Every good business needs to have fans. When you can see people using your products, getting genuinely excited about them, and asking for more, you know you’re on the right track. Even before we launched our online learning library, a big percentage of our sales has always been from repeat customers. This year, we saw one name coming up on order after order, nearly 30 courses! So we decided to reach out to WL Strickland of Houston, Texas, to find out exactly how he has been using our tutorials on design and IT.
“Strick” has worked as an IT tech for the last 20 years, following his exit from the military due to an injury in Operation Desert Storm. Beginning as a warehouse supply clerk, he advanced through positions in customer support, employee training, server support, and web application support, and has worked for NASA, FAA, Compaq, HP, Wal-Mart corporate offices, Anheisur-Bush, and many other companies doing short- and long-term contracts. His resume can be found online at www.wlstrickland.net.
In his spare time, he pursues photography, video and multimedia work, and volunteers with his local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapter. To see how he’s used Infinite Skills training to combine all of these different areas of his life, read ahead.
IS: When did you start using video training and tutorials to learn new software skills? Did you start with other companies or Infinite Skills first?
Strick: I have been a photographer and video person since my early teens. I’ve done a lot of video editing using basic software, but I wanted to learn more about the special effects side of it. I purchased the full Adobe package of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, After Effects to help produce great quality photos and videos.
I wanted to learn quickly, so I started looking around for video-based training to get a jumpstart…I looked around at all of the choices out there, tried the online demo versions from different vendors. I chose Infinite Skills because I liked how all of the trainers seemed to be talking directly to me, not at me. I also liked the vast assortment of topics. I viewed other vendors’ demos and even in the basic levels, the trainers were skipping important entry level skills. I have only purchased Infinite Skills training videos, and won’t waste my time or money on the others.
IS: How many Infinite Skills DVDs have you purchased? Any favorite courses stand out?
Strick: I have purchased close to 30 titles over the last year from Infinite Skills. I haven’t had the time to watch them all, with all of the hands on training that goes with them, but every topic that I have started, I have learned quite a bit, even on technologies that I have worked with over the last 10 to 15 years.
My favorite training video is on Adobe After Effects. The way that the instructor presented the material and explained how to use the software had me producing a lot of special effects within days of taking the training.
You can buy a book and try to follow it, but actually seeing examples of how the software could be used connects the dots a lot faster.
IS: You told us you’ve used our Adobe training to create print material and videos for your veteran’s group. Was it something you’d tried before without our videos? Did you receive special recognition?
Strick: I took journalism in high school for 3 years, so I had the skill set to put together a newsletter, but the software on the market over the years has been very basic. With being a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, each Post has the desire to promote the work in volunteering that they do, to help with membership and spotlight those members that stand out. No VFW Post has ever had its own magazine, just a basic typed up newsletter that often went overlooked when placed at VA Hospitals/Clinics and areas around town.
I decided I wanted to produce a magazine with pictures, advertising, articles on members, the work in volunteering, and many more features. I bought Adobe InDesign, but I needed to learn how to use it quickly. The first product I bought from Infinite Skills was for learning InDesign.
I ended up winning several national awards for the magazine, the Post membership tripled, and the community took a broader interest in what the VFW Post was doing. A small VFW Post of 36 jumped to close to 112 members in a short time, as the magazine was a great visual, like your training material was to me. I also won two national awards on websites, which made me the first person in VFW History to win more than one national media award in the same year.
IS: Do you feel our videos have given you an advantage in the workplace? Do you think companies should purchase our training for their employees?
Strick: I can definitely tell that my skill set has increased. I volunteer for projects outside of my comfort level, by buying and taking the video courses to give me a general understanding. The training videos don’t cover all aspects of the material needed, but it gives a great foundation for learning the basics so that the rest can be learned quickly with a lot of hands on experience.
I think IT Departments all over the world should have access to these videos. A subscription would be key to make sure that the companies’ IT departments stays current. An IT person needs to spend 10 to 20 hours a week learning the technology or quickly find themselves out of work.
IS: What course are you most looking forward to next? Are there any we don’t have that you’d like to see?
Strick: I have worked with SQL Server as an administrator over the years, but I have never done any real DBA work. I purchased the three SQL titles to add that certification to my skill set.
The world of IT is the most demanding industry for continued learning that there is. Technology expands every single day: updated hardware, new software, new technology like the tablets, The Cloud, network automation. I spend an average of 3 hours a day on training, regardless if it is reading about the update software, learning about new technologies, or learning about areas of IT that I have new projects in. Watching a video at the end of a day absorbs a lot faster than reading a manual.
There are a lot of areas I would like to see Training Material on. SQL Reporting and BI, VMWare Orchestrator, VMWare Intune, a lot of monitoring software like NetIQ and Argent, areas in Oracle and Hyperion. It would also be great to actually have videos on SOX Compliance as so many companies struggle to actually know what they should be doing to make sure they are staying within the legal guidelines (Thanks Enron).
Thanks Strick! For sharing his perspective with us, he will be receiving a free Infinite Skills t-shirt and hat. Do you have any great stories of how you’re using our training? Comment or contact us through social media, and you could be our next fan profile.