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VoIP training: Learning about this lucrative skill

Dec 07, 20053 mins
Data CenterVoIP

* VoIP training options and issues

Last month, I reported on the results of Foote Partners’ most recent skills pay survey, which found that VoIP, storage/storage-area networking and Gigabit Ethernet were the top-3 highest paying, non-certified network-related skills for the three-months ended Oct. 1. If you want a piece of the high-flying salary but don’t know the first thing about those technologies – training is where you start.

Today we look at VoIP training options and issues, and the next few newsletters will look at storage/storage-area networking, and Gigabit Ethernet training.

VoIP training falls into two camps: training for vendor-specific certifications, such as designations managed by VoIP equipment vendors Cisco, Avaya and Nortel, among others. The other is VoIP training that may not result in a certification but where students learn about the fundamentals of VoIP and issues surrounding implementation and deployment. Unlike the training for vendor-specific certifications, these courses don’t focus on one product. Suppliers of such vendor-neutral training include Global Knowledge, TRA and Teracom Training Institute.

Although vendor-neutral training does not currently offer students the opportunity to become certified, CompTIA, which develops vendor-neutral certifications such as A+ and Network+, has been working on developing its Convergent Technologies Certification since the beginning of this year. According to CompTIA, the process should take 12 months. The goal is to produce a vendor-neutral certification that demonstrates VoIP or convergence skills. You can read more about this initiative in a newsletter I wrote about it when the project first began: “CompTIA creating VoIP certification.”

Vendor-neutral training is a good place to start for IT pros who are VoIP novices and business executives who been charged with evaluating or planning a VoIP initiative.

“People who attend our intensive short courses are generally not technicians who set up and operate the machines but instead business professionals at a higher level in the organization,” says Eric Coll, CEO and founder of Teracom Training. “After taking Teracom training, graduates feel much more confident discussing architectures and alternatives with their internal engineering staff and discussing products with salespeople.”

For organizations sending IT pros for VoIP education, the question is often who to send for training, the telco guy or the data guy? This question was posed in an earlier newsletter (see “Who to send for VoIP training?”) and the upshot was that organizations should send both guys because they each have different skills that they can bring to the VoIP implementation project. However, from anecdotal evidence of students in his class, Coll says organizations usually pick one person from either camp to head up the project before sending them out for training. He says the percentage of Teracom students with backgrounds in data vs. telecommunications is pretty equal.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on VoIP training. Have you attended any vendor-neutral training and if so, was it useful? Or if you are training for a vendor-specific certification what was the reason for following that particular certification. Thanks for your feedback.