Saturday, February 16, 2008

Why Training Camp Should Be Your Choice For Certification

Last year I attended the 9 day Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator bootcamp in Bushkill, PA hosted by Training Camp. Their facilities, training, instructors, and support people are the best in the business. They take care of you from the moment you arrive till the moment you depart. Like other training facilities out there, they offer a wide array of Microsoft, Cisco, Comptia, and Sun certifications, along with many others. But what sets the Training Camp apart from the others is the atmosphere, and the sincere goal to ensure you leave camp with your certifications.
How do they do that? Well, there's no magic bullet. It takes many layers to achieve this. First, the accommodations are first rate. I stayed in an efficiency apartment, basically. It was a resort villa, complete with a full kitchen (bigger than the one in my home), a great room with TV, fireplace, dining table, and a bathroom. And that's just the downstairs. The upstairs has a full bath and a good size bedroom with a TV. Not that you get to spend much time there, but when you leave the classroom, you can eat, and study in comfort, and sleep in peace.

Next, they provide for all meals except dinner. The classroom and instructor are available 24 hours a day. They keep a well stocked kitchen with a vast variety of quick and easy snack and meals, as well as your favorite junk food; that's brain food for us geeks.

or lunch we ate for free buffet at the resort restaurant. We did have to provide our own dinner, but they provided a shuttle to take us to the local grocery store twice a week to get things we needed. That way when we left class we had food in our room, we could make something quickly and resume studying.

In the classroom they have wireless internet access, so bring a laptop. You're gonna need it to copy over the work files for the homework and study time back in your room. Otherwise you may wind up staying at classroom till midnight to study.

The instructors are top rate. My instructor was not some guy that liked computers and took the tests; he had real world experience, and he was my age so he'd been around the block and back a few times. He understood how this technology worked, not only in the private sector, but for the government sector as well.

The training material has withstood the test of time, and is geared to provide the most effective means to both learn and pass the exams. The schedule is tight, and optimized to ensure all the relevant material is presented and absorbed before a student walks into the testing center. Because the instructors are so well versed in the material, students are immersed in constant review of the material, especially on the day of the exam, and right up until they walk to the testing center.

While the conventional wisdom is that bootcamps are considered short term learning, and that you won't retain much of what is presented, that simply isn't true. Someone, who at one time was very influential to my career, said that bootcamps were cheating, although he allowed training money to be spent on them. I guess it's subjective to how you best learn, but I disagree. Being 40 something, and having adult ADHD, I found it to be the best way for me to learn. I learned more in those 9 days, then I learned in all the 40 hour block classes I attended on the same subjects. In this forum I HAD TO LEARN IT, because I HAD TO PASS THE TEST. At the Training Camp, the instructors make sure you are confident you know the material and can pass before you leave the classroom and walk to the testing center. The biggest shot in the arm is when you pass that first test. You come back to class, and you say "bring it on!"

Here are some other reasons the Training Camp should be your choice for certification. The Training Camp is the only 3rd party vendor authorized to administer the CISSP exam. The Training Camp was founded in 1998, they're 10 years old. They have centers at all these locations:

United States:
Atlanta, GA,
Austin, TX
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Dallas, TX
Denver, CO
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Huntsville, AL
New York, NY
Orange County, CA
Orlando, FL
Philadelphia, PA
Pocono Mountains, PA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Scottsdale, AZ
Seattle, WA
Stamford, CT
Vienna, VA

Mississauga, ON
Ottawa, ON

They recently opened a State-of-the-Art New Facility in Vienna, VA . The New Location Represents Comprehensive, State-of-the-Art Training To Serve the Baltimore/Washington Metropolitan Area.

While I haven't attended another bootcamp, others I know have. Their experiences are not as positive, and they didn't get the full certification when they left. The primary goal of the bootcamp is to leave with your certification, period. Everything else is gravy.

Now don't miss understand me, I would much rather work with someone with a ton of experience and no certification, then someone with little experience and a certification any day of the week and all day Sunday. But the reality is that a certification, like a degree, is what gets your resume noticed. In the end it adds more chat-ching to your wallet.


John Crawford

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