Microsoft training differs from most other software vendors in that it does not offer Microsoft-dellivered classroom based training. Microsoft relies
on its extensive network of partners and third party training providers to deliver the Microsoft curriculum.
Microsoft Training Options
Classroom based training is delivered directly by Microsoft Authorised Training Partners and third party accredited training providers. Trainers must meet certain Microsoft standards to deliver training and must always use official Microsoft materials and courseware.
Class sizes are typically inthe range of 8-12 students, and each student will have his or her own training PC. These training courses are quite interactive, with the class working through a number of examples from the official courseware.
Whether you use Microsoft Authorised Education Partners or accredited third party training providers, all should be using official Microsoft courseware. This will ensure you are receivng the proper training in the product.
Microsoft also offer a series of web seminars through it’s official website. Typically consisting of 1-2 hours, these web seminars cover a wide range of topics, are are very useful to refresh your knowledge in a particular product area or see a general overview of a new technology. However, take these courses for what they are – a high level overview. These web seminars will never give you enough to learn a new product.
The self-training option is also available. This market really comes into its own due to the vast array of ‘How to…’ and ‘Learn xyz in 10 days’ type of books. You will find that there are many books covering all of the popular Microsoft applications – from SQL Server to Sharepoint. A large number of these books are released via the Microsoft Press label, although many other publishers have written Microsoft software books. These are often a very practical way of learning, particularly as Microsoft offer, either via a CD in their books, or via their website, a lengthy trial of their products. For example, Microsoft are currently offering 180 day trials of their SQL Server software. This should be more than enough time to get a working knowledge of the product.
Finally, let’s not forget the small army of independent trainers. Such is the footprint of Microsoft software in organisations, that many companies have their own dedicated training team offering training in Microsoft Office, Project, etc. There are also a large number of small consultancies who can custom build a course for you based on a particular Microsoft technology. These can be incredibly productive and well worth considering.