Based outside of Washington, DC, Spectrum Training Brokers is a centralized agent offering a single channel for purchasing computer and business skills training from hundreds of vendors nationwide. As an authorized training supplier of Red Hat, Spectrum has been offering Red Hat Training for over 6 years. Named Red Hat's Training Partner of the Quarter for Red Hat's fiscal fourth quarter of 2012 (December 2011 through February 2012), Spectrum had the highest sales and training bookings of any other North American Ready training partner. We recently chatted with Spectrum's Nat Emery to get his thoughts about today's training landscape today and where it may be headed tomorrow.

NOTE: The opinions, statements and other information included in this interview/blog are those of the author, and she/he is solely responsible for its content.

Who is getting trained these days?

The majority of my (personal) sector is government related. With the government mandating certifications for a lot of their contractors, that sector – federal contractors, federal government – is really making the investment and spending money on training. That's not to say private industry is not doing it. To me, the federal sector are the ones driving the need where professionals must have to maintain those levels of certifications to stay in those contracts, and are putting a lot more emphasis on training.

What are the most common reasons people are getting trained right now?

All of the training we're focused on has a direct connection to the project that (IT professionals) are working on. Employers want to make sure they're certified, want to make sure they're knowledgeable to complete their duties. It's project-directed, for sure, but what you're seeing comes back to the need or requirement for a certification in order to back that project-directed training. They're not just going to be putting warm bodies in positions without that (training or certification) under their belts.

Continuing with the trend you're talking about, what percent of your students are actively pursuing certifications?

Seventy percent I would say are doing it toward some goal of certification.

What do certifications today mean for career advancement and professional development?

Clearly it helps them be more marketable as individuals seeking employment or trying to advance within their current job rules. There's obviously the self-satisfaction level for that employee and what they're knowledge base is and that they're able to do that job. The only way to do that in the IT world is to have certifications, or multiple certifications, under their belt where they can clearly document their current knowledge base.

What skills are most critical to learn today? What types of courses are in the most demand?

Cyber security is obviously a very large and up-and-coming profession. Anything in the cloud-based environment.

How is cloud computing changing the way you operate and what you offer?

It's already changing how we run our company. We're pretty much 100-percent cloud-based now. There's a lot of great benefits to cloud computing, whether it's operational, pulling other people's content onto your site, security, the ability for us to be mobile and not be locked down so we can do our work through any kind of platform. As far as how we think it will change what we offer, we're already seeing a trend to a lot of cloud-based offerings in training that exist out there.

What other training trends do you see developing or changing in the next year or two?

Virtual training has become so easy to do from a technology perspective that the labs and the learning environment can essentially be mimicked from anywhere you are in the country and feel as though you're in that room.

Nat can be reached by phone at 703-757-8200 or via email at Learn more about Spectrum Training Brokers by visiting