Education Planning – Leveraging the “Five W’s”

By Debi Hoefer, Director, Teradata Americas Education

First in a series about how customers can learn how to get the most value from Teradata.

I’m sure many of you have heard of the “Five W’s” – Who, What, Where, When, Why? The answers to these questions can be used for structured, straightforward information gathering. In this blog, I’ll explain how this technique can be used for collecting the details needed to plan Teradata education. Once you answer the “Five W’s,” you can create a blueprint for training.

Teradata Education Planning – Leveraging the Five Ws


The first question to ask, is Why? What is the reason the training is needed? Before attempting to answer any of the other “W’s,” it is imperative you understand the business reasons behind the training. The answer to this question serves as a foundation for the answers to the remaining “W’s.”

To illustrate this point, among the possible answers could be one or a combination of:

  • New project using a new technology – identify the technology products/tools in which new skill development is needed.
  • New team member(s) – identify the project(s) will they be assigned to, as well as technologies and tools used in each project.
  • Skills gap – this may be a bit tricky to identify, and usually manifests itself as poor performance or inefficient queries.


Okay, great! Now we understand why training is needed, and those reasons should drive the answer to the next “W,” Who? Who are the people to be trained? Do they have existing skill sets? Do they need deep technical skills or more general knowledge? Are they all in one location or around the world? Depending on the size of the group, you may want to informally collect information, or build a survey to gather data for larger groups.


Moving on to the next “W,” What? What training content will build their skills?

The Teradata education curriculum is organized by job role, which provides a discrete and clear training path for each audience. We use a five-role structure to classify job functions:

  • Database Administrator
  • Designer/Architect
  • Application Developer
  • Data Analyst
  • Business User

Our Teradata Education Consultants can assist at during this step of the process, or the Education Planning page on the Teradata Education Network website can be used as a guide.

One subject area that may need a bit more analysis is SQL. Teradata offers a variety of SQL courses, ranging from basic to advanced content. A very straightforward classification can be used for this part of the data gathering process:

  • No SQL Experience
  • Some Experience with SQL
  • SQL Veteran

Based on participants’ previous SQL experience, we can recommend the most appropriate course.


Now, we know why we’re doing training, who needs training, and what training they need. We almost have our blueprint. Now, we need to establish the education deployment plan. The answers to the last two “W’s,” Where and When, are used to determine how the training will be delivered, as well as the timing and format.

Where?, as in the training delivery format for each course in the blueprint, is next. Most training plans for new implementations or projects contain a mix of on-site and self-paced or virtual instructor-led training, based on the number of participants who require each course specified in the blueprint. In my next post I will talk more about virtual instructor-led classes.

If the course is self-paced or virtual instructor-led, we don’t need to explore further – “Where” can be any place around the globe with an internet connection. If on-site training is needed, class location can be determined by the geographical locations of the participants, convenience, cost implications, and classroom availability.


The final “W” is When? When is determined by various factors, such as:

  • When will work on the project need to commence?
  • When will the business need the training completed?
  • When are participants available?
  • When are Teradata public course offerings scheduled?
  • When is a classroom available in the planned location?

Although education planning for the implementation of a new technology may at first seem daunting, using the simple approach of the “Five W’s” will help you gather your data simply and methodically.

For more information on Teradata Education courses, and to learn more about our new subscription-based approach to training, visit Teradata Education.

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