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Picture this: You’ve just finished teaching an entry-level IT course. A student opens their microphone or raises their hand and asks you, “What’s next?” 

It is a question we get asked often, especially in the IT and security space. It’s an exhausting question as we’ve just finished a long class, and it is one that’s easy to brush off and leave to someone else to answer. We must be mindful as instructors that the “What’s Next?” question is a gift, not a burden. It is this question that can help shape not only the careers of our students, but also our own as well. There are literally hundreds of certifications out there in the IT space, and students will get conflicting information from Reddit, co-workers, and YouTube in the coming days and weeks after your class. However, not all of those lead directly back to you and your organization, and this one question of “What’s Next?” is the best opportunity you have to keep your students coming back for more. 

Recommending the “next class” can be a huge responsibility, however. This is why you need to have a plan and a path forward. Make sure you can recommend the next steps from basic to intermediate, to advanced, and even to specialized vendor certifications. Logical Operations includes a whole “What’s Next” section at the end of all of our courseware to give you and the students some ideas on how to continue along their journey. At the end of any class, you should always be prepared to show the next few classes/certifications your students should be looking to earn (bonus points if you can teach these as well, for your own income and job security). 

Don’t treat the end of the class question of “What’s Next?” as a burden, and instead prepare to answer it for any class that you teach. Logical Operations and CertNexus believe there is always more to learn, and so we provide some ideas in a “What’s Next” section at the end of every CHOICE manual. Your students will be more likely to return to take classes from you if you spend a few extra minutes at the end of your class to show them the path forward.

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