When researching training companies, stay away from any that compromise their offerings by not upgrading their courses to the latest level of Microsoft development. Overall, this will frustrate and cost the student a great deal more due to the fact that they've been taught from an out-of-date syllabus which will have to be revised pretty much straight away. Don't rush into buying a course before having all your questions answered. Take time to discover a training provider that will ensure you are on an appropriate training track for your needs.
Many people question why traditional degrees are being replaced by more commercially accredited qualifications? Industry now recognises that for mastery of skill sets for commercial use, certified accreditation from the likes of CISCO, Adobe, Microsoft and CompTIA most often has much more specialised relevance - for much less time and money. Academic courses, for instance, can often get caught up in a lot of background study - with much too broad a syllabus. Students are then held back from understanding the specific essentials in enough depth.
The bottom line is: Accredited IT qualifications give employers exactly what they're looking for - the title says it all: for example, I am a 'Microsoft Certified Professional' in 'Windows XP Administration and Configuration'. Consequently companies can look at their needs and what certifications are required to perform the job.
Every program under consideration has to build towards a properly recognised certification as an end-goal - and not some unimportant 'in-house' plaque for your wall. All the major IT organisations such as Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA or Adobe have globally recognised skills programs. These big-hitters can make sure you stand out at interview.
Including exam fees with the course fee and presenting it as a guarantee for your exams is common for many companies. However, let's consider what's really going on:
It's very clear we're still being charged for it - it's obviously been added into the gross price invoiced by the college. It's certainly not free - don't think these companies are so generous with their money! It's everybody's ambition to qualify on the first attempt. Progressively working through your exams one by one and funding them one at a time puts you in a much stronger position to qualify at the first attempt - you revise thoroughly and are aware of the costs involved.
Do the examinations as locally as possible and find the best deal for you at the time. Buying a course that includes payments for exams (and if you're financing your study there'll be interest on that) is madness. Resist being talked into filling the training company's account with your money only to please their Bank Manager! Some will be pinning their hopes on the fact that you don't even take them all - so they don't need to pay for them. Don't forget, with most 'Exam Guarantees' - you are not in control of when you can do your re-takes. You will have to demonstrate an excellent pass-rate before they'll approve a re-take.
With the average price of Pro-metric and VUE exams coming in at approximately 112 pounds in Great Britain, it makes sense to pay as you go. There's no sense in throwing away maybe a thousand pounds extra at the start of your studies. A commitment to studying and the use of authorised exam preparation tools are actually the key to your success.
So many training providers only concern themselves with gaining a certificate, and completely avoid what it's all actually about - which is of course employment. Your focus should start with where you want to get to - too many people focus on the journey. It's unfortunate, but the majority of trainees commence training that sounds magnificent from the sales literature, but which provides the end-result of a job that doesn't satisfy. Just ask several university students to see what we mean.
Make sure you investigate how you feel about career development, earning potential, plus your level of ambition. You need to know what (if any) sacrifices you'll need to make for a particular role, what particular exams are required and how you'll gain real-world experience. Seek out help from an industry professional who understands the sector you wish to join, and is able to give you 'A typical day in the life of' synopsis of what duties you'll be performing with each working day. It's sensible to know if this change is right for you long before you commence your studies. There's really no point in beginning your training only to realise you've made a huge mistake.