When you feel your career has stalled, you need a change of pace, oryou're just not enjoying yourself on the job, it's time to recharge,regroup, and reevaluate. But in the current job market, you shouldn'tquit your job without another one lined up.
One viable way to give yourself space while you figure out your nextcareer move, and remain employed in the interim, is to become an ITtrainer. It's a solid lateral move that won't have any negativerepercussions on your future career potential -- a safe haven, so tospeak, where you can identify exactly what you like and dislike aboutyour area of IT.
In addition to the change of pace and providing you an opportunity toassess your future in IT, spending time as an IT trainer has a number ofresidual career benefits as well:
A) It gets you out from behind the desk and up in front of a crowd, which can help you become more comfortable with making presentations and communicating with higher-ups.
B) It helps you realize just how much you know -- and what you don't know -- about your area of expertise.
C) It helps you develop and improve critical oral and written communication skills -- learning to explain difficult concepts as plainly as possible will position you for management-level IT jobs in the long-term.
D) Should you decide to leave IT entirely, IT training experience will serve you well whatever career transition you decide to make. Teaching credentials and a proven ability to speak before a crowd are skills you can transport into any arena, within IT or without.
You may want to test the waters before making a firm decision to pursuea training opportunity. For example, you could make a how-topresentation in front of a user group or arrange a brown-bag lunchseminar for your colleagues at work to present a new technology orproject plan. Another possibility is to offer to talk about "Working inReal-World IT" or another IT-related topic for a local college oruniversity IT class. If your comfort level in front of a group or yourpublic speaking skills leave something to be desired, consider joiningyour local chapter of Toastmasters International, where members can workon their speaking and listening skills among a group of likemindedpeople.
If you determine that a stint as a trainer would be a rejuvenatingcareer experience, look first within your own IT organization, where youare a known quantity (that will help make up for the fact that you lackprevious training experience). If you have a unique technical skill set,seek an opportunity to train other IT professionals. Alternately, seekout opportunities in your company's end-user training organization.
If your company doesn't maintain an internal training organization,consider going outside the company. One possibility would be to trainpart-time, teaching night classes at a local training center ortechnology institute. That would give you a chance to try before you buy-- that is, see how well you like training before you give up yourcurrent job.
A recent search at a number of job search sites, including Techies.com,Monster.com, Net-Temps.com, Workopolis.com (a Canadian job search site),and Dice.com, turned up a wide range of IT training opportunities,ranging from end-user applications training to JD Edwards, SAP andOracle Financials training, and more.
This is possibly because training salaries aren't quite as high as inother IT areas, so companies have a hard time finding qualified expertswho are wiling to teach. Salaries range from $50,000 for stand-uptechnical trainers with some responsibility for training anddocumentation development to $90,000 and up for training managersresponsible for curriculum development, online training programs,training standards, and documentation.
Professional staffing firms, consulting agencies, IT training companiesand large corporations with internal training organizations were allamong those advertising training positions. Many of the jobs were forcontract trainers, or contract-to-hire, but a number of full-timepositions came up as well. Most are looking for one to three years oftraining experience. Technology certification is useful, andtech-training certification (such as Microsoft's MCT) is an added bonus.
Some companies also require specific industry-related experience. Forexample, a pharmaceuticals company's ad stated that it would notconsider applicants who had no experience in the pharmaceuticals arena,and a storage technology firm stated it would only consider applicantswho came from another storage technology company.
At IT job search sites, look for IT training jobs via a keyword searchfor jobs with "Trainer" in the title or description. At general jobsearch sites, select "IT-All" as the category or industry and "Trainer"or "Training" at as the job description or title.