An information technology (IT) trainer teaches both non-technical computer users as well as IT professionals to use technology in the workplace. Topics taught range from simple word processing applications and spreadsheets to database systems to complex disciplines, such as programming, project management, and cybersecurity.
IT Training involves planning, designing, and developing courses, creating learning materials, course delivery, assessing outcomes, providing feedback, and upgrading programs. If you are deeply interested in technology and enjoy connecting with and teaching others, then this might prove to be a fulfilling role for you.
There are a range of job openings for IT trainers. They can work at large organizations, technology companies, IT training providers, certification associations, higher educational institutes, and as freelance consultants. Enterprises employ trainers to instruct non-technical users on how to operate desktop applications and database systems, as well as impart advanced technical knowledge and skills to their IT personnel.
Trainers are employed by technology vendors to train their sales personnel as well as provide training to customers. IT training companies hire trainers to teach staff and certification candidates. Freelance trainers and consultants provide contractual services to different organizations, including training institutes.
Normally, trainers specialize in user or technical training. Some freelance trainers, however, handle both non-technical and technical training. Trainers use a variety of physical and virtual learning formats, such as lectures, hands-on sessions, presentations, and conferences.
A trainer's goal is to enable both technical and non-technical users to make the most effective use of technology in different work environments.
IT training jobs fall under two categories — user training for common software applications and database systems, and technical training on coding, information security, and other complex fields.
An IT trainer's role can entail some or all of the following responsibilities:
- Assessing the learning group's needs and objectives
- Upgrading existing training modules or designing and creating suitable new ones
- Developing e-learning programs
- Conceptualizing and producing learning resources
- Scheduling and coordinating courses
- Setting up the learning environment
- Delivering training
- Assessing course effectiveness and outcomes
- Providing feedback to participants and company management
- Keeping track of developments in technology
- Upgrading courses in line with technological changes as well as learners' and company's business needs
- Ensuring course records are up-to-date
IT trainers need both technical expertise and soft skills. To teach others, you need to first attain a high level of technical competence in your area of specialization. Additionally, you need very good communication skills, the capacity to listen carefully, a sharp eye for detail, the ability to connect with learners, patience, confidence, and presentation skills. Organization skills are also important because trainers are responsible for managing course delivery.
Apart from planning and preparing training courses and teaching learners, it's also necessary to devote some time to reading up on the latest developments relating to the certifications and areas that you cover. Trainers are responsible for ensuring that training programs are up-to-date and equipping participants with current knowledge and skills.
You need the capacity to put in long hours in order to deliver and manage courses as well as stay in touch with frequent changes. Certification providers frequently update certification content and exams to reflect technological changes and operational and business requirements.
Training and Employment Background
Normally, a bachelor's or master's degree, preferably in information technology or computer science, is one of the primary qualifications requested by recruiters. Some professionals without a degree do become trainers, however, after having worked in the IT industry for years and developed in-depth technical knowledge and skills.
Organizations that hire trainers also look for relevant experience because an IT trainer is expected to know his or her subject inside out in order to be able to teach others. A good way to gain experience is to work for an IT company, or perhaps join an IT training provider or certification association as a trainee.
IT trainers are usually required to hold current certifications for the certification programs they cover. Additionally, certification councils and associations, training institutes, and vendors that have their own certification programs may also require trainer certifications.
These certifications are designed to teach aspiring trainers to optimize course delivery in a physical or virtual classroom setting. They demonstrate the holder's ability to effectively impart the entire course content to all learners in the classroom within the stipulated timeframe, ensuring that students get all the knowledge and skills required to pass the exam as well as perform in the workplace. Vendors such as Cisco, Microsoft, and Apple, as well as vendor-neutral organizations such as CompTIA, offer trainer credentials.
Software vendors require their trainers to certify for courses that they intend teaching. Depending on the vendor and the type and level of certification, aspiring trainers may be required to earn a higher passing score than what is stipulated for other certification candidates.
In-demand trainer certifications include:
Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT)
You need to qualify for the MCT if you aspire to become an official Microsoft trainer. Microsoft requires aspiring MCT candidates to hold a current Microsoft qualifying credential and provide proof, such as a trainer certification recognized by Microsoft or a year of relevant professional experience, of their teaching skills.
Candidates also must complete the application, pay the fees, agree to the MCT Program Agreement and Guide, and submit the required form. You need to recertify every year.
An MCT qualifies for a host of benefits, including access to a wealth of Microsoft learning resources, including Microsoft Labs online, invitations to events, discounts on Microsoft products and MCP exams, and various other benefits.
Certified Cisco Systems Instructor (CCSI)
The CCSI program is open to employees of Cisco Learning Partners (CLP) or those who are sponsored by a CLP. To earn the CCSI, you must decide on a baseline technology, take the prescribed course, pass 2 or 3 exams with instructor-level scores, pass the Instructor Certification Program (ICP) assessment, accept the CCSI Agreement, and pay CCSI membership fees.
Recertification is stipulated for those who have not been active for a year or more. Recertification is also required if Cisco courses have undergone significant updates.
CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+)
The CTT+ is a vendor-neutral, multi-purpose credential. Originally managed by the Chauncey Group, the CTT program was bought by CompTIA in July 2001. CompTIA has a solid reputation among corporates the world over. Leading companies, such as Cisco, Microsoft, IBM, and Dell recognize the CTT+ as a trainer certification for some of their certification courses.
This credential indicates that the holder has achieved a high standard of training ability, thereby being able to teach successfully in different learning environments. To earn the CTT+, you must pass two exams: TK0-201, and TK0-202 or TK0-203.
Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)
The CST credential is managed by the Scrum Alliance, an organization that furthers the use of Scrum methodology and provides training and community support to Scrum and Agile specialists. The CST is a demanding certification, with aspiring candidates required to fulfil several criteria and surpass the minimum application guidelines to be accepted as a CST.
- A valid Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster™ (CSP-SM™) or Certified Scrum Professional Product Owner™ (CSP-PO™) certification
- A valid Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) credential if you wish to teach CSPO courses
- In-depth understanding of Scrum concepts, methods, and principles
- Solid practical experience applying Scrum in work environments in the capacity of a SrumMaster, Product Owner, or team member
- Experience providing Scrum training to at least 100 students during 10 or more multi-day ScrumMaster training courses
Certified Scrum Trainers need to recertify every year.
Other trainer credentials include Apple Certified Trainer (ACT) and trainer certifications from IBM, Network Instruments, the Certified Wireless Networking Professional group, and other organizations.
There's no dearth of employment opportunities for certified trainers with a proven track record. Jobs are available at large enterprises, training centers, software companies, and organizations that administer certifications.