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Courses and Training Thread, Bootcamp Impressions in Training and Courses; Hey all, I hope your respective summers' are going well I've approached the possibility of doing training using a bootcamp ...
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    Hey all,

    I hope your respective summers' are going well

    I've approached the possibility of doing training using a bootcamp (residential training) with my employer, they seem open to the idea, but it's worth noting that I've never done anything like it before.

    On a previous thread (MCSE + MCSA) - someone recommended FireBrand training, I've looked them up and have aimed for the MCSE 2003 course (14 days) in Devon.

    Alot of what has been said regarding bootcamp-style training is that it's very hard work and things come at you thick and fast.

    Aside from any recommendations for other training establishments (in the south west ideally), are there any hard-and-fast rules in regards to working out whether you could handle the kind of bootcamp training that Firebrand (and others) offer?

    I've tried the home-study route and that just didn't work for me personally, I think I'm one of those 'classes' type people - where in a class environment I can take it all in better.

    Any thoughts on this, from anyone who's done it, considering it etc... would be extremely helpful.

    Thanks

    Az

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azrael78 View Post
    Alot of what has been said regarding bootcamp-style training is that it's very hard work and things come at you thick and fast.
    Is this training for yourself, or for staff at the school? I suppose it depends on individual learning style, but I dislike bootcamp-style training. Surely the idea of a bootcamp-style course is that you memorise a particular "approved" way of doing things, as quickly as you can, and the main job of the trainer is to ensure you don't stray from the approved method. How useful this is depends on what you're learning - military practice depends on everyone working as a cog in a machine, but I can't see how that is going to translate well in to IT training. In IT practice if you don't know how to do something you can look it up on Google or read a manual, nothing blows up (mostly) if you take time figuring stuff out.

    --
    David Hicks

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    azrael78 (20th August 2009)

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    Why don't you see if the local colleges in your area do the MCSA/MCSA modules in the evening. That way you get the classroom learning in a suitable pace, rather than all in your face.

    To be honest, unless you're already doing all the tasks and more than what a MCSE is aimed, at all day every day. Then 14 days for 7 modules is too much too soon too fast. Considering that on average 1 module full time is a week, according to MS, plus the exams themselves are anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours (even if the 14 days didn't include the exams), I'd be sceptical on how much you'd learn.

    -Ken

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    azrael78 (20th August 2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Is this training for yourself, or for staff at the school? I suppose it depends on individual learning style, but I dislike bootcamp-style training. Surely the idea of a bootcamp-style course is that you memorise a particular "approved" way of doing things, as quickly as you can, and the main job of the trainer is to ensure you don't stray from the approved method. How useful this is depends on what you're learning - military practice depends on everyone working as a cog in a machine, but I can't see how that is going to translate well in to IT training. In IT practice if you don't know how to do something you can look it up on Google or read a manual, nothing blows up (mostly) if you take time figuring stuff out.

    --
    David Hicks
    This training is for myself. I've spent a good majority of my time doing what you describe, looking on google, manuals... basically any resources I can get my hands on to overcome problems or develop new solutions and such.

    Quote Originally Posted by wagnerk View Post
    Why don't you see if the local colleges in your area do the MCSA/MCSA modules in the evening. That way you get the classroom learning in a suitable pace, rather than all in your face.

    To be honest, unless you're already doing all the tasks and more than what a MCSE is aimed, at all day every day. Then 14 days for 7 modules is too much too soon too fast. Considering that on average 1 module full time is a week, according to MS, plus the exams themselves are anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours (even if the 14 days didn't include the exams), I'd be sceptical on how much you'd learn.

    -Ken
    On your first part Ken, that's an interesting idea - I hadn't considered it, unfortunately it's unlikely colleges in my area would do this as there isn't enough demand in the area. My only real choice here may be an open-college or university that may offer this - I will look into it further.

    As for what I do every day - it's hard to say, I wouldn't say I do all of what an MCSE does all day, every day - but does any potential MCSE? That's not to say I have zero experience, I've done what the MCSE entails - but it's not something I do all day, every day. Perhaps some parts of what I do are - most days... but I'd be hard pressed to say it's all day/every day.

    I can understand why you are sceptical - I am somewhat also. But I wanted information on it, whether that was people saying it's too much - too soon or whether people praised the idea or whatever, it's all good stuff and I appreciate the feedback.

    If MS say 1 module = 1 week full-time - How would I do this? I've tried home-study and that just didn't work for me, hence why I'm looking at bootcamp.

    Perhaps your suggestion about local colleges may well give me the balance I need - gives me the structure and input I need to progress, it's not as expensive or as rushed, but it gives you good preparation for the exams and you actually learn things at the same time.

    Any other thoughts or ideas are always welcome

    Az

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    bootcamp focuses on getting you to pass the exam at the minimal mark. I know 3 people who did CCNA and MCSE with firebrand and cant work a network to save there lives, whereas several people who did the course at a reasonable pace (IE in college or night school) have come through my place and been a massive success and I wish them the best.

    In short,

    bootcamp = good if you want the paper, but bad if you want the knowledge
    night school / open uni = good if you want the paper, good if you want the knowledge as it has more time to absorb.

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    azrael78 (20th August 2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    bootcamp focuses on getting you to pass the exam at the minimal mark. I know 3 people who did CCNA and MCSE with firebrand and cant work a network to save there lives, whereas several people who did the course at a reasonable pace (IE in college or night school) have come through my place and been a massive success and I wish them the best.

    In short,

    bootcamp = good if you want the paper, but bad if you want the knowledge
    night school / open uni = good if you want the paper, good if you want the knowledge as it has more time to absorb.
    Now this is what I was wondering...

    As for myself personally - I want the paper, however - that doesn't mean I know everything in the MCSE.

    I can do what I need to do for my job quite easily. I know the MCSE would certainly give my CV a good shot in the arm and would help my overall confidence - but I'm also wary of being a 'paper MCSE'... I want to be able to actually DO at least 60% of what I'm certified to do.

    Maybe I'm being too 'hopeful' - I'm in a bit of a situation (like many) with the recession, I need to plan ahead and my current qualifications just won't cut any potential career move, to say nothing about if I face redundancy. (There have been no indications, but I prefer to be cautious)

    In short - I want my cake and to eat it.
    I want the paper AND the knowledge.

    The problem I have is - no local colleges offer the MCSE modules, even local universities don't.
    I don't drive a car so it's not like I can easily go from work to school and back home again quickly or cheaply.

    It's why the bootcamp looks like a seemingly 'ideal' option - would there be a way to do the bootcamp, get the paper and then strengthen the paper with actually going over the MCSE again by yourself?

    (Sorry if this all sounds jumbled - long day and I'm trying to look ahead about something I've never experienced or undertaken before)

    I appreciate all the advice and words of wisdom - please, keep them coming

    Az

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    you could do the bootcamp then re-enforce it with home learning, but why learn twice? I believe that the Open university do the course online so you can learn at your own pace (provided you do the whole thing within the time frame), or you could do some home distance learning (like the armed forces do). Perhaps that could be an option?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    you could do the bootcamp then re-enforce it with home learning, but why learn twice? I believe that the Open university do the course online so you can learn at your own pace (provided you do the whole thing within the time frame), or you could do some home distance learning (like the armed forces do). Perhaps that could be an option?
    I think it needs to be classroom based for me, not that I have anything against your suggestions but I need to think about what works for me. I know for a fact - sitting reading a book and generally trying to 'soak' the information doesn't work for me. If I had a specific problem to solve or task, then that would work. I need the structure and assistance that a classroom environment should provide.

    Not to mention - I normally don't have access to anyone more knowledgeable in IT than myself, certainly not at home or where I work. With the exception of this forum though

    I'm slowly forming ideas in my head that will help me decide the best course of action - I think I need to talk to someone who has done the MCSE and can give me a quick guide as to "here is what you will learn" against what I actually DO on a day to day basis. It may be that the MCSE is indeed too much at my current level, that perhaps the MCSA may be more suited.

    I also need to talk to people who have done the bootcamps and can give me an idea of what's in store. I also need to do some more thorough research into local colleges or universities that may offer the MCSE modules. A reasonably quick net-search didn't pull up anything, but it may not be the sort of thing they advertise a great deal.

    At the moment, I'm leaning toward the bootcamp + task-based home learning - granted I may be learning twice, but as was pointed out - bootcamp = good for paper, not so good for knowledge.

    It's all confusing for me though at the moment. I've wanted to do the MCSA and MCSE for some time but it's either been funding or time or motivation - not all in the right place at the right time.

    Silly question - but do the MCSA and/or MCSE really enhance your career opportunities or are they simply 'nice to have' because HR look for them? Would something like MCITP System Administrator be more beneficial? (That's basically MCSA 2008 from what I read)

    Az

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    Quote Originally Posted by azrael78 View Post
    ...If MS say 1 module = 1 week full-time - How would I do this? I've tried home-study and that just didn't work for me, hence why I'm looking at bootcamp...
    That's actually a full time course - a boot camp is you so will. I mean apart from giving you the answers to the exam, I can't see them reducing 5 full days of training into 2 per module. I've taught up to MCSE at our local college and (for the most part, as it is very dependent on the module) everyone, including myself feel that the MS time frames aren't long enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by azrael78
    Silly question - but do the MCSA and/or MCSE really enhance your career opportunities or are they simply 'nice to have' because HR look for them? Would something like MCITP System Administrator be more beneficial? (That's basically MCSA 2008 from what I read)
    Both, it really depends on the organisation unfortunately.

    However it's not the qualification alone that enhances the career, but the experience that goes along with it. Professional certifications are there to reflect your job role and responsibilities, there is a growing number of IT/hiring managers that will disregard these higher certs if the experience does not reflect it.

    I agree with what nephilim has stated.

    -Ken

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    Quote Originally Posted by wagnerk View Post
    Both, it really depends on the organisation unfortunately.

    However it's not the qualification alone that enhances the career, but the experience that goes along with it. Professional certifications are there to reflect your job role and responsibilities, there is a growing number of IT/hiring managers that will disregard these higher certs if the experience does not reflect it.

    I agree with what nephilim has stated.

    -Ken
    Fortunately, my experience may not be 100% bang-on MCSE level, it's not far off - I've got plenty of experience (not in commercial IT environments, but in education) and I can back that experience up with actually knowing what I'm on about most of the time.

    A question my boss posed was that if you have to be doing the job of an MCSE to be able to take the MCSE course - then how would those of us do it who don't do the job of an MCSE day in/day out?

    He's also stated that as my employer, he would be able to put together a much better case for funding with the MCSE, as opposed to the MCSA - in light of my job role, what I've done and what I do on a daily basis.

    I'm not trying to argue with anyone tho - ultimately I'm grateful for the advice given and I do appreciate it.

    Az

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    Quote Originally Posted by azrael78 View Post
    Fortunately, my experience may not be 100% bang-on MCSE level, it's not far off - I've got plenty of experience (not in commercial IT environments, but in education) and I can back that experience up with actually knowing what I'm on about most of the time.

    A question my boss posed was that if you have to be doing the job of an MCSE to be able to take the MCSE course - then how would those of us do it who don't do the job of an MCSE day in/day out?

    He's also stated that as my employer, he would be able to put together a much better case for funding with the MCSE, as opposed to the MCSA - in light of my job role, what I've done and what I do on a daily basis.

    I'm not trying to argue with anyone tho - ultimately I'm grateful for the advice given and I do appreciate it.

    Az
    I'm not trying to argue also, and I'm not trying to single out anyone. But I am speaking generally (not about going for the MCSE) about going for a fast-track bootcamp style course that says "get your MCSE in 14 days".

    You may want to pop round to Certforums, a forum that specifically deals with certifications if you want a wider view.

    And as to what your boss says... The people who go for these types of courses, who don't do the job, shouldn't go for it in the first place. I mean I would not do the 1 day course "C&G 2382-20 17th Edition update for Electrical Installation" instead of the 3 week full course and be classed as an Electrician. Or take only the theory test and say that I can drive, so why should IT be any different.

    After all the main topic of your thread was "Bootcamp Impressions", not "if you should go for the MCSE or not". I would say to go for the MCSE, whichever way you feel comfortable with, the above views like I said were for the "fast-track bootcamp style courses".

    Catch you later mate

    -Ken

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    I've been on a Firebrand training camp (Near chipping norton) when I did my Linux LPI training. It was hard work but very good for me as there are too many distractions at home, a 2 yr old being one of them :-)

    They did pack a lot in the 7 days & they were long days, start at 8.30, finish @ 6.30 then a couple of chapters to read for the next day.

    I think I'd do it again if I could but is expensive

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    Quote Originally Posted by wagnerk View Post
    After all the main topic of your thread was "Bootcamp Impressions", not "if you should go for the MCSE or not". I would say to go for the MCSE, whichever way you feel comfortable with, the above views like I said were for the "fast-track bootcamp style courses".

    Catch you later mate

    -Ken
    Absolutely right... bleh... kinda got a bit off-topic there didn't I?

    I can perfectly see your point regarding the MCSE - the problem is I'm in a rather sticky situation in terms of career progression (or lack thereof).

    It's all good though, what will be - will be.

    Az

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    Quote Originally Posted by clodhopper View Post
    I've been on a Firebrand training camp (Near chipping norton) when I did my Linux LPI training. It was hard work but very good for me as there are too many distractions at home, a 2 yr old being one of them :-)

    They did pack a lot in the 7 days & they were long days, start at 8.30, finish @ 6.30 then a couple of chapters to read for the next day.

    I think I'd do it again if I could but is expensive

    That's not a long day..

    When I did my MCSA on a bootcamp, we were in the classroom from about 8.30am until midnight most days... Basically, it was two days classroom, then exam, then back to the class. It was extremely tiring, but it does teach you how to pass a MS Exam. I already knew most of it, but learning the MS way to do things most definately helped in the exams.

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