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It Boot Camps Vs Self-study Programs
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Traditionalists will tell you that the only reason to go to an IT boot camp is to pass an a Exams. Someone who’s more realistic would say “The point of having IT boot camps is to give you sufficient, direct learning experience to pass a difficult, highly specialized exam.” Sure, you can go to a week-long boot camp, cram your brain with everything you need to know about a subject, and then pass the exam. For most boot camps, that is the main objective. Whether you leave with long-term sustainable skills, though, depends on how much of that compression information you retained and how much of it you apply to the real world after the boot camp. With the thousands of dollars that professionals spend on boot camps, it’s a consideration that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
If you don’t want to dish out the money for an IT boot camp and you don’t want to stop everything and go back to school, self-study is your best bet. This is basically where you learn at your own pace and comfort level. In the IT world, this typically includes textbooks, computer-based training, and simulators. The main reason this is so attractive is because it’s much cheaper than the cost of a boot camp or college course, and it can be done from just about any place and at any time. This means you can study and learn more efficiently. Of course, it does require much more discipline and focus to follow through and actually take the exam.
The list below breaks down the MCSE exams advantages and disadvantages of each IT training method. Feel free to use them as a reference in deciding what method is right for you.
Fast and focused learning Usually, IT boot camps are conducted in a controlled environment where candidates focus their entire day on only the information being taught. Many times, boot camp packages include courseware, lodging, and meals, which eliminate worry and facilitate more focus.
Instructor-led – Though this doesn’t fit every learning style, boot camps are usually taught by experienced, certified instructors. This leads to increased understanding and greater success rates on the exams.
Hands-on training – Boot camps, for the most part, come with hardware and software that can be used to validate your understanding of a topic. Should you have an issue with the application or device, instructors are there to guide and assist.
Interactive – Having people around you with similar goals is conducive toward helping you meet your goals. It also allows you converse and discuss issues with your instructor and the people around.
Hopefully that gives you enough to make an educated decision about which will be best for you. If you are still unsure, though, take a step back and look at your availability, learning style, potential gain/ROI, and how much you can afford to spend on training. Personally, I see a lot of benefit from IT boot camps, but I’ve been doing self-study my entire career and have honed my study strategy to complement my own lifestyle and learning style. If I ever do decide to try out an IT boot camp, I will certainly share my results.In the meantime, please feel free to share your mcsa opinion about boot camps and self-study, and what types of IT training worked best for you.
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