I forgot to mention this earlier, probably because the "official" announcement came out while I was on vacation sans laptop, but I am officially certified as a Trial Director 5 trainer.
Now, since I can't really do much training outside of my own firm, the certification doesn't mean much. (It'd be a conflict of interest to train other firm's attorneys.) But, since I needed to get as much in-depth training as possible in order to put together our own attorney educational program on how we could use the software at trial, or at depositions, it makes sense to go ahead and get the certification. If nothing else, it tends to make attorneys stand up an take ever so slightly more notice when you can throw some initials on your credentials.
Then again, I'm an SCT, Summation Certified Trainer already, and I have no idea if there are initials in common use for this certification. (TDCT? Anyone?)
At any rate, it never hurts to drop the new certification on a resume or LinkedIn profile. While I don't have any plans to put that to use, you just never know!
So, now that I am armed with all of that technical know-how with Trial Director, the next step is going to be convincing our attorneys to put it to good use, and convincing our clients that the extra cost is worth it for their case. I have a feeling the certification tests are going to prove much easier than the sales job I'm about to embark on, but it's all part it. As with any tech tool, it's only powerful if it gets used. As much as I think we could use Trial Director for, I've got to convince others of that now, so if anyone out there has been through this and has some tips, I'm all ears!
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you're probably aware that things have been quiet here because I've been out of town. I was in Phoenix last week for 3 days of Trial Director Certification/Training, and with the hotel wifi being rather lame, I haven't been around to update the blog. :)
Anyway, the training was great. I definitely have much more understanding of how to use Trial Director and all of the available features we could use. It's a pretty powerful tool! The key is going to be figuring out how to demonstrate a few features to the attorneys so that they get a feel for what we can do in a trial setting, without overwhelming them with too much information.
The other challenge, of course, is that I think there's a ton of stuff we could do with Trial Director, not just at trial, at arbitration hearings, depositions, and even in some presentations to clients, but I'm the only one who has spent the 3 days being trained to use it all. So, either I have to find a way to start training some of our paralegals, or I'm going to be spending a lot more time working on putting on presentations with Trail Director. That may require some other changes, but that's pretty far down the road. We'll see if it comes to that.
First things first, I need to start putting together a 10 minute demonstration to start shopping to some of the attorneys in the next few weeks, and then we'll go from there!
I believe I've written before that with the release of a new version of Summation iBlaze, they were also requiring everyone who might market themselves as a trainer to pass another certification test, before Aug. 1 in order to not have to go through the whole process all over again.
Today, I completed that exam, with a passing grade. So I am all current on my certification up to version 2.9. I don't currently require it, since I'm only doing in house training, not marketing myself, but you never know what the future may hold, so I figured I'd get it while it was a simple re-certification process, as opposed to going through everything again!
The exam wasn't much different than part 1 of the 2.8 certification, just a few questions thrown into the mix covering the new features of 2.9 out of the 50 questions you need to answer. Obviously, if you've recently taken the exam, it won't seem all that much different.
Still, I'm glad it's behind me, until the next release. *L*
Despite the fact that I haven't even been an SCT for more than 6 months, I was informed today that I will need to re-certify on the new version of iBlaze, 2.9, before August 1 to remain an SCT in good standing.
I'll have to sign up for an online review session, pay my $200 and take the test in order to re-certify and be able to offer outside training as an SCT. Internally, I can teach whatever I want, they really can't decide how the firm handles training to their own people, but if want to do any outside training I'll need to be certified to do that.
Had I known this was coming, I'm not entirely sure I wouldn't have waited. On the one hand, having to redo it this quickly sucks. On the other, we're not even using 2.9 yet, and may not be for a little while, so I don't know if that would have been ideal for me when it came to training internally.
Any way you look at it, I'll be working on this over the Summer. Waiting until after August 1 means having to go out to the 3 day workshop again and paying for the certification all over from the beginning. That's not a wise choice!
Got the email response telling me that I had passed, and they'd be in touch with the details of the certification stuff. I'm glad to get that behind me before the end of the year.
It is a pretty rigorous certification. You have to apply, telling them some details of how you use Summation, ho you plan to train on it etc. Once your application is approved, you have to pass a pre-workshop exam. Once you do that, then you have to go out to one of their offices for the 3 day workshop. (4 days if you're going for the WebBlaze as well as iBlaze Certifcation).
After that workshop you have 75 days to pass parts one and two of the exam, at which point you'll be given the hands on project. Part 1 is 50 multiple choice questions, and was pretty similar to the A+ exam I took awhile back in terms of how it's laid out. One big difference, of course, is that you take it online, so it's open book for all purposes, and it's not timed at all. You can work on it, stop, and go back as long as you want.
Part 2 is 10 short essay questions. These take a little more time but, again, you can start, stop and go back as often as you need to. Short essay questions are a bit tougher, you don't see those in Tech exams very often, simply because someone has to grade them! In the case of CT Summation, though, they are typically only dealing with the 15 people from the latest workshop at any one time, and I think they maybe do 4-5 workshops per year?
Part 3 was a hands-on project. The idea is to take a case database and follow the directions to do the various work that they require to show that you know you're way around the database and the various features. After all, you can't really use Summation if you can't bring data in, make it usable for the attorneys and then get it back out when needed!
Overall, I'd say that while it's certainly a very specific certification, (If your firm doesn't use Summation, there's not much point unless you plan to become a free-lance trainer.) the rigors of the testing process and the relative lack of large numbers of SCT's out in the field make it a pretty good indicator for skills in using Summation, and that's really the whole point!
I got an email today with the results from part 2 of the Summation Certified Trainer Exam. Yes, I passed with a 100%. The email didn't include any information on when I'd be getting the project to download and work on, but I'm hoping it will be pretty soon. This time of year is somewhat slower for trials, so I'd like to get to the project while I have some extra time, and before we get into January and the trials pick right back up again!
I submitted my test today, part 2 of the exam. Part 1 was 50 multiple choice questions, which I submitted a while back and got my results immediately, 96%, passing. Part 2 was described as "short answer", but in reality, they were short essays! When you have to give 3 possible troubleshooting problems and their solutions, that is not a short answer!
Anyway, there were 10 of those, and after many hours of writing, re-writing, and testing my answers in a test database, today I finally reached the point where I really didn't have anything else to add, so I sent it in. Now I have to await my results. Which I don't like, especially since there is no real time table on which to expect those results!
Assuming I pass this and don't have to retake part 2, I move on to part 3, which is a hands on project.
Yes, this is a pretty intensive testing procedure. It's no wonder you have 75 days to complete parts 1 and 2, and no deadline for part 3!
Friends in Tech, the group of podcasters and bloggers that I belong to, and blog for, when I'm not as crazy busy as I have been lately, has added a new member, Steve Riekeberg of the Geek Cred Podcast.
I can't say that I'm all that familiar with the podcast, but I'm going to download a couple of episodes and take a listen while I'm out of town this week.
BTW, yes, I am in SFO now. Had a relatively nice trip out today, and got here in time to catch the Blue Angels flying around, and take a nice walk to the Bay for some photos. Training class starts in the morning, but I think I should still manage to find some time in the evenings for photos, and I have all day Friday, and most of Saturday, to myself. So, I'm looking forward to seeing some of the city we didn't get to see when we were here last Spring as well as getting prepared for my Summation Trainer Certification. I should be learning a lot over the next few days!
Thing one is finally getting to plan out the details of my trip to San Francisco in October. I've got the Summation Certified Trainer Workshop Oct 8-11, but it looks like I'll be staying a bit longer than that, catching the redeye out of town on Saturday night the 13th. That should give me a full couple of days to take in some sights and get some more photos. Yes, I'm digging the firm's travel agent for getting all that taken care of for me.
I'm also digging my massage therapist. I had my usual appointment with her last night, but it was this morning before I realized I had forgotten my eyeglasses at her office. Now, I can function without my glasses, my eyesight isn't quite that bad, but it can lead to a few headaches. I left a voice mail for her this morning. she called back to let me know that she had my glasses, but no one would be in the office past 2 this afternoon. Since she assumed I wouldn't be able to get out of the office to get them, she asked if there was somewhere in the neighborhood she could drop them for me. Since her office is only about a quarter mile from my house, she agreed to take them by and leave them on the front porch for me, and sure enough when we got home, there they were. I already thought she rocked, but for going above and beyond like this, I can't even describe the customer loyalty she has from me.
Oh and yes, in true networking/friendship/appreciation/Manager Tools fashion, she'll be getting a hand-written note of thanks from me. This is one of those times when an email just wouldn't be personal enough. :)
I'm digging that there are only 2 days left in what has been a busy week, before we head up to Findlay, to "pick up" the in-laws, drive to Toledo and catch the train to Chicago for the weekend. Again, more good photo opportunities!
I'm digging that on Sept. 16, I'll be volunteering at the Friends of the Library book sale, along with a friend of ours, making good use of the time Angela will be away working the OSU game weekend in Seattle. And while I'm a little jealous, I'm digging that my wife has the chance to get a trip to Seattle.
I'll also be digging a few other trips in the coming months, some that Angela and I don't have finalized yet, some that she'll be taking without me, and maybe one I'll be taking without her. It going to be a busy couple of months, but I'm digging having so many fun things to look forward to!
Looks like the next workshop for Summation Certified Trainers is October 8-11, so I'll be in San Francisco that week. I'm sure the training will be intense, but hopefully I'll be able to get out and enjoy the city in the evenings. We had a good time when we were there for a few days back in March 2006, so it'd be really great to explore the areas we didn't get to on that trip. I may even see if I can take an extra day or two before heading back. We shall see!
I'm one step closer to getting this certification, but still many steps away. It's a rather complicated process. First you have to apply, which involves sending a copy of your resume, and filing out a form to show some familiarity with the software. Once that is accepted, you have to pass (80% or better) a pre-workshop exam, again to prove you know the software. You only get 2 attempts to pass the on-line exam. I passed that this morning, on the first try. :)
Next is actually getting a check cut and sent to them for the program fees. Once that's been processed I'll be given a copy of the stand-alone version of the software to train on for my own use and enrolled in a 4 day training workshop in either San Francisco or New York . At this point, I don't even know the dates for this, which is frustrating in terms of trying to plan any vacation time!
After the workshop, I'll then have 2 chances to pass 2 more exams, at which point I will then, finally, be certified!
It's a pretty thorough process, but I'm guessing that just makes the certification that much more valuable. I'll keep you posted on my progress!
Our firm has, apparently, decided that the two of us who are now involved in litigation support should also be certified in computer forensics, so that we can do that for our clients, and be able to defend our practices in court, without having to go to the expense of hiring a forensics expert from the outside. It's an interesting idea, in theory. We'll see how it works out in practice.
The question we have been tasked with right now, though, is finding the most credible and valuable certification to pursue, and to find the best forensic tool we should be working with.
So, since I know some of my readers either have these sorts of certifications, use these tools, or know someone who does, I figured I'd throw open the comments to your suggestions. Let's have it!
Luckily for me, the manager of our Litigation Support group will be pursuing the certification first. I'm going to be a little preoccupied pursuing the Summation Certified Trainer and Trial Director certifications this year, perhaps the forensics will come into play in early 2008. Either way, it's going to keep me pretty busy.
So my boss got the go ahead to order some training materials so that he and I can both become Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technicians. It's not exactly the certification that I've been dreaming about or anything, but if they're willing to fork up the money for self-paced training materials and testing fees, who am I to turn that down? Now we just have to figure out a way we can actually have time to work with the training materials, which will be difficult given the unpredictability of our work days.
Anyway, assuming I get some time to start this training up, I'm sure I'll be posting more about it, and I'd love to hear from anyone who's gotten this certification, and their impressions of it!