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Offline ralph

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How to Mentor Newbie
« on: August 01, 2015, 09:59:37 AM »
Here's a general question.
If someone asked you to mentor them in a telecom career, what training would you have them focus on and in what order?

How would you get someone started?

Networking?
cabling?
Linux?
Windows?

Then for you VARs out there?   Would you hire a complete newbie?  And if so, what would you look for in that person?
How does a newbie get the foot in the door with a VAR?

Ralph





Offline Tech Electronics

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Re: How to Mentor Newbie
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2015, 06:11:03 PM »
Ralph,

I think the best thing to start them on is the big picture concepts and then start with the basics of cable plants and then how everything else ties into that. Try to keep interlacing the knowledge across the board of telephony and networking all the while strengthening those skills by allowing them to tear down, build, troubleshoot and fix at each step of the way. The more they do and see the faster it will be engrained in them and it lessens the stress they feel when they know it can almost always be fixed by someone; this promotes the confidence to at least jump in and give it a try in my opinion. The hardest part is getting them to understand that though there are standards not everyone follows them or some work was done prior to an official standard. To this part you need to make sure that they really understand the basics of how it really works so the standard just falls into place as a best practice rather than "this is how it works". Another difficult concept for a lot of people is understanding and manipulating the logic of the products we work on; as they say there is usually more than one way to skin a cat.

Now, we just hired a new guy, in the last few months, as the old guys are getting a little long in the tooth as they say and looking to retire soon. We normally start looking in-house to see if there is anyone wanting to move over to voice and data; usually the cable installers. When that fails we have to start looking in other areas and for the most part it usually isn't hard to find some old blood out there to hire and I personally think our company targets them first to reduce their costs in training, but when the straws are short they will look at less experienced applicants.

Of course it is a hard thing to find a new person that is willing to learn telephony as well as networking and be comfortable with computer applications. If you can find one I would say nurture them well as this field isn't going away anytime soon and even though IT people think our job is easy we all know different. Anyway the one we ended up hiring came from a small mom and pop computer and networking company, but his father worked for our company in another department; not that it should matter.

The first thing was for them to pass the same tests that all new employees in the voice and data department are required to take on basic telephony as well as a personality test. Let's just say they did well enough to know what a phone is and most of the basics needed to get one working; we can't be too picky as there are not a lot of new telephony degree holders anymore. This let us know that they were at least knowledgable enough to start teaching and hopefully build them into a good technician; and hope they stick with it.

We started them off with the service techs as a ride along for 2 months and had them learn basic telephony when they were not out on calls. Since the engineers were the ones teaching them basic telephony they were also introduced to new installations as well. We figured they knew enough about networking and computers that we could focus on the stuff that is not readily available to the public at large as common knowledge; especially older technologies.

Once they got their Mitel Networking certification they are sent off to school to learn the systems they will be working on; which in our case is only the Mitel product line. When they come back they were sent out with a service tech for another week and then let go on their own to see if they would sink or swim. Of course they had access to all the voice and data department resources like any other technician would, but it lets you see how they handle themselves. They usually would get calls that the other technicians already knew how to fix so that we could determine their ability to solve problems and whether or not they would ask for help.

In the end though they are required to at least get their CCNT and Net+ and eventually their CTP in order to move up the pay ranks. They are also required, since we are union, that they learn basic electronics through the union hall.

Thanks,

TE

 

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