Skill development, the need for the practical
Skill development is a key outcome of any training exercise. However quality of skill development does not come solely from the course content, course fee or duration. A critical question is whether skill development is practical.
“Spending time from morning to night on a farm does not make you a farmer”.
It is what you do that matters.
What you is important. But can you really upgrade your IT knowledge and skills with theories alone? Give me a break! The day that happens you will see pigs flying.
It is essential that your training is interactive and participative. It is not enough to see it done by the instructor; can you do it yourself? Practical skill development meaningfully combines theory, practice, feedback and motivation. Continuous practical testing enables you to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Concentrate on developing your ability to carry out practical tasks. You might make mistakes at first, but you can only learn by doing. Deliberate practice in areas of interest is required. And understanding feedback from practice can be applied to help you improve.
Practical means you can Deliver
Before you practice, or apply what you have learnt you should know and understand what has to be done. However, IT skills only make sense when you deliver practically. Don’t waste time with theories or storytelling. Is training relevant in enabling the computer user to demonstrate competence in commonly used applications such as word processing, spreadsheet, Internet and e-mail software? Can she produce results with PCs and interact with other ICT users? You either know how to work with spreadsheets or you don’t. Relying only on your theoretical understanding of Microsoft Excel won’t be of much help in the work place.
Practical skills are critical for inclusion and employability. For example, you need to be Internet savvy to receive the latest online job updates.
The IT professional too needs practical skills – technical expertise for computer assembly and repairs, software programming, web development, IT security, etc. The requirements are clear. As a network specialist can you troubleshoot Bank A’s network connectivity problem? Real, practical skills are the solution. Never be satisfied with just certificates or certifications. Certifications cannot give you what you don’t have. They can only validate your skills and knowledge. I can understand the certificate craze as it can be useful in opening doors. We can’t ignore them as important training outcomes. However it is your ability to contribute that will keep those doors open not the certificate. The value you add comes first.
Your practical skills and knowledge are more important.
Certificates will always be secondary. Okay, let me ask a crazy question: what if I physically tear up your certificate into pieces? Will that take away the knowledge and skills you have developed? You have passed the Microsoft Server and several networking exams, yet you can’t network yourself out of a nylon bag. Does that sound reasonable? You can either install the server or you can’t. Almost does not count. Do you think industry or society is looking for people who can pass exams? Or people who can contribute?
Unfortunately many spend so much cramming to pass exams – paper certification, and not enough on developing their practical skills. Identify your training gap. Training is supposed to enable you to do technical things that matter that you couldn’t do before. What is the essence of having a certificate that is not worth the paper on which it is written? Paper certified network specialist, it’s time to get real and get practical. Aren’t you tired of the self deceit that is creating your career traffic jam? No employer, no business will pay for a piece of paper.
Society wants contributors. Practical training not only enables you to compete better, it’s about using the practical to fulfill promise. GET PRACTICAL!!