We all know IT training budgets have been slashed to little pieces over the past few months, but experts say that little by little companies are getting back the dollars to train their employees.
In fact, IDC (http://www.idc.com) predicts a compound annual growth for IT training in North America to be upwards of 13.1% through 2006.
Training, which took a big hit after Sept. 11, should follow the same curve as IT spending, which is also slated to increase, albeit slowly, over the next few years.
The difference in this upturn, I imagine, will be travel. I doubt that with staff reductions still taking place and post-Sept. 11 fears still riding high that traveling great distances for learning will return to its previous level. Instead alternatives like computer-based training and distance learning, as well as local seminars and conferences, will be the education option of choice.
IDC predicts that the hot training areas will be in applications, application development and system infrastructure software. The best bets in application training will be in content management, customer relationship management and enterprise resource management. Application development will feature application server software platform courses and information and data management software. Finally, Linux, Windows XP and Security will all be in the spotlight for systems infrastructure.
Interestingly, North America is predicted to show the most growth over the next few years in the education market as opposed to the rest of the world.
As companies begin to free up dollars for projects, it is only logical that they would need to free up dollars for requisite training. You can't very well roll out new technologies without having the knowledge to manage them. Now that the "freeze" in spending is over, training becomes ever more critical.
Even more critical is the speed with which learning can take place. Many companies lost ground during these past few months that they need to gain back quickly. The only way to do this is to implement cutting-edge technologies. However, they need network managers behind these technologies at a higher learning curve than they might otherwise have been.
To do this, they need training companies to create rapid modules in localized areas. Fast learning close to home. That will be the mantra for the next few years.