IT trainers design and subsequently deliver courses to individuals. The content of these courses varies, as does the pre-course ability level of the clients.
Technology moves extremely fast in this day and age and the rapid advancements which occur can leave many of us feeling confused and ultimately unable to perform simple IT tasks efficiently. This can be a particular problem for individuals who work for companies which use complicated IT systems or software programmes. It is the job of an IT trainer to educate individual clients to a level which will allow them to use computers proficiently and confidently in their everyday lives.
IT trainers help to develop and then teach different IT courses to clients who may struggle with computers or may be completely computer literate. The content of these courses differs radically. One course may deal with a particular desktop programme, such as a word-processing programme, whilst another may teach individuals how to deal with technical hardware problems which can impact upon the performance of the computer itself.
It is estimated that approximately sixty per cent of IT trainers are women.
The precise salary earned by an IT trainer will differ depending upon the nature and location of the employer. As a rough guide, individuals who are newly qualified can expect to earn in the region of £15,000. However, after several years in the role, this figure should rise to approximately £23,000. With experience, this figure could rise even more and individuals working in London can expect to be earning in excess of £30,000 per year.
For IT trainers who gain promotion to hold managerial positions within the trade, the salaries provided can be very healthy indeed. Figures over £40,000 should come as no surprise to individuals performing managerial tasks on a regular basis.
The typical tasks undertaken by an IT trainer include:
- Assessing the initial ability level of each client
- Assessing the aims and goals of each client
- Designing each course
- Setting exercises to test the clients’ progress
- Deciding which kind of document to create to suit each course
- Physically preparing the training room before each session
- Making sure that all the materials are ready for use
- Teaching the course to the clients in a clear and simple manner
- Making sure each client fully understands the material
- Evaluating the outcome of each course
- Providing in-depth feedback to managers and employers
- Keeping accurate records
- Performing basic administrative tasks on a regular basis
- Remaining educated and up-to-date with technological advances
- Performing basic repairs and maintenance checks on hardware and software programmes used during courses
Individuals holding degrees in any subject can become IT trainers but obviously having previously gained a relevant degree will be beneficial. These subjects include computing and business. There are several other qualifications which can be worked towards over various periods of time. The best choices include:
- OCR Certificate/ Diploma for IT Users – this is a qualification available at three ability levels. You should bear in mind that individuals hoping to become IT trainers should hold at least a level 3 qualification to show that they have progressed through the stages and now have a wide range of skills.
- Edexcel (BTEC) National Certificate and Diploma for IT Practitioners
- European Computer Driving Licence Qualification
The Institute of IT Training provides numerous courses for IT trainers who are keen to improve their skills or learn new things.
IT trainers will need to possess the following skills:
- Good communication and interpersonal skills
- Good public speaking skills
- In-depth knowledge of computers and IT programmes
- The ability to explain complex issues in simple terms
- The ability to motivate others
- Good literacy skills
- Excellent organisational skills
- The ability to work to tight deadlines
- The ability to work well with both individuals and groups of people
- The ability to use own initiative
- Good problem-solving skills
- The motivation to remain up-to-date with technological advances
Most IT trainers work a maximum of forty hours per week and usually have weekends and public holidays free. However, individuals should be aware that evening work is a possibility and they will need to remain flexible in order to suit the particular needs of each client. Part-time work is usually available for those who desire such an arrangement.
The nature of the working environment differs depending upon the employer. IT trainers may be self-employed, or they may work for particular training companies, or for smaller training departments belonging to large companies or organisations. Individuals working for training companies or those who are self-employed may spend a large part of the working day travelling between locations, whilst those who work in specific training departments will probably spend most of their time in one site. IT trainers spend a lot of time on their feet, so good physical fitness is necessary in this role. The job can be stressful, particularly when tight deadlines are involved.
Gaining previous experience is essential for individuals hoping to become IT trainers. You will need to show competence with computers and computer software programmes. It may be worth trying to undertake some work experience in an IT training centre. Alternatively, you could try asking an employee for the chance to shadow them for a week or two. This may be particularly useful if the individual is self-employed.
Major employers include:
- Software Houses
- Large companies
- Large organisations, for example the NHS or a major British charity
- Specialist IT training providers
Many IT trainers choose to stay in the IT industry until they retire. Some progress to hold roles as departmental managers, general managers, or training coordinators. Other popular careers with IT trainers who fancy a change include software programming. Working as an IT trainer provides individuals with good teaching and communication skills. Providing education in other areas unrelated to IT is therefore also a possibility for IT trainers.
Also known as…
- IT Teacher
What’s it really like?
Karen has been an IT trainer employed by the NHS for just over eight years.
She is currently working as a contractor for a local Primary Care Trust and is responsible for delivering clinical software training. She also teaches courses on particular Microsoft Office products. Prior to starting a career as an IT trainer, Karen lived in America, selling and setting advertising copy for The Washington Post.
During a typical day at work, Karen arrives in the office approximately one hour before the start of the respective course. She meets up with the Training Manager and discusses any changes which may have occurred to the course material. This meeting is useful for Karen, since she is not involved with the day to day administrative tasks of each project.
After this meeting, Karen sets up the training room and ensures that it is ready to receive the clients. Each course that she is involved in adheres to the Institute of IT Training (IITT) training methodology. This means that the candidates are fully and actively involved with the learning process. They do not simply sit there passively listening to the trainer. Once the course has finished, Karen carries out basic administrative tasks such as recording accurate attendance numbers.
Karen enjoys the fact that she is able to meet and work with numerous people who are currently employed by the NHS. However, she is not too keen on the deadlines which need to be met on a regular basis in this career. According to Karen, anyone who wishes to become an IT trainer should try to attend the IITT TAP course. Although this is expensive, it will provide you with the appropriate skills to allow you to create and subsequently deliver training courses. It will also build your confidence, which is vital to the job.
Exciting opportunities for career progression are common in this role. Karen is semi-retired at the moment but she is still keen to take on new opportunities if they seem rewarding. With regards to advice for potential IT trainers, Karen believes that anyone interested in the position should make sure that they enjoy meeting new people on a regular basis. Individuals also need to be able to take control of a group of people and should also be able to remain organised even when under pressure.