing up for IT jobs increases throughout this country. The market continues to grow enormously, and we don't have anywhere near enough qualified skilled IT professionals to fill current job vacancies, so it's most unlikely that it will even slow down for the significant future.

Bearing in mind all the debate around computer technology currently, how is it possible to recognize what in particular to look for?

If your advisor doesn't ask many questions - it's more than likely they're just a salesperson. If they push a particular product before learning about your history and whether you have any commercial experience, then you know it's true. With a little work-based experience or base qualifications, you may find that your starting point is very different to someone completely new. Where this will be your opening stab at studying for an IT examination then you may want to cut your teeth on a user-skills course first.

The old fashioned style of teaching, using textbooks and whiteboards, can be pretty hard going sometimes. If all this is ringing some familiar bells, check out study materials that are on-screen and interactive. Studies have always demonstrated that getting into our studies physically, will more likely produce memories that are deeper and longer-lasting.

Courses are now available via DVD-ROM discs, where everything is taught on your PC. Through video streaming, you will be able to see the instructor presenting exactly how to do something, and then have a go at it yourself - with interactive lab sessions. It makes sense to see a small selection of training examples before you make your decision. Always insist on instructor-led video demonstrations and a variety of audio-visual and interactive sections.

It's folly to choose training that is only available online. Because of the variable quality and reliability of your average broadband company, it makes sense to have physical media such as CD or DVD ROM's.

There is no way of over emphasising this: You absolutely must have proper 24x7 professional support from mentors and instructors. You'll severely regret it if you don't. Always avoid study programmes that only provide support to trainees via an out-sourced call-centre message system after office-staff have gone home. Training organisations will give you every excuse in the book why you don't need this. The bottom line is - you want to be supported when you need the help - not as-and-when it's suitable for their staff.

Be on the lookout for training schools that utilise many support facilities from around the world. These should be integrated to enable simple one-stop access together with 24x7 access, when you want it, with no fuss. Search out a company that goes the extra mile. Only true live 24x7 support gives you the confidence to make it.

Authorised exam simulation and preparation packages are crucial - and must be sought from your course provider. Be sure that your practice exams are not just posing the correct questions from the right areas, but additionally ask them in the way the real exams will structure them. This throws people if the phraseology and format is completely different. Mock exams can be enormously valuable for confidence building - so that when you come to take the proper exam, you won't be worried.

A lot of people presume that the school and FE college path is still the most effective. So why are commercial certificates becoming more popular with employers? Industry now recognises that to cover the necessary commercial skill-sets, official accreditation from the likes of Microsoft, CompTIA, CISCO and Adobe is far more effective and specialised - at a far reduced cost both money and time wise. In essence, only required knowledge is taught. It isn't quite as lean as that might sound, but the most important function is always to cover the precise skills needed (including a degree of required background) - without trying to cram in everything else - in the way that academic establishments often do.

It's rather like the advert: 'It does what it says on the tin'. The company just needs to know what areas need to be serviced, and then request applicants with the correct exam numbers. Then they're assured that a potential employee can do exactly what's required.

Every program under consideration must provide a properly recognised qualification at the finale - not a useless 'in-house' printed certificate to hang in your hallway. From the viewpoint of an employer, only top businesses such as Microsoft, CompTIA, Cisco or Adobe (to give some examples) provide enough commercial weight. Anything less just doesn't cut the mustard.

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