Success in the IT arena requires one to constantly upgrade their skill-set and stay abreast of domain innovations. One of the best ways to stay on top of things is to take a certification course and earn that valuable “certified” stamp on your CV.
As full-time professionals, however, it can be difficult to spare time from your busy schedule for certification training. Finding a balance between work, home and studies for a few months at a time requires planning and diligence.
We all know those IT professionals who rely on self-study to prepare for certification exams. Some of us, however, find it difficult to fully prepare for a certification exam using online certification forums, test papers, and so on. Some of us just need the interaction and guidance of a “real” person that is best obtained via a classroom setting. Also, some instructor-led classroom trainings (physical or virtual) are mandatory for certain certification courses.
So, how do you identify the right coaching classes or tutors? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the coaching options that may suit you, along with the different ways to help you identify the right certification classes or training institutes.
Selecting a course or Instructor
Instructor-led training in class or over the web can greatly enrich your learning experience. Although classroom courses come at an additional cost, you will generally benefit from interacting with a subject matter expert.
It’s a human tendency to develop better communication and rapport with people we know on a personal level and whose faces we recognize. Classroom training allows you to interact with an instructor and other students face-to-face. Learning new concepts may require closer and more frequent interaction with instructors and classmates in order to strengthen your understanding and gather more knowledge about the topic.
Of course, classroom attendance means you will need to adhere to a schedule. Online training in a group or directly with an instructor will limit the freedom to study at your convenience, but it can save you a lot of time. Knowing you have to attend classes, and meet deadlines is a great way to avoid procrastination. Still, as a working professional, you will need to evaluate how much time you have to study.
Some key criteria for selecting a training class or institute include:
- Check if the trainer or trainers are qualified and if they have solid experience with the certification. If possible, meet the faculty of the training institute or communicate with them several times over the phone and ask as many queries as you can. The objective of this is to understand the different approaches used by the various training institutes. Being comfortable with the teaching style can go a long way to enriching your experience.
- Enquire about the background of other students currently taking the course in other cohorts. This will enable you to evaluate whether or not you have the knowledge and experience to take such a course. It It’s also a good idea to speak with others who have completed the course. Ask their opinions on what was helpful, what could have been better and how it helped them prepare for the exam.
- Browse through the study materials offered by the different trainers or institutes by getting in touch with former students who recently completed the course. Are they easy to understand and follow, or will you need additional materials?
- If you’re doing a certification course as a fresher, check the placement record of the institutes. All things being equal, a higher ranked institution is always a plus.
- Does the class have an appropriate number of practice tests on the schedule? Completing numerous practice exams under test-like conditions will sharpen your skills and better prepare you for the main exam.
- Working professionals are always busy, and sometimes circumstances will cause you to miss a class. Make certain the course permits you flexibility to attend any sessions with other cohorts that you may have missed. Be certain to clarify this clause with the trainer or institute before enrolling.
- Talk to other IT professionals who have appeared for certification exams via classroom training or instructor training. Note the problems they faced and enroll for a class or trainer that offers the fewest problems as per student feedback.
- Visit the training institute to ask questions and see if you can observe a training session in progress. This will help you get a feel for the teaching style and participation level of the students. You can also get good feedback from the students you come across on the premises of such classes.
- Conduct an online search of the institute or course and read their reviews. There are many websites (particularly certification forums) with voluminous feedback and opinions about courses and instructors.
- Check out training institutes from education-based sites such as Shikshaand IndiaStudyChannel. If unsure about the courses, you can ask questions on sites like Quoraor even in the “Ask Experts” section of the IndiaStudyChannel website. If you are considering the services of a personal tutor, be sure to check their reputation on sites like UrbanPro.
Be prepared to spend a greater amount of money for professional guidance. Classroom training is significantly more expensive than online training. Remember to bifurcate training costs from the costs of the actual certification exam. Know exactly how much you will pay for training.
While the costs associated with studying for and clearing a certification may be fixed, the ability to meet these costs varies between individuals. Make certain you know and accept the costs of earning a certification. Once you decide to pursue a certification, sticker-shock shouldn’t be one of your concerns.
The old adage, “You get what you pay for,” applies here. There is no point in attending a low-cost training institute with a poor record in terms of the number of professionals who successfully certified. Fortunately, this is the day of the internet, and for those who either don’t want to, or can’t afford to spend a lot for a course there are many online options that offer flexible packages. If you’re comfortable with a self-study option and disciplined enough to do so with limited guidance, this may be the route for you. There are many online offerings that give you access to solid study materials and expert guidance.
Earning any IT certification requires hard work and discipline. It is important that whatever course you choose that you understand the requirements and your ability and availability to meet them.
I hope the information shared here helps you make the right choice for your next certification course. Please feel free to share your own experience of finding the right training institute below.
As always, thanks for reading!