Not every person is cut out to be a great technical trainer. The truth is, the industry is full of sub-par technical trainers that do little more than recite text coming from a book. The industry needs great trainers, but can it be a career that is best for your needs?
There are two characteristics which make someone a great technical trainer: Most trainers contain the first one covered. The next characteristic is one that distinguishes you the rest.
The first characteristic is self evident: a fascination with technology. Obviously, if you're planning on a career as a technical trainer, you ought to be someone who is intrigued and excited about technology.
This does not mean you need to be someone who spent everyday in front of a keyboard from the moment that you learned the way to type. In fact, when we discover the second characteristic, you will understand that these people who simply sit in front of their computers all day often do not are excellent technical trainers.
How can you tell if you have a "fascination" with technology? It is defined by a curiosity, amazement, and inquisitiveness by what technology does by always wanting to know more. For example, if you have ever asked yourself a question like, "How does email receive from one place to another?" and then sought a better solution out of sheer curiosity, you might have this fascination.
The other characteristic of a great technical trainer is large demand plus short supply. If you have it, you will be better than 90% of your contemporaries.
Let me share this characteristic through two examples: one negative and something extremely positive.
After i was just out of college and hired to operate in the networking department for one of the largest consulting firms on the planet, I was selected to attend a one-week class on something called the OSI Model, the theoretical model where all computer networking is derived.
Do you know what the professor did? He read, almost directly, through the text books that we ingested. He was not unenthused but he added little value beyond what might be found in the text. It turned out, perhaps, the most boring week of my entire life.
One year later, this same company was sending everyone with a class to learn the principles of the Microsoft Windows NT main system. At the time, this was Microsoft's new networking platform along with the company wanted everyone to get familiar with it.
Guess what the topic was the first day? The OSI Model...again. The instructor was required to begin with the OSI Model to ensure that students would comprehend the foundations of networking before he delved in the intricacies of the new Microsoft main system.
As I resigned myself to a different week of dreadful boredom, the teacher began the course this way: "Ok, everyone, I really want you to take your books and shut them. This-the OSI Model-is a theoretical topic, ths issue with theories is basically that you can't touch them. Today, we are going to touch a theory!"
During that week of class, I learned more using this teacher than I learned through the previous technical classes. He obviously had trait number 1 to be a great technical trainer-a desire for technology, but actually is well liked had the second characteristic that most technical trainers lack: the ability to communicate ideas in the exciting manner.
An excellent technical trainer is usually someone who, like the students he or she teaches, has divergent interests. This trainer talked to everyone, find out what their interests were, and used real-world analogies which everyone could relate.
So, are you experiencing what it takes to become a great technical trainer?
Well, if you possess the "fascination" with technology, you're off and away to a good start. But if you have the ability to communicate this into a room full of people, you'll be able to distinguish yourself in the field.