Have you ever shown your technologically-inept parents how to send an email, or how to write a capital letter on Microsoft Word without using Caps Lock? Well, imagine that scenario on a much bigger, more professional scale. Welcome to the world of I.T. trainers!
Essentially, I.T. trainers are responsible for training people how to use their computers for different purposes. However, it’s usually a bit more technical than pointing out the ‘Shift’ key on the keyboard and demonstrating how to hold it down whilst typing.
I.T. trainers are technical experts with fantastic communication skills. Some I.T. trainers are employed internally by large organisations to train employees on how to use certain computer systems and applications, while others go from organisation to organisation on a contract basis, providing people with the computer skills that they need to be effective in the workplace.
The majority of I.T. trainers tend to specialise in a certain technical area. However, if you’re a freelance trainer, it’s a good idea to have many strings to your bow. After all, the more versatile you are, the more work you will get.
I.T. training usually focuses on one of two main areas: user skills and I.T. professional skills.
Training for I.T. professionals tends to be a lot more technical and involves teaching technical experts about new skills, such as new programming languages, information security measures and technical project management.
User skills-focused training, on the other hand, involves teaching non-technical professionals more basic computer skills, such as how to use new database systems and desktop applications.
I.T. training can be delivered in a variety of ways, including virtual seminars, presentations, lectures and hands-on tutorials. A large part of an I.T. trainer’s time will actually be spent behind the scenes, devising and developing training programmes, and producing hand-outs and other learning resources.
Salary & benefits
Annual salaries for entry-level I.T. trainers range from around £20,000 to £24,000, while senior trainers with managerial responsibilities can earn up to £50,000 per annum. Freelance I.T. trainers can earn significantly more.
I.T. trainers who are employed in-house on a permanent basis tend to work nine-to-five. However, freelance I.T. trainers are often required to work irregular hours in order to meet customer demand.
I.T. trainers are also required to travel around on a frequent basis. You might even be required to go abroad from time to time.
Effectively, this line of work is open to graduates from any discipline. However, a background in I.T. is definitely a great place to start. Consequently, an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in computer science, software engineering or information technology is a good idea.
If you intend to focus on I.T. project management training, however, a degree in business studies, management studies or human resources would be just fine.
Generally, all aspiring I.T. trainers will need a good mix of communication skills and technical ability.
You can enter this line of work without a degree. However, you will need to gain a wealth of experience and expertise in the I.T. sector first.
I.T. trainers need to keep their finger on the pulse and must, therefore, constantly refresh their own skills and knowledge in their specialist area of I.T.
Training & progression
Understandably, I.T. trainers must be technically competent before they can teach others. Consequently, it’s a good idea for I.T. trainers to obtain relevant technical credentials which will verify their expertise, such as the Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) qualification.
It’s also advisable to become a member of a professional body, such as the Chartered Institute for I.T.
Many I.T. trainers eventually opt to become freelance consultants. However, you could also climb the ladder and become a senior trainer within an established I.T. training company.
Alternative options for career progression involve becoming an I.T. consultant or teaching I.T. full-time at a further education college.