This won’t be pleasant reading, but as the saying goes, the truth hurts.
I first got involved in IT training in 2002 when I began running Cisco CCNA training courses in the UK. The course was 100% practical and run over a weekend. I asked the students to pre-read the manual I posted for them a few weeks before they attended the course.
Much to my surprise, many of the students turned up having not read the manual. This made it hard for them to understand the hands on labs because they didn’t know what they were configuring.
As part of the course, I gave the students practice exams, study videos, and 60 hours of access to a live rack of Cisco equipment they could connect to over the web. I also gave them an exam cram guide, as well as a study plan to follow, to ensure they were well prepared for the exam.
All of the students who went on to take the exam passed, giving me a 100% success rate, so I knew my method worked really, really well. The only issue was only 6% of the students attempted the exam. I followed up with the rest, but all they gave me were excuses about being busy or it being a bad time, etc. I wondered why they had spent all that money and time on the course if they weren’t going to put the work in to pass the exam.
Skip forward 10 years, and I now run online courses. It's the same story. I see a core of members logging in, studying hard, taking practice exams, using the live Cisco racks, and posting on the forum. Every three months or so, they have passed another exam. These are all the same people getting promotions and phone calls with job offers.
One of my most active students was recently invited by Cisco to be part of the team to create the syllabus for the new CCNA exam coming out. This guy has a long drive to work each day, works long hours, and has a family, but I don’t hear him making excuses or complaining. He just gets on with it, and look at the results.
Another one was doing basic network support and worked like a dog to pass his CCNA, CCNA Security, and then his CCNP. He was snapped up by a major bank and now works on a huge enterprise network and has doubled his salary.
The majority, I’m sad to say, join, log in a couple of times, and then quit. The $20 bucks per month they decided to invest in their future moves from what they see as an investment to a liability. The initial burst of enthusiasm they felt when they decided to take an IT exam fades, and they fall back into inactivity.
A few come back, and it’s always the same story. They were let go in the latest round of redundancies, and they can’t find work since they are not qualified. They can’t even get an interview, so now, they are driving a van to make money.
I wrote in a recent post about ambition. If you want to make a difference in your life, you need to stop making excuses, turn off the TV and study, and most importantly, DO NOT QUIT. Most people find the time to watch TV every night and post on Facebook, but when it comes to putting in the time to study, they flake out.
Getting ahead in IT has nothing to do with intelligence, who you know, your age, or even your ability. All you have to do is open an IT manual, watch some videos, and do practice exams or hands on labs for an hour or two per day for around 60-90 days. Pass an exam, take a short break, and repeat. If you do that, I swear to you that you will see massive improvements in your career in the next 12 months.
So, you need to ask yourself now if you want to be part of the 6% of people who really want it. I’ve spent many years and hundreds of thousands of dollars putting together the resources to help you make it happen. You just need to turn up every day and do the work.