3 tips to choosing an online training provider

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It wasn’t long ago when IT conjured images of in-house servers, wires and monitors. It shifted through virtualized technology, faster Internet speeds, local and long-distance secondary datacenters and now the cloud. Today IT is a simple plug-in-and-go service. Nicholas Carr calls this “The Big Switch” referring to the move to IT as a utility, in much the same way electricity went from being generated on-premises to something generated in one location and sold across the world.

While this switch will alter the way the technology is provided to end-users, it doesn’t eliminate the need for educated, well-trained, experienced IT professionals. You no longer need to obsess about installation of software in a world of prepackaged select-a-server-type VM templates. However, there is still a great need in understanding the underlying software technology; how pieces fit together and work, and how your end-users utilize that technology on-premises (including mobile device management in a BYOD world).

Think about the following next-gen responsibilities for IT pros:

  • Choosing solid ecosystem solutions to bolt on and enhance or extend what the cloud vendor offers. Solutions architects aren’t irrelevant in a cloud-based world, they need to evolve into cloud solution architects. SA 2.0, so to speak.

  • Configuring servers and solutions. The VMs may reside in the cloud, but the IT admins and engineers will still need to configure them, monitor them, ensure access to them, secure them or ensure they are secured properly. As an example, IT pros will need to know more than just the core understanding of things like PowerShell.

  • This includes Mobile device (BYOD) support, OS support and app support. These will always be essential to ensure that end-users are getting the most out of the technology in front of them. Pardon the pun, but there is no point in moving them to the cloud if you don’t teach them how to fly.

So, how exactly will the next generation obtain the knowledge needed to remain relevant? The modern IT student should be looking for online learning solutions that provide 24/7 access, unlimited content, and most importantly, relevant, modern training provided by the best in the business. This is one of the big benefits of seeking training through the cloud. Unlike a local IT school where you might have the best instructor in town, with the cloud you get the best instructor on the planet for any given course.

Training can be updated and online quickly as the cloud evolves and the training has to keep pace. An all-you-can-learn approach puts the student in the driver’s seat to decide which training is most beneficial for their needs. And if they wish to expand their knowledge into other fields, like development or graphics, they have the ability to do so at will.

To recap, three key must haves for choosing an online training provider include:

  • Knowledgeable, globally recognized leaders and experts as your instructors.

  • Diverse subject matter covering all forms of content to ensure you remain relevant in IT.

  • Training that doesn’t exist in a silo, but allows you to reach across the aisle to expand your knowledge in any direction.

You can find solutions like this with online subscription-oriented services. Solutions like this will ensure that you get the best quality instructors, the most relevant content to your IT career, the ability to reach across into other areas. Pluralsight offers all of these things and more, and you can get started right away by checking out the course library.

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J. Peter Bruzzese

J. Peter Bruzzese is an author with over a dozen titles sold internationally. He has written hundreds of articles, speaks at a variety of technical conferences held by Microsoft, 1105 Media, WindowsITPro and others and is the Enterprise Windows columnist for 3+ years for InfoWorld. Most notably, J. P. B. is a member of the Train Signal family and is our very own Exchange instructor. Follow him on Twitter at @jpbruzzese. (Exchange MVP, Triple-MCSE, MCT, MCITP: Enterprise Messaging 2007/2010)