After we explored the basic first steps of your journey to becoming a freelance IT trainer, now it’s time for part two.
All of this may seem a bit overwhelming at first. In order to help you out, Coursedot is starting a new series of articles which will explore how to become a freelance IT trainer and make the most of it. The series will include the following:
- Basics – experience, interests, niche
- Training and certifications (you are reading this step now)
- Setting things up
- First training tips
- Building partnerships
So, now we continue with Part 2 – Training and Certifications
Now it’s time to tackle the first actual challenge in becoming a freelance IT trainer. In Part 1 we explored the basics and how to pick the right area to specialize in. And now it’s time to do the work.
In order to be an IT trainer you have to complete the entire certification ladder of the topic you want to specialize in. This is where things become time consuming and require funds.
And it’s also a good reason why you should have plenty of previous experience in the area you’ve chosen. This will make learning and getting certified a lot easier for you.
Plus, it will probably lower the costs quite a bit, since you more than likely will already have at least some of the needed certificates in place. The amount of trainings and certificates you need will vary greatly from niche to niche.
Completing all of the certifications won’t be enough, though. Then you will have to become a “certified trainer” or a “certified partner” (exact wording depends on the vendors). This often means you will have to pass a final certification process. This often is carried by the technology vendor itself.
This process also varies from vendor to vendor. For some it will also include a face-to-face chat with one or more representatives of the company. Usually that’s done online via video chats, but sometimes it can also be done in person.
The certification process also includes an exam and in some cases additional mini-tasks you will be asked to complete during the face-to-face meeting. During these evaluations, the vendor representatives will look at a lot more than your knowledge.
They will also make note of your appearance, attitude, even the level and speed of your speech. Your communication and other soft skill will also be very important. As a trainer it’s not only about having the knowledge, but also the ability to teach it and do it in a way where there’s maximum retention and the students are pleased with the overall process. Those are skills and qualities the evaluators will look for and will expect to see them in you.
So, you have to have a special approach to your steps to becoming a freelance IT instructor. It’s also why you will either need to do this on the side at first or make sure you have enough funds to support yourself during the training and certification process.
Certifications usually have a time-based validation. This is normal, as technology constantly evolves, things change and the trainings and certifications reflect this. As a result, you will have to keep track of the validity of your trainings and stay on top of them. If you lose a certification, it may wreak havoc on your overall ability to train people.
Often you will get a notification email or even a call when a certification is about to expire and it’s time to renew it. But you shouldn’t rely on that. Instead, have an Excel file or something else which is suitable for you, where you keep track of all of your certificates, stages, dates and so on.
The good news – you will have a time frame during which you can renew your certification, usually just by taking the updated exam. If you’re staying on top of the latest developments in the given platform, this can be a breeze for you. Renewing a certification is often easier and cheaper than letting it fully expire. If it expires, then you will have to start from scratch with it. And it won’t look good on your portfolio to have a time gap for a certain certification.
So, make sure your certifications are always current. This information will be vital to clients who choose the instructors for the trainings they are organizing.
Also, hone your soft skills as you prepare your IT certifications, as well. Even if you think you’re already quite well spoken, patient and communicative, it won’t hurt to learn a thing or two more. It will certainly make a great impression during the evaluations.
In Part 3 we will explore setting things up before work begins.