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Keeping up with technology means having your skills buffed to a high shine. SQLSoft has the electronic chamois ready.

Keeping up with technology means having your skills buffed to a high shine. With training available in numerous locations, including Seattle, SQLSoft has the electronic chamois ready. President Steve Brugger chats about technology shifts, skill assessments, and new sinks.

Why do you feel there’s a need for what you provide?

As long as there are changes in technology there will always be a need for training. The format of the training may change but professional software developers and IT professionals understand that their skill sets age rapidly. They need regular training to keep themselves marketable in a global economy.

In a more immediate sense, all the platitudes you hear about the pace of change increasing are true. And now companies are starting to realize that it’s not enough to manage change, you have to manage change more efficiently than the competition.

Change management is becoming a core IT skill and there are few places to turn to where change management and IT technical skills are successfully integrated. If anything, the need for the services we provide is becoming more and more critical.

How did the company come to be the first to be certified by Microsoft to use its software assessment tool and process?

SQLSoft has always positioned itself at the forefront of technology with an eye towards future. We’ve actually been beating the skills assessments drum since the late 1990’s so when we learned that Microsoft was going to be investing in skills assessments, we were all over it. Our heads were already wrapped around the process, so we just needed to learn a new tool. We hosted the first training class on the Microsoft tool and we haven’t looked back.

What are some of the challenges you face as a company?

Like a lot of businesses in the technology field, the post dot-com era has been tough. A lot of companies see training as something that can be easily cut when budgets are rolled back. The worst of it seems to be behind us and we’ve come out the other side a stronger company with fewer competitors. We’re also a lot more efficient with a bunch of automated business practices.

Organizations are realizing that technology is a core component of their business processes that must be managed rather than just installed like a new sink.

That has led to even more focus on an organization’s IT investments, which includes their IT staff, whether in-house or outsourced. We’ve seen this coming and have really invested in tools that allow our customers to manage and measure what we refer to as their human supply chain.

In addition, technology advances continue to broaden the availability of training in other formats such as online. We’re also seeing colleges and university making efforts to introduce commercial software skills into their curriculum. On the infrastructure and delivery side of IT training, instructor-led, classroom delivery is still the most effective vehicle in terms of student information retention.

But as the technology improves and best practices are identified, blended solutions, combining instructor-led and some component of online delivery are becoming much more viable. SQLSoft+ has been involved in blended delivery solutions since 1995, so we have quite a bit of experience in this area, but it’s still an immature area with an evolving business model.

What do you like best about what you do?

I guess I’m a bit of a change junkie. Personal computers and their use at home and in business have had a profound effect on societies throughout the world. It’s fun to work near the epicenter, doing something that helps people thrive on that change.

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