What Training Options Are Available?
When I began my Novell training, there were two ways to get the information needed to pass the certification exams: OJT (on-the-job training) and ILT (instructor-led training). In the seven or eight years that I have been administering networks and teaching Novell courses, the training options have grown. With the right experience, you can still walk in and pass the Novell certification exams. OJT is still one of the best ways to prepare for the certification experience.
In my mind, however, instructor-led training at an authorized Novell training center is the best way to prepare for the certification experience. My experience as a student (career changer) in ILT was life-changing, and my Novell students have told me that ILT was the best learning method for them. I could say great things about Novell instructors but because I am one, I don't think that would be appropriate. The courseware that Novell uses in the authorized classes is some of the best-prepared and thought out in the IT world. Novell's curricula have been the models for many other vendor's curricula.
ILT is offered at authorized training centers called Novell Authorized Education Centers and Novell Authorized Education Partners. The Education Partners are generally Community Colleges and Vocational-Technical Centers, whereas the Education Centers are for-profit training centers. The downsides of ILT at an NAEC are the time away from work that is required and the cost of classes. Classes are generally not as expensive at an NAEP as they are at NAECs. The strengths of Novell ILT are that you have an authorized trainer to assist you and explain concepts to you, and that the certification test is derived from the curriculum used in the classroom. Novell also has several other classroom training options that include pre-course rollout classes taught at central Novell offices, Spotlight Seminars, and Advanced Technical Training. There are also schools that are not Novell Partners, but offer superb non-authorized Novell ILT. These should not be ignored just because they are not "Partners." These schools are generally vocational-technical schools or community colleges. They offer a comprehensive track of Novell classes at a fraction of the price. One example of such an institution is Valdosta Technical Institute in Valdosta, Georgia.
Not everyone can take time off from work or can afford to attend an ILT course. To meet the needs of those students Novell has a variety of self-paced training tools and aids. Recently, they have started selling Authorized Self-Study Kits, which contain the same information that is in the ILT curricula for a fraction of the price. CBTs, videos, and labs are also available for those wanting to do self-study. One thing that is not available is a series of GOOD third-party self-study books that are geared toward the certification process. Microsoft has done an excellent job of encouraging this certification-preparation channel. Novell has not. I would love to see New Riders come out with a series of Training Guides for Novell Certification. They have done a great job with Microsoft's material; Novell seems to have been forgotten.
Additionally, Novell has custom training and consulting available as part of its Professional Education Programs. Novell has also begun to leverage the Internet for training purposes. Online mentoring and labs and authorized online training companies can help you prepare for Novell certifications in the comfort of your home or office. I wish that training option were available a few years ago.
One other training option that Novell is now leveraging is the boot camp method. Training centers recognize that IT professionals are always facing time limitations. Most professionals do not have weeks to devote to the pursuit of a certification. The boot camp strategy condenses weeks of training into days. Novell is now offering NetWare 6, CDE, and DirXML in the boot camp format. I have sat through two boot camps this year: a Microsoft boot camp and a Cisco boot camp. Both were excellent. I have not yet experienced a Novell offering. If I do, I will let you know how it goes.
To find detailed descriptions of Novell training options, see http://www.novell.com/education/training/index.html.