Taking Responsibility as an Instructor

I’ve worked with a number of instructors over the years, and I’ve run into a lot of instructors who make some key mistakes, whether they’re designing a course, or delivering one. I think there’s a key to understanding why certain instructional techniques are useful. I think it’s important to understand the concept of scope, when it comes to instruction. And unfortunately, I think a lot of instructors – often through nothing more than genuine enthusiasm for the topic – miss those important bits. Read More

Stand By: “DSC Camp” Registration Opens February 1st 2015

Watch this space, because on February 1st I’ll be opening registration for “DSC Camp,” a special and extremely exclusive event that’ll take place at and near my home in Las Vegas, NV. Limited to just 16 participants, you’ll interact deeply with three of the industry’s top independent experts in PowerShell’s DSC technology. You’ll learn how to build out YOUR DSC infrastructure (yours, not some generic model – we’ll get specific), build custom resources, troubleshoot, and a ton more. It’ll a jam-packed weekend (Fri-Sat-Sun) that includes classroom learning, information brainstorming and design workshops, and a ton more.

Pricing will start at $1200 until March 1st, and $1500 thereafter. It’ll run August 21-23. Your pricing includes pretty much all your meals, two nights’ hotel, and ground transportation between the hotel and our learning venues. It’s going to be fun, yes, but it’s going to be work, and a ton of brain activity.

A full brochure and the reg link will appear on Feb 1 on DonJones.com. Payment will be via PayPal only, unless you contact me directly to make special arrangements otherwise. First-come, first-served. And we did have an early bird list, so fewer than 16 spaces remain already.

To attend, “DSC” shouldn’t be a brand-new thing to you. You should be pretty solid in PowerShell and able to build advanced functions, and you should have at least played with DSC and be well-read on the subject. If you’re just crazy-clever, you can probably do well if you read “The DSC Book” as homework prior to attending.

Keep your eyes open. This is happening.

Help Me Make Your Help Desk Helpier

I could use your help. In fact, if you could bring this post to the attention of everyone in your IT team, and anyone else in IT you know, I’ll be hugely indebted.

I’ll get straight to the point. In the comments of this post, please provide a simple list of the skills and knowledge you believe someone should have in order to get a job on a company’s entry-level IT team (typically the help desk, and that’s where I’m focusing).

This should not include anything specific to your environment, like custom apps. Imagine there’s a super, world-class “help desk school” out there someplace, and they teach a perfect curriculum, and people are dying to hire their graduates into entry level IT positions. What is it they teach?

Be as specific as possible. For example, don’t write “AD Management,” because you and I both know your help desk isn’t “managing” AD. Perhaps they’re unlocking accounts and resetting passwords – so write that.

Don’t go overboard, either – we’re looking for entry level skills, not the skills you wish the help desk had so that they could do your job for you.

Think about soft skills, too. Phone skills? Conversational skills? Anger suppression skills? What does your help desk, at work, do really well? Write those things down. What do they struggle with? Write those things down – provided they’re in-scope for what an entry-level IT person would be expected to know.

I’m going to run this through the end of January 2015 (so don’t bother adding-on after that), and I appreciate your help. Read on for my reasons behind this, and to offer your input.

If you’re looking for more detail on why I’m doing this, I’ll tell you. I’m massively frustrated that our entire education system funnels kids towards massively expensive four-year college degrees for everything, and acts like there’s simply no way to get a job outside that system. Kids are saddled with $60k or more of debt when they’re just starting out, or they beggar their parents going through a program that usually has zero applicability to what they end up doing. For-profit colleges are raking it in hand over fist, and it’s not fair to our kids. 

The equivalent of a two-year associates certificate from a career college should be sufficient to get someone an entry-level job in IT – and from there, experience will get them a lot further than expensive credit-hours. Unfortunately, most of those two-year programs come from commercial career colleges, which charge upwards of $24k a year for the privilege. Sure, some community colleges do a good job for tons less – but they struggle with funding, and they struggle to find good curricula.

I’m in a position to create a good curriculum, and to populate it with training from some of the industry’s best, and that’s what I want to do. This is kind of a personal mission for me. I didn’t go to college myself, and I took a lot of ribbing for going down a more vocational path, but it’s worked out damn well for me. I love IT, and I think a lot of younger folks would do really well in it – if weediest stopped jamming college down their throats as a solution for everything.

Thanks for your help. I want to make this as practical and as real-world as humanly possible, and knowing what your help desk actually deals with (in a generic sense) will go a long way toward helping. And again, please help me get as many eyes on this as possible. Don’t worry about writing duplicate information, I’ll sort it out.

Again, thanks.