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My Unexpected Journey Episode 2: A Jedi in Training?

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It’s now 10 weeks since I ‘awoke’ into my new role as Technical Training Officer for TSG, after previously being an Escalations Team Leader. It seems like no time at all, mainly because I’ve had my head buried in books for most of it.

Rising occasionally for the odd Christmas party.

The reason for this mostly erudite existence is that one of my first goals was to become a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). After three Microsoft exams and two CompTIA exams, I’m delighted to say I’ve managed to tick that one off my list.

That means a couple of things:

1. I’ll be able to train our Jedis in waiting on all the latest Microsoft technologies….and there are a lot of those.

To give you an example, if you have a Microsoft Server 2012 certification, you will have a broader, clearer understanding of the new functionalities and how they work together.

So rather than many ‘seasoned’ individuals who have been working with older server versions for a long period of time (and who often don’t have the time to fully understand and implement the new technologies) we’ll be dedicating our teams to get fully trained on all the latest stuff, and, more importantly, how they fit into a modern technology environment

2. It’s a great recognition of our level of knowledge, commitment and competency, and that we have reached a standard of attainment that is globally recognised and valued.

Microsoft certifications are not meant to be easy to attain, quite the opposite. They are designed to be challenging, to test the knowledge of the candidates and make the certification valuable. In short, you’ve got to prove you’re up to it.

As if I needed any excuse for a Star Wars analogy, allow me to try this one out for size: Wikipedia, (always the oracle on these things), say that Jedi trained to successfully use the Force through ‘Deistic Reasoning’ (religious beliefs), ‘Passive Meditation’ (periods of thought and reflection) and ‘Applied Academics’ (putting experience to use in the real world).

There are, believe it or not, a lot of similarities to IT engineers. We all like to think we have a bit of Jedi in us, but part of that is true: we are trained and empowered to successfully use IT Skills through “self-belief” in our own technical ability, we also do a great deal of “dedicated study”, be it formal training or self-study, and funnily enough, our “Applied Academics” is crucial - putting our gained knowledge and experience to use in the real world.

So was it all about using the Force? In a way yes - I believed in myself that I could do it, I studied hard, and applied my knowledge to gain the certifications.

My next goal in my new role is to continue to help my colleagues to train and study for their certifications, I want to help them show how good they are and for them to be proud of what they have achieved.

Our multiple Gold Partner Competencies (of which we are very proud) rely on us giving evidence of our ability and knowledge. Without our engineers achieving their certifications, this would not be possible.

In my previous role I was very pleased by the fact we could recruit into the escalations team from the help desk, rather than recruit externally. All because we trained people and were committed to their development.

So where next ?

Now that my initiation is over, which path will I take? Am I ready to become a true training Master or will I be tempted by the Dark Side (AKA our marketing team….just kidding….).

We’re planning our course calendar for the next financial year and my preparation for my first “official” Microsoft course began this week. Just getting into the nitty gritty, I’m realising how much things have changed since I attended my first Microsoft course back in the late 90’s.

For now, one final thought:

Obi-Wan once said, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for – move along”

To our Jedis in training I would say: “These are the certifications you are looking for – come along.”

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