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Webskills leap to challenge NT

The first faint signs of a fall in demand for Microsoft Windows NT training have emerged from the latest Computer Weekly Xtra! bimonthly survey - but the challenge to the top slot is coming not from Windows 2000 but from Web development, writes John Kavanagh.

NT 4.0 support and administration courses still lead the way by far, as they have since the survey started 20 months ago. But suppliers are now ranking them less often in their top five.

In the last two surveys Windows 2000 courses have been in third place in the Computer Weekly Xtra! top 10. This time they have slipped to number six.

Meanwhile there has been considerable movement elsewhere, notably with Java making the top 10 for the first time and Unix and Visual Basic both forging ahead. Linux training is just outside the top 10.

However, Web design and development courses are now in great demand, to the extent that there is a considerable gap between them, in second place, and the rest of the following pack. Macromedia's Dreamweaver, which registers for the first time this month, and Microsoft's Visual Interdev are grouped here together with general Web development courses.

"Our course on building an e-commerce Web site is the highest riser in our list - and all the courses just outside our top 10 are on the Web or e-commerce," says Learning Tree International manager Gillian Brand.

Bob Bradley, managing director of QA Training, agrees. "Internet training continues to grow, as is shown by the strong demand for our Web design course. Microsoft Frontpage training is also very popular."

Bradley also reports "exceptional growth" in demand for Java courses since January. His company is introducing more courses on Java topics in coming months.

New Horizons manager David Castle also points to growing demand for Internet and e-commerce design courses - but his biggest surprise is "an unprecedented flood of requests for Dreamweaver".

"We've doubled the number of classes offered, and some clients are even booking classes to run one after the other at their own location, to jump the queue," he says.

KnowledgePool director Paul Butler also mentions Dreamweaver, but he also sees Windows 2000 training as "a major requirement".

Lucy Ireland at NETg suggests that Windows 2000 will certainly become established as a popular training area and that perhaps it is still early days.

"The new features and overview courses are generating a huge amount of interest, indicating that people want to know what Windows 2000 will mean to them and to their organisation," she says.

Top 10 training topics

Topic   Position  
  Jun Apr Feb
NT 4.0 support/administration *1 1 1
Web site design/development 2 12 2
Visual Basic 3 10 14
Unix 4 15 8
Network basics 5 9 7
Windows 2000** 6 3 3
IT and project management 6 6 6
Microsoft SQL Server 7 8 5
Java 8 12 16
TCP/IP for NT 4.0 9 4 4

*Includes core technologies and enterprise technologies

** Includes deployment and support

Main sources: Aris, Key Training, KnowledgePool, Learning Tree International, NETg, New Horizons, and QA Training


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