Five Questions To Ask Before Attending A Computer Tech School

Five Questions To Ask Before Attending A Computer Tech School



FIve Questions To Ask Before Attending a​ Computer Tech School
As with any field,​ there are good technical training schools,​ and bad ones .​
When you sign up with one of​ these schools,​ you’ve made a​ significant investment in​ time and money .​
You deserve to​ know everything about the​ school and your job prospects after leaving that school before you put down your hard-earned money .​
the​ problem is,​ sometimes it’s hard to​ know the​ right questions to​ ask.

The point of​ this article is​ not to​ bash technical training schools .​
That’s how I​ got my start in​ IT eight years ago,​ and today I’m a​ CCIE™ and own my own Cisco training company and my own consulting firm .​


Before I​ ever put down the​ first dime,​ though,​ I​ asked some tough questions .​
So should you.

What are my true job prospects and legitimate salary levels after I​ graduate from your school?

We’ve all heard the​ ads on​ the​ radio… Did you know the​ average salary of​ an​ MCSE is​ $80,​000? Are you worth $65,​000 a​ year? If not,​ call us!

I’m an​ optimist,​ and I​ often tell people that no field rewards individual achievement and drive like IT does .​
Having said that,​ none of​ us start at​ the​ top,​ and darn few of​ us start at​ that kind of​ salary.

I’m sure that there are some people who broke in​ at​ $80,​000,​ but I​ haven’t met very many of​ them .​
Be very wary of​ technical schools that use the​ famous/infamous MCSE Salary Survey as​ a​ marketing tool .​
They tend to​ represent those salaries as​ starting salaries.

Ask your technical school what the​ average starting salary of​ their graduates is​ .​
And keep in​ mind that salary is​ not the​ most important factor to​ consider when looking for your first job in​ IT it’s the​ experience you’ll be able to​ put on​ your resume later on​ that you should weigh heavily at​ this point.

In short,​ be very careful about schools that brag about starting salaries .​
It’s not where you start,​ it’s where you end up.

How up-to-date are the​ courses you’re offering?

Make sure the​ school you’re going to​ attend has made efforts to​ keep their courses relevant .​
Ask what changes have been made to​ their curriculum in​ the​ last three years .​
No field changes faster than IT .​
If the​ answer to​ that question is​ none,​ look somewhere else.

I want to​ work in​ IT security .​
Have you placed anyone in​ this field lately? If so,​ can I​ talk to​ them?

Technical schools are jumping on​ the​ security bandwagon,​ with a​ couple of​ schools running ads about training you to​ work in​ Homeland Security .​
If that’s your goal,​ that’s great,​ but keep in​ mind that you have to​ get a​ security clearance for any job like that .​


And how do you get a​ security clearance? You have to​ be sponsored .​


And who will sponsor you? Your employer .​


Can you get employed in​ a​ Homeland Security job without having the​ clearance in​ the​ first place?

Hmmm .​
Probably not.

Hello,​ Catch-22.

Again,​ I’m certainly not saying you can’t eventually get an​ IT security job if​ that’s where you want to​ go,​ you can eventually get there .​
the​ key word there is​ eventually .​
Ask the​ school you’re thinking of​ attending whether they’ve actually been able to​ place graduates in​ such jobs .​
Ask to​ talk to​ them .​
If the​ school’s managed to​ do so,​ they’ll be glad to​ put you in​ touch with such graduates.

What textbooks does your school use?

Some technical school chains use only books that someone in​ their organization wrote .​
I’ve heard some of​ their own teachers complain about the​ quality of​ these books .​
the​ technical school I​ attended used off-the-shelf books,​ and the​ quality was very good.

If you’re looking into entering the​ IT field,​ you probably know someone who’s already in​ it .​
Use that resource for everything it’s worth .​
Ask that person what they think about the​ books,​ or​ for that matter,​ what the​ local reputation of​ the​ school is​ .​
IT is​ a​ small world,​ if​ the​ school has a​ good or​ bad reputation,​ most of​ the​ IT personnel in​ your city or​ town probably know about it.

The fifth question is​ a​ question to​ ask of​ HR representatives .​
Every technical school lists companies where they’ve placed their graduates on​ their promotional material .​
Pick up the​ phone,​ call these companies,​ and ask to​ speak to​ someone in​ HR .​
Ask that person about the​ reputation of​ the​ school .​
Five to​ eight phone calls will give you a​ good picture of​ where the​ school stands with local employers.

Making the​ decision to​ attend a​ technical school can be the​ best decision you’ve ever made it​ certainly was for me .​
Make sure to​ ask the​ right questions before writing a​ check or​ taking a​ loan to​ attend the​ answers to​ those questions will indicate to​ you whether this school is​ truly the​ school that can help you achieve your dreams.




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