Empowering the Freelance Economy

Contractor to captivator: how to shift to IT training

All industries from retail to construction require IT trainers.
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There may come a time when some IT professionals may yearn for a different kind of challenge and fulfilment. For these individuals, the path of a freelance IT trainer can offer a rewarding and impactful career shift. But it’s not as easy as one may think. Here’s what to consider before taking the leap.

Why become an IT Trainer?

Transitioning from IT contractor to trainer involves more than just a title change. It’s a shift in focus, from solving individual technical problems to empowering others to do the same. For some, it could be a change in earning potential. The median trainer daily rate in the UK is £406 according to job vacancies posted during the 6 months to 18 December 2023.

Here are some of the key motivators for making this move:

  • Sharing knowledge and making a difference: Trainers have the privilege of guiding others on their IT journeys, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the field. It could mean keeping individuals with disabilities or seen as at a disadvantage thrive in a working environment thanks to a trainer’s approachable teaching methods. Witnessing the “aha!” moments and career growth of your students whether in a college setting or a corporate one can be incredibly satisfying.
  • Variety and creativity: Unlike the potentially repetitive nature of some contract work, training offers a dynamic and creative environment. Trainers get to design engaging curriculum, experiment with different delivery methods, and constantly adapt to the evolving needs of their learners.
  • Stability and community: Compared to the sometimes uncertain world of contracting, trainer positions often come with greater stability and benefits. Additionally, some training communities foster a sense of belonging and connection with like-minded professionals. The community can also be a sounding board when you come against sticky situations or are just having a rotten day.

How to build your trainer toolkit

While your IT expertise is a valuable foundation, becoming a sought-after trainer requires honing a specific set of skills. Here are some key areas to focus on:

  • Communication and instructional design: Effective trainers are not just subject matter experts; they are skilled communicators who can break down complex concepts into digestible chunks and deliver them in an engaging and understandable way. Courses in instructional design or adult learning principles can be immensely helpful.
  • Presentation and facilitation: Whether it’s leading a classroom session or delivering an online webinar, trainers need to be confident and engaging presenters. Public speaking workshops or online courses can help you refine your delivery skills and captivate your audience.
  • Assessment and evaluation: It’s crucial to be able to gauge the effectiveness of your training and ensure your students are mastering the material. Familiarise yourself with different assessment techniques and tools to track progress and identify areas for improvement.

How to chart your training Course

Several training paths can lead you to becoming a highly sought-after IT trainer. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Vendor certifications: Obtaining certifications in specific IT products or technologies can make you a valuable asset to training organisations that focus on those areas. Look for vendor-specific training programs or certifications relevant to your expertise.
  • Independent training provider: With the right skills and experience, you can strike out on your own and develop your own training courses or workshops. This path requires strong marketing and business acumen, but it can offer ultimate flexibility and control over your career.
  • Corporate training: Many large organisations have internal training departments that offer opportunities for experienced IT professionals to transition into trainer roles. Look for job openings within your network, recruitment agency or target companies with robust training programmes.

If you have made the transition from IT contractor to trainer we welcome your useful tips in the comments section.

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