Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 20 - Page 54

FEATURE: TRAINING ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// have greatly enriched the quality of online training. This option also grants attendees the flexibility of undertaking the training at their own convenience and pace with the on-demand model. Alternatively, they better placed to get students up-to-date on the latest developments taking place in the ‘real world’. They are also capable of answering questions based on experience and not just theory. TRAINING ENABLES ORGANISATIONS TO HIRE ENTRY-LEVEL STAFF AND RAMP UP THEIR SKILL SETS IN NICHE AREAS. Certifications also ensure that fundamental theoretical concepts are well understood. Maintaining a certification requires an ongoing educational commitment which keeps skill sets and knowledge up to date. Furthermore, most organisations which provide industry-standard certifications continue to maintain a relationship with the individual and their employer thereby acting as a source for up-to-date domain specific information. In short, certifications help organisations to realise the full benefit of the training they invest in. A note on the ‘soft’ benefits could enjoy a mix of the benefits of on- demand and classroom style training by opting for live webcasts that enable real- time engagement with instructors while still allowing attendance from the location of choice. Irrespective of the delivery model, it is always best to select courses based on the specific skillsets they help hone. While broader subject lines might serve as a good foundation, the complexity of IT systems today demands specific domain-related knowledge. For example, mobile security alone can require skills in forensics, advanced development, risk management, as well as employee awareness and policy development. A discussion on training would be incomplete without at least brief mention of certification. In the simplest sense, a certification is a strong credential indicating one’s knowledge in a specific technology domain. While certifications can play a key role in the advancement of one’s Beyond the obvious technical benefits, training and certifications can go a long way to boost employee satisfaction, IT efficiency and staff retention. Training enables organisations to hire entry-level staff and ramp up their skill sets in niche areas. This not only helps overcome the regional skills shortage but also encourages company loyalty since employees need to be challenged and convinced of their continued career growth. professional career and prospects, they hold many benefits for employers too and therefore warrant investment. For one, certification preparation often provides the motivation necessary for employees to set aside the time and effort required to become subject matter experts. Very often certification training includes the use of hands-on and/or simulated instruction which expose applicants to a wide range of scenarios that they might not frequently see in their day-to-day job. This prepares them for the one-off issues that often have the greatest negative impact on business. To summarise, IT training is an expense for the business, but it is one which brings substantial short and long-term benefits. By investing in the right training delivered by the right provider, employers get expertly skilled staff who are committed to the organisation. These qualified professionals are equipped with the knowledge and hands-on experience to tackle the challenges that complex IT environments entail. They are more efficient, innovative and ready to give their organisation the edge it needs in today’s digital economy. n A case for certification Key selection criteria Two vital aspects of training that are often overlooked are the instructor and the course’s degree of emphasis on practical learning. This oversight is unfortunate as, in my experience, these are without doubt the factors that most impact the value of the course. As necessary as sound theoretical knowledge is, there is simply no substitute for hands-on advice and practice. And this is best facilitated when the course is led by an instructor who is also a working industry practitioner, particularly critical in a field like cybersecurity where both technology and the cyber criminals’ techniques are changing so rapidly. The rapid advancement of technology has led to shorter times to market, faster refresh cycles and an abundance of new technology trends. An instructor who is also an active IT professional is on the frontline and therefore 54 INTELLIGENTCIO