Proper training is essential to smooth operation of your iDirect Government SATCOM network, and the only way to become a smooth operator is by taking one – or more – of our specialized training.
Here to explain what goes on during iDirectGov training is Jae Lee, Sr. Manager of Global Technology Services. Not only is he responsible for training, he also assists with technical publications for iDirectGov hardware and software and Tier 3 escalations with our Technical Assistance Center (TAC).
What is the number one reason why customers should take our training?
We are the sole provider for iDirectGov network training. There are professional service partners (PSPs) who provide training on our behalf, but they are certified by us or VT iDirect, our parent company. We deliver training with only certified instructors who go through a certification process to ensure they have a thorough understanding of iDirectGov satellite networks and all hardware and software. When customers come to us they can be assured they are getting the proper knowledge to run and maintain their iDirectGov network.
What do customers get out of training?
Our customers gain the knowledge to operate our products confidently. Knowledge is the most important thing they can get from our classes, but having the confidence is just as important. What I tell students in my class is that this is the only place they can play around and screw things up, and nobody will yell at you. It’s a safe place to make mistakes; people don’t usually get that chance. Our classes afford the hands-on opportunity that allow students to learn from their mistakes without a major network outage.
What do you teach in training?
In a basic iOM training, we have a good mix of people with different skill sets. We’ll have someone with a background in software, another with a background in IT and maybe someone else with a lot of satellite experience. Our first goal is to get everyone on the same level so they all understand how each piece works together, the technical terms and where they apply. From there, we teach students the very basics of what’s needed to operate a network under ideal conditions. In Advanced iOM (AiOM), we begin teaching them how the data path (how traffic travels through the network) works, so if an issue has occurred, they can troubleshoot and figure out what’s going on with the network and how to fix it.
Our courses are arranged kind of like this: iOM is like giving students a fish. AiOM teaches them how to catch a fish, and the QoS Bootcamp (iQBC) training teaches them how to catch specific fish. AiOM deals with the operator side as opposed to iQBC, which deals with someone in a designer role, which helps them efficiently build and operate networks. In a sense, AiOM and iQBC are not related, so someone with an iOM background could take either AiOM or iQBC, depending on their roles.
Walk me through a typical class. How is it set up? How is it taught? Is there much hands-on learning?
In a typical iOM class, we first go over different terminology that’s used in the system. Then, we introduce students to the iDirect system and explain the overall structure. Lastly, we show them how to build networks and how to access them, and how to set up remotes and bring them into the network, how TRANSEC works in our system. We intermingle hands-on learning between all the chapters so students can experience what we teach them from the start. Once students have completed basic iOM training, we recommend they go out and use their knowledge in the field for at least six months, and then come back for our more advanced offerings like AiOM and iQBC.
What makes our instructors so proficient? Do they have to go through their own training to become certified?
There are two things that make an excellent instructor: Knowledge and knowing how to explain it to others. iDirectGov is really blessed to have instructors that are exceptional at both. Not only do they have the ability to speak to a group with confidence, they have the knowledge that’s critical to our training. They’ve worked with this equipment in the field as operators, so they know from experience what to do and how to relay that information to students in a way they can understand.
If they’ve taken a training in the past, why should they take another one now?
When we release new software or they acquire a new piece of hardware, there are changes and new features they will want to learn. For instance, our 9-Series hardware boasts more advance features that our 8-Series hardware did not support, and as a result, were not covered in previous courses. Of course if they want a refresher, they can take the same class again.
What if there’s a new software or hardware release? Would they need to retake the entire class or can they just retake the portion that focuses on the new features?
If there’s new features, they can pick and choose to learn new portions of the software or hardware only. For example, Evolution 4.2 has new TRANSEC features that improve usability, so if a customer wanted a training specifically on how to use TRANSEC in Evolution 4.2, we can build a custom class for them. Our customized classes are usually onsite, or they reserve the classroom just for their customized training.
Otherwise, our delivery is usually standardized. If they don’t want us to design a custom course, they could sign up for a class that’s already on the schedule.
If there’s training a customer needs that’s not listed on our site, can they schedule or create customized courses for their needs? Do you offer remote access training?
Customers can absolutely request custom courses. One customer requested a training specific to Evolution 3.4, which was perfect timing because that software had just been released. The customer wanted to include specific topics, so we customized a training just for them.
Other customers have come to us and said, “Hey, we have some experience with iOM, but we need to learn a certain portion of QoS, can you do that in one week?” That can be challenging, but if they’ve taken iOM or worked on our system before, we can build custom materials for their training.
Remote access training is taught using a remote network access that allow students to visually see the hub configuration and monitor the status during the hands-on portion of class. We design these classes specifically for customers who need an on-site class for a small group of people, and as an alternative training option when shipping our training systems to the site is complicated or grossly expensive.
If anyone has a question about training or to schedule a custom training, what’s the best way for them to get more information?
Anyone interested in a custom training or remote access training can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, the training calendar does change, so customers seeking training should check periodically to see if a training they need has been added. If not, they can always email us or contact their account manager to schedule a custom course or get more information anytime!