Computer Shopping

The decision to attend a computer training school is one of the most important you’ll ever make, and even more important is which one to attend. Asking the right questions can give you an idea of whether a given IT school is a good investment. An earlier article I wrote on this subject was so popular that I thought I’d offer some more advice on the questions to ask before you write that check or take out that loan.

If the school offers a placement service, ask to talk to the people working in that department and ask them how they go about placing graduates. Most schools offer a list of companies that they’ve placed students with. Get this list and start calling some of these companies. Ask to speak to their HR department, and ask them for their opinion of the school. Even if they don’t say a lot, their tone of voice can speak volumes.

Ask to meet some of their teachers, and don’t be afraid to ask them how long they’ve taught at that particular school. If the average teacher has been there a while, that’s a good sign. If there seems to be quite a bit of turnover at the school, that’s not as good a sign.

Another key area is the availability of the computer labs during class and after the class is over. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that getting hands-on experience with the various software and hardware you’ll be working with in the field is the #1 way to get ahead – just reading books will not do it. If you’re taking a router class, does the school have real routers for you to work on? If you’re taking a PC repair class, are there plenty of PCs for everyone in your class to work on, or do you’ve to share?

You want classes that offer hands-on experience during class, and you should be able to get into the computer labs after class. You may not be able to use the labs at night if the school offers night classes, but again I speak from experience – the time you spend in the computer labs after class is just as valuable as the time you spend in class. Make sure the labs will be available after class – and then get in there and work!