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IT Training: 5 Tips for Super Nerds

        posted by , December 02, 2012

When I first saw Revenge of the Nerds in the 1980s, I didn't know I was a nerd. I didn't wear those glasses with the tape in the center. I didn't know how to install a pocket protector.

Nevertheless, I found myself enthusiastically cheering for the nerds (does anyone cheer for the jocks in that film?).

(Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

In later years, I was surprised to learn that I myself was a nerd. Later still, I learned that I'm not only a nerd — I'm a super nerd.

Super Nerds and IT Training

It's now somewhat trendy to be a nerd.

With this new found popularity many new nerds are joining the club. As a result, there's a big difference in the nerdiness of nerds.

The nerdiest of the nerds (the super nerds) don't like IT training.

IT training takes precious time from a super nerd's schedule of doing nerdy stuff. Super nerds are great self learners. They view technical training as slow paced and tedious.

So what is a super nerd to do? A few ideas for super nerds to make the most of their training time:

1. Explore the big picture

As super nerds, we're passionate about stuff that the rest of the world considers obscure. That has great advantages because we become experts in our field. However, our passion and focus puts us at risk of missing the bigger picture.

Consider training that broadens your business and technical horizons.

If you're a solution architect, do enterprise architecture training such as TOGAF. If you're an enterprise architect take corporate governance, risk management or executive leadership training.

2. Target your weaknesses

If you think a weakness can be turned into a strength, I hate to tell you this, but that's another weakness.
~ Jack Handy (Fictional Character from Saturday Night Live)
Sit down and map out your weaknesses. Ask a trusted coworker to help. Take them out for dinner and sketch out your weakness on the back of cocktail napkins.

As super nerds we are great at perfecting our strengths. You may get the most out of training that focuses on your weak areas.

Many IT professionals benefit from business and soft skills training.

3. Walk in your colleague's shoes

Have you ever wished that your colleagues could walk in your shoes for a day?

If you're a solution architect you'll probably work closely with project managers throughout your career. Why not take some project management training?

You'll end up with a better understanding of the pressures and dynamics of your colleague's responsibilities. It will do wonders for your career.

4. Do a graduate degree

It's often more rewarding to take some heavy weight training such as a graduate degree.

If you spend two weeks a year on light weight IT training, that's time that could be poured into a degree that will challenge you.

5. Teach

Training is important. However, you'll find that you learn just as much teaching the class. If you're well into your career you're no doubt qualified to teach at one level or another.

You'll be surprised how students challenge a teacher. You can't truly understand a profession until you've taught it to someone else. Mentoring is another possibility.

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