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Now What? — Becoming an IT Trainer and The CTT+ Certification

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Now what? If you are at a crossroads in your career, consider the career option of becoming an IT trainer. Most IT professionals are comfortable in their positions working as programmers and systems engineers. Why should you bother teaching someone else what you know? Simple: Someone had to teach you.

Now what? Many of you who read the articles on the InformIT.com Web site are established professionals in IT. You have years of experience, and many of you can clearly articulate complex concepts in a way that is understandable to most people. I would like to pose an idea to you if you fit this description. If by some chance you are a career changer, you don't necessarily have years of IT experience, but you love to explain difficult concepts to people, this idea might interest you as well. What I want you to think about is becoming an IT trainer. In past Now What? articles, I have discussed the benefits of being an IT contractor, but I have not touched on the part of my career that I have thoroughly enjoyed—my life as a trainer. Becoming an IT trainer is a career option worth considering.

I realize that not everyone is cut out to be an IT trainer. Not everyone is interested. But, as I have found in my classes, some of the most unsuspecting folks want to get into IT, but don't want to write code or work a helpdesk 24x7, nor do they want to set up wiring closets for a living. Many who want to work with the technology and with people often express interest in life as an IT trainer. I could easily write a lengthy article about each of the vendor certifications that are offered for those wishing to be an IT trainer. As a certified trainer with Novell, Microsoft, and Prosoft, I could share a lot with you. However, the CTT+ certification, which I also hold, opens many training options that just a few years ago were closed. There are many advantages to teaching others who want to enter the world of IT. In this article, I want to answer the following questions:

  • What makes a good trainer, and what is a good teaching philosophy?

  • What is the CTT+ certification, why would you want to pursue the CTT+, and what are the requirements to earn the CTT+?


As an IT trainer, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some of the brightest people, both those entering and established in IT. When students ask me why I became a trainer, my answer always is job security and financial gain. When they ask why I have remained a trainer, my answer is always the students. The students make the job the best in the world. Seeing folks younger and older than me work hard to better their life situation, and look to me to help them do just that, is all it takes for me to go to work in the morning. My role as a technical trainer/teacher is simply to share the information and skills that I have learned with people who are interested in learning those same skills. I want to share with those who want to learn.

Not every student is interested. Those that are not interested become a challenge for an IT trainer. Nevertheless, I have found that everyone, if addressed with respect in the classroom, will take something away from the classroom experience. The other challenge as an IT trainer is to stay ahead of the learning curve, that is, to stay on the cutting edge of emerging technologies. I no sooner had achieved the MCT with Windows NT 3.51 that I had to upgrade my skills to Windows NT 4.0. I no sooner had the CNE/CNI with NetWare 3.12 that I had to upgrade to NetWare 4.10. Earlier this year, I upgraded my skills to Windows 2000, and just recently sat in Novell's CDE bootcamp and a NetWare 6 rollout. That is also the same for Prosoft and Cisco. If you want to stay in the classroom, you have to stay ahead of the students.

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