Partner TechTip: Training Newbies

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How do you transform that newbie into a competent professional?


A common challenge in our industry is putting together a training program that will meet the needs of a newly hired employee. In rare cases, the new person may have absolutely no experience in IT. More often, he or she has plenty of experience, but not with IBM i or Power Systems. IBM i operators and system administrators, for example, are often drawn from the ranks of Windows and Linux professionals. I've encountered many individuals like Pete, who told me this story:


"Last week, I was the Windows network administrator. Somebody retired, so my boss pointed to the black box in the corner and told me that I was now in charge of that, too. I learned it runs something called 'IBM i.' Since it never seems to go down, how hard could it be to learn everything I need to know?"


Pete was in for a big surprise. Yes, IBM i is famous for its reliability and ease of use. And people with limited job responsibilities—like a payroll clerk—can be productive with minimal training. But Pete assumed he could become a competent IBM i system administrator after taking a three-day class. After we discussed the tasks he was expected to perform, Pete realized that the IBM i environment is as rich and complex as any he has encountered in his previous jobs. We laid out a study plan that eventually took him the better part of a year to complete. By taking Manta courses, Pete was able to train for his new job while he performed his day-to-day administration duties.


I later found out that, to keep me honest, Pete also laid out a curriculum built from classroom-based courses offered by IBM and others. Due to scheduling requirements and prerequisite relationships, this plan would have taken him over two years to complete, with over four months away from the office. It would also have cost him 10 times as much, and that is before including travel expenses.


The attractive price and the ability to take courses on your own schedule are just two of the many advantages of Manta training. You can take courses from anywhere—at the office, at home, or on the road. All you need is an Internet connection and a PC that can run Internet Explorer.


Unlike boring "Webinars" and other passive forms of training that you may have seen, every Manta course is an interactive learning experience. A key a part of every course involves our exclusive IBM i simulator, which lets students practice IBM i procedures from their PCs. When they move to a real system, they will have the confidence and skills to perform system tasks correctly the first time.


Manta's student-paced courses are easy to schedule, averaging two hours in length. You can finish a complete course in a morning or an afternoon—or at home in the evening.


Because training is delivered from the Manta Web site, course updates are immediately available. This means that you receive free, immediate maintenance. Moreover, if we add a course to a product you purchased, you have immediate access to the new course at no extra charge.


A Manta Competency Exam is available for every course. Not only do the exams help you determine whether you have mastered the material covered, they are also an excellent way to test whether a new employee has the required skills. Students who pass a Competency Exam can save time by skipping the associated material.


Manta courses make an excellent online reference when students are back on the job. In addition, a printed Student Reference Guide is available for each Manta series or standalone course.


As the leading IBM i trainer, Manta Technologies has designed complete curriculum paths for the common IBM i job functions. We've analyzed each job and put together a sequence of courses that is designed to transform that newbie into a competent professional. In Pete's case, I recommended that he start with the Operations Combination Pack. Once Pete took these courses and became a competent operator, he was able to move into the System Administration Combination Pack.


In 17 years, Manta has trained tens of thousands of IBM i professionals in over 5,000 organizations worldwide. Let us put that expertise to work for you.

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