The world of IT and data management is continuously changing and, as a result, so must the ways that we prepare technologists.

With my exposure and work with our customers and partners, I see first-hand the more recent increase in understanding that data is at the heart of digital transformation for any enterprise, and that data hubs are critical to that effort because they enable enterprises to integrate data so that it can be better managed and utilized.

New Ways to Educate, Learn for Better Results

New ways of managing data, however, require new ways of training and developing technologists. It is no longer optimal to have learners sit in classrooms for weeks at a time to work through printed manuals. Adult learners are balancing ongoing job duties and demands outside the workplace and often struggle to retain large amounts of new content without incorporating it into their work soon after taking training. And after finishing a training course, they still lack practical experience and are not seasoned enough to work on real-life projects without apprenticeship with an expert. This process adds time and cost for our customers and partners, both of whom need new data management technologies to be operational faster than ever given the competitive nature of an increasingly digital economy.

Instead, I see an increasing need for newer teaching methods. Studies have shown that micro-learning—breaking long courses into shorter, more digestible chunks—increases retention by up to 20%. Digestible modules are also more likely to offer practical experience and to then more easily transfer to a real-life work environment. Gamification—applying elements of game playing—often results in better learning outcomes, and is a great source of instant feedback to measure content effectiveness. And finally, rather than simply asking a learner to ingest information, learning processes must enable technologists to learn how to do something realistic. This means practice in a controlled learning environment followed by utilizing the newly acquired skill in a setting that parallels the real-world. When this happens, the result is technologists who are better prepared when they go to work on a real project.

We also need our educational efforts to do more than teach technologists how to use tools. We need to empower growth and creative problem-solving mindsets. Teaching someone to use a screwdriver or a hammer does not mean that student will then be able to build a house. We need technologists who can envision houses, build them, and then connect those houses to others. In an economy where consumers expect personalized service and immediate connection to brands, we need technologists with new ways of seeing data and multi-dimensional mindsets.

The importance of data management to the global economy is just one of the reasons why MarkLogic University successfully works with leading universities, including Penn State Behrend, Villanova University and the University of Maryland University College, to help prepare the workforce of the future.

Flight School for Data Hubs

With all of these shifts underway, I’m very excited that MarkLogic recently launched Data Hub Flight School™, a unique way to train a new generation of technologists on how to deploy data hubs.

The Flight School offers a lab-like, hands-on “simulation” experience akin to what pilots get before taking actual planes in the air.  Students first gain the baseline fundamental skills through hands-on modules-based training – either self-paced or instructor-led – with skills practice in a controlled learning environment. After successfully learning the basics, students are ready to join flight school where they are presented with a simulated real world project that requires the student to pace through all the steps of implementing a typical data hub: just like a flight simulator goes through takeoff, flight, and landing. Targeted at four-weeks, the Flight School simulation can be compressed or lengthened depending on students’ availability. With this new program, technologists will exit with the skills, mindsets and confidence to deploy a data hub framework at any enterprise. That’ll not only help our customers, but our partners, too, who need talent to execute successful system implementations.

Here at MarkLogic, we know that our success as a company relies on the success of our customers and partners. As such, we need to provide them with both cutting edge technology and highly trained and flexible technologists.

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