CompTIA Certifications for IT Professionals. Part 7 of 7. CompTIA CTT + (Certified Technical Trainer)

    Part 1 of 7: CompTIA A + and the webinar entry on preparing for IS certification
    Part 4 of 7: CompTIA Security +. CompTIA Certifications for IT Professionals



    Pashkov Kuzma - Lead InfoSec, EMC trainer @ training.muk.ua/courses/security

    Introduction to Technical Training


    The first time I got into technical training in 2001, it was a series of Microsoft authorized courses from the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer 2000 Certification Engineers training program. Two young talented teachers Sergey Polekhin and Victor Ashik alternately taught .

    A dynamic presentation, a regular change in the form of teaching material and numerous discussions under the supervision of a teacher aroused and retained keen interest of an adult engineering audience throughout the entire training period, and this, by the way, was 8 hours every working day for a month. The learning process, focused on students, was fundamentally different from the already tired of the traditional approach used by most teachers of higher education - I was surprised and intrigued.

    Undoubtedly, Sergey and Victor possessed expert qualifications in the subject field and an innate talent to teach people, but these are, although necessary qualities of an effective teacher, not enough. Successful training of a large amount of knowledge and skills within a short period of time requires an approved methodology, synthesized from the experience of successful teachers and based on the results of many years of scientific research - much later I learned its official name - student-centered learning.
    A year later, working as a commissioning engineer, I regularly conducted training for the Customer’s personnel in the operation and maintenance of the delivered systems, trying to recreate the atmosphere of that memorable training from 2001.

    The first step in mastering an effective teaching methodology was the course-The-Train Trainer , is obligatory for candidates for the title of Microsoft Certified Trainer (Microsoft Certified Trainer - MCT). A four-day immersion in the particularities of conducting authorized courses ended with a control speech , which, according to the results of the inspection by the vendor, was considered successful and gave me permission to conduct authorized courses in technologies for which I already had engineering certifications.

    The second stage was held as a teacher at the Faculty of Retraining Specialists of the St. Petersburg Polytechnic University- Under the guidance of an expert Yegor Orlov, leading the “Information Protection” direction, I intensively mastered the features of teaching in higher education. It was he who introduced me to the internationally recognized certification for technical trainers CompTIA CTT + (Certified Technical Trainer) and the underlying methodology for effective adult student-centered learning.

    1. Acquaintance with certification


    The CTT certification was developed in the mid-90s by the largest US vocational education associations - the Information Technology Training Association (ITTA) and the Computer Education Management Association (CedMA), and for the second decade has been an internationally recognized standard of excellence for teachers in continuing education programs in technical field.

    Passing to the control of the vendor-independent certification company CompTIA in 2001, the certification received not only the new name CTT + , but also recognition in the training certifications of leading manufacturers of IT technologies such as IBM, Microsoft, Ricoh, Novell, etc.

    CTT + Applicant Qualification Evaluated According torequirements of the International Committee for Teaching Standards (International Board for Training, Performance and Instruction - IBSTPI) and takes place in two stages: a computer test, then the judges evaluate the video recording of the applicant’s speech.

    The computer test TK0-201 is conducted in English at VUE testing centers and checks the knowledge of teaching methods, namely:

    - course planning
    - teaching methods and means
    - teacher's reputation and communication
    - group management
    - assessment of learning outcomes

    If the test is successful, you can go to to the second stage, after choosing one of the two specializations as the goal: exam TK0-202for real or TK0-203 for virtual (online) class. The chosen option involves video recording of a fragment (about 20 minutes), in which a non-obvious technical topic for a group of several trainees will be revealed. During this time, the teacher must qualitatively demonstrate the practical skills of using the previously described methodology, for example:

    - by provoking a dialogue with the students on the topic being studied
    - by holding the attention of the students
    - by conducting a real course

    2. Methodology of preparation


    Passing Train-the-Trainer courses helps to recreate the student-centered learning methodology, but their authoring format (not developed by Microsoft in the CIS, but industry-recognized expert teachers) does not imply a standardized comprehensive and regularly updated content. The authors develop the programs of such courses at their discretion - without strict adherence to open standards, update them from time to time, as these courses are fashion-oriented, are rarely held, and training centers are in no hurry to invest in their development and updating.
    As a result, even with 2 years of experience in regularly conducting technical trainings, I could not immediately get even 50% of the correct answers in the self-preparation tests found in search engines using the TK0-201 exam code.

    Studying professional literature recommended by CompTIA for self-study has opened for me a whole world of profitable educational business, where the continuous improvement of the quality and effectiveness of educational services is an objective reality. Among the books that finally clarified the methodology of student-centered learning, I especially highlight “ How to be a successful technical trainer ” by Keys and Zeff and “ Training for results ” by Bob Mosher - it was after them that I began to consistently gain more than 90% of the correct answers and literally a week later passed a computer test worth $ 280 on the first try.

    In 2004, there was not yet an option for an examination to conduct a virtual (online) class, so I began to prepare for a video recording of a real speech. I will say right away that this was one of the most difficult professional tests in my life, and there are several reasons for this:

    The first is the need for training in English: all participants in the video must communicate in the language of Shakespeare and do this clearly for future judges who are native speakers of this language. Gathering 4-5 people in one audience who are ready in English to discuss a complex technical topic and keep them there for several hours is an organizationally difficult task.

    The second is video shooting. It definitely requires a qualified operator with professional equipment, and here's why. Closely and without distortion, it is most likely possible to record the voices of a group of people leading a discussion in a classroom by equipping each with a personal microphone. To capture a panorama with the teacher and students in the frame, clearly display the projector screen and drawings on the board, again, most likely, you can only directly direct the lens and change the focus of the video camera. Moreover, editing video is explicitly prohibited - shooting should be continuous, as in live broadcasting.

    The third reason is the need to reveal a complex technical topic for the audience within 20 minutes, simultaneously demonstrating all the skills stated in the methodology. It is extremely difficult to do without actually writing a prototype of the script with dialogs on 2-3 topics at once in case a lively discussion fails with some topic.

    Analyzing these reasons, you can use 2 strategies: either shoot the same 20-minute excerpt in several takes, or shoot several training topics at once during the day. In both cases, it is proposed to assemble your own committee of 3-4 judges (preferably professional teachers) and evaluate the video according to published criteria , the goal is to score a passing score. So I did.

    It is also very important to note that you can only learn to teach people directly by doing this on a regular basis. And it’s better to do it in a mature team of a training center with an impeccable reputation. These include the almost ideal “training machines” of Boris Fridman and Dmitry Gudzenko . These forges of personnel regularly supply such gurus as Mikhail Mikheev , Fedor Samorodov , Sergey Klevogin and many others to the CIS IT market .

    As a result, a fee ($ 280) was paid for the work of the appraisers, and the video chosen by my colleagues was sent to CompTIA in the form of a video cassette - a tedious wait began.

    3. Result


    A few weeks later, confirmation of the success of the test performance and assignment of CTT + status came. Unlike other CompTIA certifications, the status of a technical trainer can be considered lifelong. All the leading national (www.specialist.ru and www.microinform.ru ) and international (www.netcomlearning.com and www.globalknowledge.com ) training corporations that I met on my way recognized this certification and, all other things being equal, preferred having her job seekers. At the moment (2015), in addition to the classical Classroom Trainer, the Virtual Classroom trainer specialization is available , relevant for those who work with distance education systems (hereinafter referred to as LMS), which are widely spread both in universities and in training centers.

    4. Additions to the preparation methodology


    The training technique I used these days can be supplemented by passing computer-based training (CBT) courses, which can be found in search engines by the names of their leading world, for example, Pluralsight (formerly CBT Nuggets), developers, as well as by the names of certification status CompTIA CTT + and exam codes TK0-201, TK0-202, TK0-203.
    Also, in the case of choosing a new specialization of Virtual Classroom trainer, passing the TK0-203 exam is greatly simplified, since it is much easier to assemble a group of specialists to participate in an online class and record a screen in the LMS.

    5. Continuation of the story


    I have already adapted and successfully applied the described methodology for preparing for CompTIA CTT + status several times to obtain admission to conducting authorized courses of leading world IT corporations. On the example of the EMC corporation, the adaptation was as follows. To be allowed to conduct one course on one product, it was required:

    - to pass all certification exams associated with the product for administrators / engineers / architects,
    - then undergo official authorized training,
    - then conduct the same 50/50 course with a mentor teacher,
    - Well, in the end, independently conduct the course under the tacit control of the mentor sitting in the back rows and wait for the report completed by him to pass through the EMC bureaucratic apparatus.

    I am waiting for questions on CompTIA training and certification at PashkovK@muk.com.ua
    Pashkov Kuzma , Lead InfoSec, EMC trainer @ training.muk.ua/courses/security/


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