Spiceworks, which offers a free networking monitoring platform and social network for IT professionals, is pushing deeper into the education market. Specifically, Spiceworks University will host face-to-face training courses across 38 U.S. and European cities this fall. Key topics of discussion will include help desk services, inventory management and a fundamental overview of Spiceworks.

No doubt, the IT training and education market is crowded with competitors. And in some ways, Spiceworks' educational efforts are self-centric -- driving more IT administrators to use the free, advertising based Spiceworks cloud services platform.

Spiceworks positions itself as a social business network -- combining free network management, network monitoring and help desk software with a Facebook-like community of IT professionals. Many Spiceworks members use the system to discover, buy and manage technology, Spiceworks says.

But here's the interesting twist: While Spiceworks' business lives in the cloud, the company is promoting face-to-face educational sessions -- further proof that even in the virtual age, sometimes the deepest relationships require real-world handshakes.

Spiceworks Univerity's fall schedule includes:
  • Spiceworks 101: “Spiceworks Fundamentals”
  • Spiceworks 201: “Inventory Deep Dive”
  • Spiceworks 202: “Help Desk Deep Drive
Spiceworks is currently developing more classes centered around IT management as it relates to cloud management and virtualization. A an event schedule is available here.

Spiceworks has made multiple moves in 2011, launching an iPhone app for remote administration; raising $25 million in D funding to fuel growth; and adding a Request for Quote (RFQ) feature that links SMBs with managed service providers best suited to their needs.