Five Things to Consider in a Database Training Option

Despite the fact that training is one of the services that we at WIST offer, my intention for this post is not to tell you why you should hire us, but rather to point you to what you should look for when you seek database training.  We’d love to discuss training options with you, but we also know that you may find another fit to be better for you and your organization.

  1. In-depth knowledge of the product.  This seems like a given, but simply because someone has used a product for a long time does not mean that they have used it to capacity.  Ask about their length of experience, what types of tasks they’ve handled, if they have any software certifications or endorsements, etc.
  2. Willingness to ask good questions. Databases are complex and, as such, often have code tables and settings that are unique to that organization.  A trainer who does not take the time to understand your organization may teach you how to use the software, but their methods may actually contradict your organization’s standards.  For example, I typically recommend recurring gifts for payroll deductions, but I once worked with one organization that wanted to use pledges for payroll deductions rather than recurring gifts because they wanted to be able to report on the total expected easily on any canned report that they used.  Had I not listened to their desired outcome, I could have led them down a path that didn’t meet their actual needs.
  3. Teaching Style. Any teacher can tell you that we don’t all learn the same way.  You may want an online class that you can take during the business day.  Someone else may prefer an on demand video. Another person may prefer an in person class with other database users. Others may want one on one training.  Think about how you learn best and consider that alongside what your organization can afford.
  4. Availability. How soon do you need training?  How quickly can you schedule what you need with each option?
  5. What can you afford? Keep in mind that not getting quality training will probably cost you more later (when your organization has to clean up data that hasn’t been well cultivated).  Check with your database provider to see what their options are as well as certified or preferred consultants who specialize in your product.  If you choose a consultant out of area, you’ll need to consider how travel will affect the cost.

Any thing you’d add to the list?

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