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From Wes Wannemacher <w...@wantii.com>
Subject Re: Training
Date Sun, 07 Jun 2009 17:12:34 GMT
On Sunday 07 June 2009 09:24:20 am stanlick@gmail.com wrote:
> Hey Wes and all --
>
> I have thinking about the Wes training thread and would like to get your
> feedback.  Do you guys think training can continue to cost what it has
> historically?  The reason I ask is that I too have considered dropping down
> a gear and doing training for a living.  However, I get the feeling that
> techies now expect training to cost exactly what their software cost -
> *nothing!*  Open source training if you will.  Are you getting this
> impression?  When I mentioned online training in my follow-up to your
> thread, I had no idea folks were going to say "yeah, and it should also be
> free!"  I'm seeing the tide switch and curious to get your take.  I have
> considered training & support the avenue to picking up some coin relative
> to FOSS, and now I wonder if this too is expected to be free.
>
> P.S. You give em an inch and they want a mile
>
> Scott

This is where I have to put on my "business" hat and take off my engineer's 
hat for a minute. Personally, I can contribute to OSS simply because it makes 
economic sense for me. Being an independent (read, non-Fortune-100) developer, 
I can showcase my talents and make myself relevant in a scenario where karma 
and merit help you get ahead. Now, I don't directly get paid for contributing 
to Struts, but the karma and merit are the best form of advertising I've seen 
for the things I do. A few years ago I presented to a potential client a 
scenario where they could contract me, long-term, and I would help them to 
create a deliver a product that they had seen as pie-in-the-sky for a while. I 
couldn't quite make it work out. Last year, we re-visited the same scenario, 
but this time I came to the table with the same resume, but few line items 
added (the OSS projects I am now a contributor to). This closed the deal. 

I generally subscribe to the F/L OSS philosophy, but my kids have to eat too. 
Training, like a college education should be expensive, simply because there 
is more to it than classroom time. Materials should take a while to gather 
into a presentable format. Instructors should be experienced in the art of 
content delivery and the instructor should have some name recognition. 

These factors sort of brought me to the notion that I might be a good 
instructor. I have experience teaching, I taught at a community college for 
years. Add to that, I am one of the struts developers and you should have a 
compelling argument for choosing me as a trainer. Scott, you probably fall 
pretty close in line with my notion because you co-authored Struts 2 In Action 
and you have worked as a trainer in the past. 

What bugs me is that I searched online for struts training and found some 
things offered, but I had not heard of many of these companies. Not that I 
think these guys couldn't do a good job, but I think that people offering 
training should at least be a part of this community. I have one of those 
photographic memories :) so I would recognize names of people and companies if 
they were regular posters here or at dev@struts.a.o. I sort of feel like IT 
training is becoming like local dance and martial arts studios. Someone sees 
that there is a potential market and decides to exploit it by charging the 
market price for delivering sub-par quality material. 

I have been to training from both sides, one training where I ended up 
answering questions from the crowd (as a participant... yep, it was that bad). 
And I also attended a Sybase training once from one of the Sybase engineers. 
The Sybase training was worth every penny and then some. At the time, it was a 
training paid for by the company who employed me, but had I known the quality, 
I would have paid out of my own pocket since the material was relevant to what 
I was doing. (this was a 5-day training with the typical $5k price tag)

Personally, I think companies would approve training if they knew that they 
would be getting their money's worth. But, I also think that right now would 
be about as hard as it could get because budgets are so tight. I am not 
necessarily convinced that a low-price online training will work for me 
because I would have to procure the necessary equipment and software to create 
something presentable. I could just whip something together, but I personally 
am one of those guys that if I do something, I do it all-the-way or not at 
all. I feel like there are a few risks with the glue-together low-price 
modules of online training. 1. I think someone mentioned that taking a $35 
training would lead to more than a few relationships that start out like this, 
"hey, I paid for your [$35] beginner struts training, now you owe me and I 
need you to help me write a MacOS clone in Struts" I always feel like every 
relationship should be professional, so if I prefer to set the bar a little 
higher. It's not that money = professional, but having been in this industry a 
while, I'm sure many of you know that the best people to work for and with are 
the people who have a clue about the nature of our work. Anyone that would 
have said "clue" would be someone that knows that IT training costs what it 
costs. 2. Struts is a niche market. There are too many options for smaller 
quick projects. I would feel that the low-cost online training might work 
better for ASP, PHP or Rails. Most of the Struts projects I have seen are not 
get-it-out-quick and the developers are not ramped up quickly on Struts. 
Struts takes a certain amount of time to learn. Developers that haven't worked 
on a larger team on a mature project don't seem to appreciate Model 2 and the 
value of being able to utilize POJOs at the various layers. I think a lot of 
you may have encountered that person or candidate on your team that might have 
put something like struts on their resume because they took a training and 
when tasked with a real task  they fail miserably because they don't know 
quite what they claim. I wouldn't want myself associated with the training 
that fed that mentality. In a classroom, you can answer the questions and as a 
good instructor, pick up on someone's lack of fundamental understanding and 
work on that. 

To be honest Scott, I'm not convinced that being a trainer would work for me. 
Mostly because of my geographical location. I think I could do on-site 
trainings, but it's hard to market that sort of thing. It's a bit of a 
Catch-22, I don't know that companies would bring me in for the on-site 
training unless they could see testimonials of other trainings I had done. 
But, it's hard for me to get a classroom training going in Ohio. 

-Wes

-- 

Wes Wannemacher
Author - Struts 2 In Practice 
Includes coverage of Struts 2.1, Spring, JPA, JQuery, Sitemesh and more
http://www.manning.com/wannemacher


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