Free Windows 7 Training Raises Cost Issues

Michael Vizard

As part of an effort to help get more IT professionals trained on how to deploy and manage Windows 7, the folks at The Training Camp have partnered with Microsoft to make available one day of free hands-on training.

According to Sharon Lee, director of marketing for The Training Camp, the program is primarily aimed at IT professionals who are out of work or have no other means of upgrading their skills. There are six more sessions that will be held in the next few weeks in Los Angeles, Reston, Va., Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle and Irvine.

The free one-day courses are intended to give attendees a leg up on Windows 7, and the Training Camp hopes that attendees will move on to take either one of the three- or five-day classes that the company offers. The cost to attend those classes, which go for 12 hours a day, starts at $2,195 for the three-day class, which includes accommodations and a certification test, but no travel.

The availability of a free hands-on training class for Windows 7 brings up questions about the best way to train IT professionals on new products such as Windows 7. Obviously, there has been a massive movement to online training because of costs. But Lee argues that onsite training accomplishes a lot more in a much shorter period of time, especially when there is a test involved. The question is, who should pay for it? A lot of companies now think it is incumbent on IT professionals to find ways to pay for their own training in order to keep their skills current. Many IT professionals would argue that in the service of their company, it's incumbent upon the company to pay to train them every time the company adopts a new technology. Companies, however, feel that a lot of that training goes to waste when the IT professional walks out the door to take another higher-paying job.

Others would argue that it is incumbent on the vendors to train the employees of the customer on how to use a product given the fact that they want the customer to buy the product in the first place.

As more companies get ready to make the move to Windows 7, at least one person in the company should be enough of an expert to help everybody else make the migration as efficiently as possible. Otherwise, you're probably going to spend a lot of time on trial and error that will ultimately cost more in lost productivity than it would have to train someone.

Unfortunately, the current economic climate seems to be pushing more of the weight for the cost of IT training back on the IT staff, who risk losing their jobs if they don't stay current on new technologies. The good news is that as the economy begins to improve, that training should put them in a position to benefit from demand for new IT skills.

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