Organizations all over the world rely on Cisco networking equipment to connect critical IT services to those who need them. However, networking technology is constantly evolving and IT professionals are required to keep their knowledge and certifications current. Unfortunately, organizations that fail to keep pace lose productivity while their engineers miss out on relevant experience.
The obvious solution to the knowledge gaps caused by product evolution is training. Unfortunately, nobody in networking has spare time to train. Likewise, people have diverse learning styles and a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works for most organizations. The biggest problem is the failure to convince the organization’s leadership that training is needed. Everything considered, how is an IT director or training coordinator expected to roll-out an effective training initiative for the network team?
Cisco training doesn’t have to be a burden. For some, training is a great way to break-up the day, learn a new skill and update the resume. For others, it’s a complete headache. If you’re tasked with finding network training for your team, consider these three tips to planning your Cisco training initiatives.
Tip 1: Schedule Your Training
How are network engineers expected to find time to train when they’re already working long hours each week? The answer is they’ll never find time. Anyone in networking is required to make time for training as it’s the only way it ever gets accomplished. This requires training sessions to be mapped-out on a calendar. Training should also occur during normal work hours, because it puts a lot less stress on the employee. If this is unrealistic for the business, a network engineer should still use a calendar and train immediately before or after work. Some enjoy knocking out a few hours of training before they take their shoes off for the evening while others get to work early and train a few hours before the rest of the staff shows up. Regardless, make sure the training is scheduled.
Don’t use projects as an excuse to delay training. Let’s face it, every time we say we’ll start training after the current project finishes, another one pops up. Therefore, learn to train during projects. Most importantly, know which projects require training and make sure it’s completed before the project begins. The last thing a company wants to do is waste a training budget on an employee that fails to develop skills when they’re needed most.
Tip 2: Cater to Your Network Team’s Learning Preferences
We all learn differently and managers who realize this are more successful at rolling out training initiatives. Thankfully, managers have choices when it comes to Cisco training.
Some common training solutions include:
- Boot Camp
- Online Training
- Live, Online Training
Those attending instructor-led boot camps attend a set training schedule, which is a non-starter for organizations that can’t afford to lose a valued member of the network team. However, they’re ideal for network engineers capable of taking time off, are already familiar with the technology and are more interested in certification. Online training, on the other hand, is much more flexible and can be completed on the network engineer’s own schedule. While this style requires self-discipline, it’s ideal for network engineers with eradicate schedules. Live online training is the perfect hybrid of online and boot camp-style training. Students mitigate the need to travel by attending live, authorized Cisco courses in a virtual classroom. They also participate in live equipment sharing exercises, ask questions in real-time and attend a much lighter training schedule than a traditional boot-camp schedule.
Tip 3: How to ask for training
The biggest reason why Cisco engineers fail to keep their skills current is the inability to properly ask for training. If the business-side of the organization believes Cisco training is “nice-to-have” rather than a requirement, you’ll likely get a “no” or “not at this time” response. With this in mind; those in charge of facilitating Cisco training should take a more comprehensive approach. This should include a formal proposal in a business format. The proposal should focus on the benefit to the organization; not the benefit to the engineers. Also, have a timeline and schedule mapped out for the training so it has a clear beginning and end. Lastly, make sure the business is fully aware of any discounts or specials. After all, nobody wants to explain how the company could have saved money if they would have executed on a promotion before it expired.
Summing It Up
Facilitating Cisco training for the network team takes planning, but it’s the only way to make sure that they keep pace with the industry. If you’ve been tasked with finding authorized Cisco training, contact KnowledgeNet: The Live Learning Company and speak with a friendly representative. KnowledgeNet offers a number of training solutions designed to meet everybody’s learning needs. Call (888) 797-2799 or visit www.knowledgenet.com.