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QuickStart vs. CBT Nuggets - Choose Wisely!
that IT professionals can take to advance in their careers by staying on the cutting edge of technology. But each has its unique characteristics that make it more useful in particular situations and environments. Here is a comprehensive review of the comparable features of these two successful platforms.
Origin Of The Companies
QuickStart was set up in 1999 as a provider of IT training. Over the years, it has expanded its scope to include virtual training, on-job training, and other methodologies such as peer learning and mentoring. Its flagship technology is called CLIPP which uses AI to offer customized learning solutions to clients. It has its headquarters in the US and a subsidiary office in Pakistan.
CBT Nuggets was also founded in 1999, the same year as QuickStart, and offered similar services. At that time, video cassettes that contained recorded classroom lectures were the dominant mode of training, but CBT Nuggets changed the trend by offering screencast videos that helped people learn how to operate systems on the computer in greater detail. Today, CBT Nuggets operates globally through its US and UK offices as well as a network of local partners in different countries.
When it comes to the number and quality of courses and IT certifications, QuickStart takes the lead hands down. Here is an explanation of the reasons.
QuickStart has been around for a longer time, so their course list is considerably more comprehensive. As of July 2019, QuickStart offers in excess of 1300 different courses covering 170+ new technologies. What makes this even more impressive is the fact that these courses are designed through partnerships with key IT companies like Cisco, Microsoft, ITIL, and CompTIA. QuickStart also offers customized courses according to the needs of different learners. Its courses are operated on the CLIPP technology that uses artificial intelligence to measure and predict learning needs more accurately.
As CBT Nuggets is a relatively new entrant in the market, its course list is limited to 200 courses, which cover different aspects of IT training such as security, cloud computing, and networking. Like QuickStart, CBT Nuggets courses are also developed through collaboration with companies like Microsoft and Cisco. The good thing about these courses is that even though they are limited in number, they have been organized into 5 distinct learning paths, which makes it convenient for the learner to progress in specialization from one level to the next.
Quality of Instructors
Even though both platforms offer a more or less equal number of trainers, CBT Nuggets offers more detail about their trainers, which gives it an edge over QuickStart.
Both QuickStart and CBT Nuggets claim to have a team of experienced and qualified instructors to deliver the courses to learners. On the official website, QuickStart claims to have more than 12 instructors who are certified in different areas of IT. Moreover, these instructors are said to have offered training to thousands of learners through QuickStart courses.
On the other hand, CBT Nuggets has a team of 13 trainers, whose profiles are clearly displayed on the company website along with their photograph and the number of courses they offer. This is an impressive wealth of information which helps the learner to assess the capability of the instructors delivering the courses. Some of the names include Ben Finkel, Bart Castle, and Keith Barker, who delivers 93 different courses on CBT Nuggets.
The course materials and infrastructure that is offered to the learners have a strong impact on which learning management system is perceived more positively by them. None of the two companies offers any theoretical material or course materials for any of their courses. However, they do offer virtual lab access to their learners, which is almost more of a staple for most IT training courses nowadays.
QuickStart offers access to a virtual lab for its Microsoft, CompTIA, Cisco, and NetApp courses. These labs help learners to practice critical skills independently without having to use their own resources. These labs function in real-time and offer an environment that facilitates direct hands-on learning. The lab can be easily accessed from each learner’s dashboard by entering their id and password. The lab can be launched by clicking a button and viewing the content.
Likewise, CBT Nuggets also offers a virtual lab to its learners for specific courses. The lab is accessed in much the same way as for QuickStart, which makes both systems pretty similar. However, due to the limited number of courses, there are fewer such courses that CBT Nuggets offers with the virtual lab environment.
Course Delivery Options
Course delivery refers to the options that users have to access the learning relevant to their needs. The more options that are available, the more convenient it is for learners. As explained in detail below, QuickStart offers more course delivery options than CBT Nuggets, which puts it at an advantage in the market. At the same time, CBT Nuggets offers streamlined and focused training paths to develop skills in 6 different IT careers.
QuickStart offers different course delivery options to facilitate learners. The first of these options is the virtual classroom, which includes an instructor-led class where the lecture is delivered live using the Zoom platform. The learner is sent a web link which they can use to access Zoom and join the live training session.
The second option is the self-paced course delivery. In this option, the learner is provided access to the course dashboard from where they can access pre-recorded sessions and learn at their own pace.
All the available courses by QuickStart are organized by function and technology, and these are further grouped into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.
CBT Nuggets, on the other hand, offers limited course delivery options. While it does not offer virtual classrooms or live instructor-led sessions, it does offer a wide variety of on-demand training videos, similar to QuickStart’s second option. The videos are recorded at an average duration of 10 minutes, which means that busy employees do not need to allocate a significant chunk of their time to invest in their training. There are thousands of such IT training videos that CBT Nuggets subscribers can access and watch on their own time. CBT Nuggets, however, also offers its own mobile apps that learners can download on their phones and access training videos on the go.
CBT Nuggets groups its courses into 5 career paths, namely network administration and engineering, systems administration and engineering, programming and development, DevOps, workforce training and project management. There is further segregation of courses by difficulty or complexity into an entry, intermediate and advanced levels. While this makes it easier for students to move from start to end within a field of specialization, it also offers learners to opt for individual courses according to their current skill and knowledge level in the subject area.
For a learning management system, it is critical that the quality of content is constantly monitored and improvements are made continuously to the IT certifications. In this aspect, CBT Nuggets seems to be performing better as it has a mechanism in place to improve its courses all the time.
CBT Nuggets uses a 5-point rating mechanism through which it collects feedback from users on each video. Moreover, metrics are gathered regularly to learn which videos are attracting more users than others. The lowest acceptable rating is 4.5 out of 5, which means that all videos rated lower are reviewed for possible improvement.
Unfortunately, QuickStart does not have a similar mechanism in place, which might prevent it from ensuring that its content reflects the latest technology and skills available in the market.
In terms of course pricing, QuickStart offers better value to its customers because of a more competitive monthly pricing option and also because of the free Lite program. Both companies, however, offer a one-week free trial period.
In terms of pricing, both QuickStart and CBT Nuggets offer a free subscription period. CBT Nuggets offers a 1-week free trial not only for individual learners but for an entire team. However, this is limited to a maximum number of 10 learners. The monthly fee after the expiration of the trial period is USD 59.00 plus taxes. A 15% discount is also available if an annual subscription plan is purchased.
QuickStart offers separate free trial periods for individual and team learning. Each trial period is for 7 days after which the monthly fee is USD 40.00 under the Learn plan and USD 2000 per year under the Master plan. However, the best part is the Lite plan which is completely free and which gives the learner access to more than 700 self-paced courses on different IT training topics.
Payment And Returns Policy
When it comes to payments and returns, QuickStart offers support for debit and credit card payments, whereas CBT Nuggets does not. However, CBT Nuggets offers better support on PayPal, making it easier to process payments. Neither company offers free returns, which is a big minus.
Promotions And Discount Offers
For starters, QuickStart and CBT Nuggets offer IT training features and are highly rated by users in the industry. A general comparison of both systems shows that while QuickStart offers more regular promotional offers and discounts, which makes it convenient for potential customers to buy the software whenever the latest offers are running.
Customers expect some kind of assurance from the company that gives them the confidence that their investment is secured. For a learning management system, the investment of money and time makes it all the more important for the systems to offer some kind of guarantee. By far, QuickStart offers more robust guarantees to its learners than CBT Nuggets.
QuickStart offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee to their customers, including a money-back guarantee and a full refund if learners are not satisfied. Another guarantee is the version upgrade guarantee, which means that learners are offered a discount on any course if the underlying technology is upgraded while the course is in progress. Students are also guaranteed free retakes of paid courses within a year of the first payment provided that seats are available. Furthermore, if the company fails to provide any course to the learner, the complete refund is made to them.
On the other hand, CBT Nuggets does not offer any kind of guarantee, which makes it challenging for learners, especially new ones, to develop trust in the company’s training programs.
Customer Service Quality
In terms of customer support, neither of the companies emerges as a shining star. Both companies do not offer any kind of customer support on social media or any kind of pricing details. However, QuickStart offers some convenience in the form of a money-back guarantee that CBT Nuggets does not offer. However, CBT makes its contact information more readily accessible which makes things more convenient for customers.
Safety And Data Security Features
For any IT training platform, safety and security is a major concern to protect the privacy of the user. Learners accessing the system from their company connection need to be assured that their systems are secure, and their data is safe. Thankfully, both companies offer adequate protection in this area. Moreover, QuickStart also offers an affiliate program that can make the platform more widely available through a network of affiliate partners.
On most of the aspects that are discussed above, QuickStart comes across as a more viable and competent alternative over CBT Nuggets. Given that CBT Nuggets is pursuing a more focused strategy and greater flexibility in its offerings, QuickStart offers greater diversity and appeals to a larger segment of the market. It is also more cost-competitive in terms of its pricing plans and refund policy. Individual learners, as well as companies, are more likely to invest their money and time in a company that offers a greater variety of training programs than one that has a narrower focus.