Would you assess a soldier’s ability to perform in combat with a written exam? No? That’s what I thought. You would probably try to simulate a real life situation to isolate your best people, otherwise, you’d be giving the enemy a huge advantage, wouldn’t you?
Sadly, this “field-ready” mindset, which is the sole purpose of rigorous military training, doesn’t quite translate to the educational system. Instead of educating and qualifying people based on real-world skills, the vast majority of institutions simply give them a form of written test to pass, and then claim that people are “ready”. Ready for what?
Now, we all know that the workforce doesn’t come close to what people experience in real combat, either directly or indirectly. But unlike the military, businesses have an actual limited budget and stockholders to keep happy, so they must be laser focused on efficiency.
The obsoleteness of the educational system is such that there are industries in which companies must rely on certifications and other kinds of training to “ensure” that people have the minimum qualifications to perform a job. Nonetheless, many of these certifications are based on written tests, which even though are very specific and require a lot of studying, could not possibly guarantee that someone is job-ready.
Take the IT industry as an example. Cisco Certified Network Associates (CCNA’s), for instance, are certified in specific fields of study such as routing and switching, but they earn their certification without ever actually touching a router or a switch, or even setting up a basic local area network (LAN).
Imagine if a Navy SEAL was deployed to a war zone with a CCNA certification! He wouldn’t last very long, would he? Not only that, but other SEALs would end up having to allocate part of their focus to take care of their underprepared partner just to make sure he could make it through the day. Talk about endangering all those involved in a mission!
This happens in a more subtle way in the corporate world, where companies invest a lot of money on training programs. These resources could be allocated more efficiently if their entry-level personnel was trained to hit the ground running in less time or trained on more advanced skills.
Believe it or not, every company is, in some way, similar to the SEAL program. They want the best possible people to join their teams and they strive to build or maintain a competitive advantage. If this is the case, then why is it that the educational system hasn’t caught up with military training yet?
I’m not saying that the entire system needs to be exactly like combat training. But, there are certain things that could be incorporated into education that would make a big difference on people’s skill sets and on their ability to advance in their careers.
At NexGenT we prepare students for the real-world, period. We give them the skills they really need to know and certify that they are able to perform over 100 different tasks in person, handling real equipment, with zero written testing! We do this through a self-paced online program called Zero to Engineer and a 5-day in-person boot camp.
Not only that, but we teach them how the IT industry works, the latest trends, how to land their dream job, and give them the strongest possible foundation on the full stack of networking, which allows them to better understand their career path options and communicate efficiently across all areas of IT.
Since we cut all the fluff included in conventional degrees and certifications, we are able to teach more advanced skills to our students such as how to configure Private WAN to VPN failover for disaster recovery or set up an HQ network with 2 branches from scratch.
These, among hundreds of other skills, are part of what real network engineers do every day at their jobs. This is where paper certifications reveal all their weaknesses and make people feel like all the hard work and effort they invested studying didn’t prepare them properly for “combat”.
We’ve incorporated the field-ready mindset, which was instilled in our founders when they served in the Air Force, to our award programs with the sole purpose of empowering people to either break into the IT industry or advance in their careers. Hence, when our students earn the Full-Stack Network Associate (FSNA) title, they have the skills needed to hit the ground running, just like American soldiers are.
The educational system is broken across various industries in several ways. It’s outrageously expensive, it doesn’t prepare people for the real world and leaves many of them in debt for many years to come after they graduate. We are working to change this for the IT industry, where what truly matters is a person’s skill set and knowledge, and nothing else.
Are you really learning how to do real things or just a bunch of theory?
Comment below and we’ll advise you.