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Firebrand Training

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by BosonMichael, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    While Firebrand-Robert is around, I thought it would be a good time to pick his brain and have him address concerns that have been voiced about his company. Plus, he didn't answer one of the questions I asked him, for which I am genuinely curious.

    There are mixed reviews on this very forum - some positive reviews from people I respect, and some negative reviews from people I respect. Considering I'm in the US, I have no dog in this fight... but I would like to hear the other side of the story... or at least, make Robert aware of the complaints or concerns that exist so he can address them in the future.

    I applaud you for not resorting to those practices, Robert.

    I see a post here from an individual (not a company) complaining about a pushy salesperson... that said, I understand that a training company does have to take SOME action to sell their services. I simply bring the post to your attention.

    Sounds good - much like one of the training centers here does.

    Sounds pretty intense. But you didn't answer my question: what materials do you use to train them?

    I don't doubt that you give 180 hours of intense training. All I said was that the 70-270 MOCs require anywhere from 40-64 hours of classroom training. Multiply even the smallest number of hours by 7 exams, and that's 280 hours. If you provide less than that number of hours, that's fine... I simply wanted to give you the ability to state to the forum what methods you use to provide the training they need. Simply saying you give 180 hours of training to push students through 7 exams doesn't tell anyone what methods you use. If you use third-party training materials as this post indicates, or training materials that you develop as this post indicates, that's fine... just want to give you an opportunity to state what materials you use to train people.

    A couple of posts have stated that your instructors furnish braindumps: here and here. This may be a practice that you guys frown upon, and if so, that's great - we'd be glad to hear it. Just know that there may be instructors there at Firebrand, either now or in the past, who engaged in that practice.

    In Firebrand's defense, I will point out that this post states that he was provided no braindumps. So I do not mean to allege that Firebrand endorses the practice of distributing braindumps... merely that there may be one or more instructors who do. Which, in and of itself, isn't damning... the instructor may simply not know what a braindump is (though, they should), believing it to instead be a legitimate training tool. If that is the case, I would recommend that you ask your instructors to use CertGuard's Search Tool to determine whether the material they are providing your students is legit or not.

    I've got nothing against training providers. I simply advise that prospective students go into a TP relationship with both eyes open, after doing their research, and with the all the information laid before them. I hope this thread helps shed some light on things - hopefully Robert will see this post and respond.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  2. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Firebrand???? LMAO... I speak from experience, having used them once. I wanted to escalate my complaint to the directors, and was told that I couldn't as they don't get involved with that sort of thing. Great customer service, eh? Tutor using his phone in the classroom, his offhand manner with certain students, FB own brand materials that fell apart, and the fact that the tutor was supposed to be available until late evening but disappeared as soon as the lesson ended. Then some derisory 'offer' to compensate me... a percentage off the next course I'd take with them. Let me see... two chances of that Robert. Bob Hope and No Hope.

    PS: I will reiterate... no BDs were offered, and the tutor actually knew his stuff. He just didn't want to be there, and as far as I am concerned, Firebrand paid lipservice to complaints. They were happy to take my money, and the money of other people on the course... but didn't lift a finger to properly compensate when they knew there were issues.
     
  3. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    I have taken a course with Firebrand (or 'Training Camp' as they were then). It was useful to me - but there is no way i would have paid for it myself (it was bloody expensive!). My course was a 5 day intensive one for a single exam (an easy exam at that) and I spent 14 hours a day either at lectures or studying. On top of this, I had two years' experience in the discipline prior to attending the course.

    As someone who is good at their job, has been doing it for nearly ten years, absolutely loves it, and has taken both classroom courses with another Training Provider and undertaken self-study to pass certifications I can categorically, honestly state that unless you have a good three years' experience in implementing and managing large-scale, multi-domain/forest and multi-site Microsoft networks you have as much chance of legitimately passing seven exams for an MCSE certification in fourteen days as Charlton Athletic have of winning the Champions' League this season.

    There doesn't need to be a discussion about this - either from the 'self study is the way to go' brigade, or from the Training Providers themselves or their shills.

    It
    Simply
    Isn't
    Possible

    Anybody trying to convince you otherwise is taking the **** out of you.

    Now I'm not coming down like a ton of bricks here on someone for the sake of it - Training Providers in general are a nasty bunch and, of the ones I have used, Firebrand/Training Camp were certainly amongst the best. Their instructor was great - very knowledgable, personable and helpful in aiding you cutting through all the bull**** on the syllabus for the course I studied. However, all of them - even the good ones - do not have your interests at heart. They are only interested in your money at the end of the day.

    I don't think anyone on this forum is against Training Providers per se. Most people who have stuck around will tell you that they don't believe the concept of Training Providers charging exorbitant sums of money for a course to be inherently wrong. Indeed, many people can only pass exams when they have their attention focused on the fact that they have just shelled out some wedge, so better make the most of it and use it to get a cert at the end of the course.

    What IS undeniably, irrevocably and bordering on criminally wrong is taking vast sums of money from people who have absolutely no clue about IT and conning them into thinking they will be earning 35 grand a year within six months of passing their MCSE.

    Richard - your company does this, along with every single other training provider out there. Don't attempt to deny it - its a fact. The Training Provider industry is largely to blame for their being a shedload of dolts out there who wouldn't know a domain from a workgroup wandering around clutching bits of paper in their hand that say they are as qualified to work on a Fortune 500 company's infrastructure as I am.

    When Firebrand introduces an entrance exam for its candidates that is aimed at weeding out people who have the requisite experience necessary to pass an MCSE in 14 days, then I'll take notice of them as being substantially 'different' from all the others.
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  4. Firebrand-Robert

    Firebrand-Robert Bit Poster

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    GiddyG please tell me which course you went on and the date of it and some way of me identifying who you are in our CRM system ( ie your real initials, town you live in etc. ) and I will investigate your complaint.

    This is not how we are supposed to behave and I certainly don't condone it so will investigate immediately once I have this detail.
     
  5. Firebrand-Robert

    Firebrand-Robert Bit Poster

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    In response to some of BosonMichaels questions we use a range of materials depending on the course - given the portfolio of Microsoft courses alone we offer there isn't "one answer". But all courses use a combination of MOC and Microsoft Press with Firebrand materials drawn from this content, sometimes as custom MOC's printed for us by Microsoft or using our own printers. Some of the reasons what we do works is down to our ability to remove duplicate content from MOC courses because we know we are teaching a number of modules together. For instance on an MCSE that could have AD design and administration courses as two of the 7 exams there is a great deal of overlap between them which we only need to teach once. Equally the MOC's are designed to be taught in a series of lecture/practicals throughout the day. This format actually slows the flow down. We lecture in the morning and then generally speaking do labs in the afternoon. This has the effect of allowing us to cover all the material faster.

    Again if someone can provide specific examples of an instructor using braindumps on our courses I will investigate this immediatly as this is not part of our model at all. All our instructors are monitored continously directly through observation and also through our extensive feedback forms. Couple this with our facility being a self contained environment of accomodation, classrooms and the operational staff I don't see how an instuctor could use braindumps and not get caught.
     
  6. Firebrand-Robert

    Firebrand-Robert Bit Poster

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    Zebulebu - as this statement is a fact can you please provide the evidence in relationship to Firebrand as we absolutely and categorically believe we do not do this. Simply for the reason that the disruption class is massive if there is someone in it that is out of their depth. It's better business for us to turn a student away than take their money and then have them sat next to 12 other students who know their stuff but are constantly dragged down by a student that is drowning. Our model just can not work with "rookies" in the classroom.

    But given you say it's a fact please please provide the evidence so I can investigate and stamp this out.
     
  7. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    I must take the time to applaud Firebrand-Robert

    CF can indeed be a little hostile towards TPs due to the strong opinions of some of our members, that said, you seem to of stuck it out so far and responded to criticism.

    To be here representing your company, and potentially dealing with the complaints and comments that turn up on a forum in a professional manner speaks highly of your attitude, many TPs come on here screaming about how its all lies and how there company is awesome etc etc.

    I hope we can hear positive feedback from the members who have been disappointed by your company in the past as you address their concerns, this would again highlight a certain degree of morality in your company, something TPs tend to lack in the larger scheme of things these days.

    I hope you stick around
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, VCP
    WIP: > 0
  8. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    According to one of the users I linked to, it was done with the knowledge and "wink-and-smile" assent of senior management. I'm not saying that that's what actually happened, as I'm merely relating the story as it was stated in the forum post. But if that IS what happened, then it would be easy for an instructor to use braindumps and not "get caught".

    I would recommend that you e-mail the users I linked to in my post, above. Just click their user name and click "Send e-mail to username". If that option isn't available, the best you can do is to send a private message to them (by clicking "Send a private message to username".

    I hope that you are able to weed out any bad instructors (or bad management!), if any remain... or at the very least, provide your instructors training on what is legit and what isn't. I would recommend that you provide that CertGuard link to ALL of your instructors, just in case. Couldn't hurt, and it just might help! :)

    Thank you for answering these questions. I guarantee you, increased dialogue between your TP and these forum members **will** help you to realize and address the concerns that many techs have regarding TPs. Stick around! If Firebrand IS one of the good ones, it can only help your company.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  9. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Robert,

    I have PMed you.

    Giddy


    PS: I echo what Ryan and Michael have said above. It's nice to see you prepared to take the criticism and look to investigate issues.
     
  10. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    I was debating whether or not to reply to this, as whatever I say you'll accuse me of being anti-TP - irrespective of what I've posted about the subject on many different occasions, on various threads.

    The simple fact of the matter is that, unless you make prospective MCSE students undertake extensive testing to vet them prior to taking one of your '14 day MCSE' courses, you cannot possibly know that they satisfy the key requirements of being a 'legitimate' MCSE (years of implementing and administering complex multi site, domain, subnet and forest environments). You know, I know and everybody else knows that the main prerequisite of any candidate on any MCSE course anywhere in the world is the ability to not bounce their cheque. Like I said earlier, I'm not necessarily against that - I'm not naive enough to think that there is any decent way of ensuring people are not stupid enough to believe sales patter, nor am I silly enough to think that said people will not do anything they can to pass their exams once they have paid out for them and found said sales patter to be bobbins (including cheating).

    What I DO find inconceivable, is that, whilst somebody from one of these Training providers is perfectly entitled to defend their position in any manner they deem fit, you can state that you don't knowingly take money from people who have no business being in your classrooms on an 'accelerated learning' course. To take my example, I took the CEH course last year with your company and, whilst I was extremely impressed with the instructor, there were at least five people on that course who knew as much about IT Security as I know about rocket science. Less so in fact - at least I know what a rocket [Uis[/U], what it does and what it looks like. You say you have 'no rookies' in the classroom? Then how do you reconcile that with the fact that, on a course designed to instruct people on how to combat hackers, as my CEH course was, five of these 'non-rookies' didn't know the difference between a stateful and stateless firewall? Bear in mind - this is the CEH we're talking about - not rocket science. If you spent five minutes with ANY of those people (who had paid around two grand each) you would know that they would gain nothing from the course, and have no chance of passing the exam at the end of it without using the braindumps that were being freely passed round.

    When I was at the Training Camp I saw several 'students' on the MCSE course openly passing round braindumps that they were extremely candid about stating had been obtained from their instructor (using the old 'nod and a wink' approach referred to earlier in this thread). Do I have 'proof' of this? No - but then again, I don't need to prove it. My proof comes from the knowledge that, having spoken to two or three of these people, I instantly knew that they had zero chance of legitimately passing even one MCP in the fortnight they were there - let alone seven of them. You see, having spent the best part of ten years in this industry, and seen my certifications become about as valuable to me as so much toilet paper because of TPs, I can spot a bull****ter a mile off.

    Once again, I hasten to add here for anyone else who may read this - this is NOT a rant about Firebrand Training at all. Far from it - as stated above, the course I did take with them, though expensive, was well-run, with an instuctor who knew his subject well and managed to skilfully avoid spending valuable classroom hours talking to the dolts who shouldn't have been there. I am merely trying to point out the pointlessness of anyone attempting to legitimise a 14-day MCSE course. Lest anyone doubt this, I might point out that it took me almost a year of studying to pass every MCP on my MCSE legitimately. I reckon that I could probably have passed maybe three MCPs legitimately at a push studying for 14 hours a day solid for two weeks.

    Accelerated learning DOES have its place. I believe that, for people who are already familiar with most, if not all of the concepts covered by a particular exam, a week's worth of cramming - with helpful guidance from instructors on what sort of questions to expect in the exam, assistance in focusing on the areas that are most likely to be heavily covered in an environment with little or no distractions from meatspace to contend with, it is arguably more beneficial than a 'regular' classroom course. For the MCSE, however, its basically impossible for anyone who doesn't already live, eat and breathe the stuff all day long to pass legitimately, and there just aren''t enough people in the world to make closing such a course off so that it is open only to those people a viable business model.
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  11. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Well said Ryan 8)
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  12. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Robert,

    I have sent you another PM, in answer to yours.

    Giddy
     
  13. Firebrand-Robert

    Firebrand-Robert Bit Poster

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    With respect to the comments by people about Firebrand using Braindumps I can categorically state that these are not allowed with a "nod and a wink" or any other form of blessing by "management".

    Zebulebu states the course he was on he saw MCSE students passing round braindumps - I'd like to know the dates he was at our training centre so I can investigate which instructor was teaching the MCSE at the time.

    It is company policy that the use of Braindumps (or test kings or any other material that serves the same purpose) by an instructor is totally forbidden.

    If Firebrand ever had proof of any instructor distributing or encouraging the use of them they would be suspended immediately and fired pending the outcome of a formal investigation. This is a fact.

    The only exam preparation material used is that which is officially sanctioned by the vendors, ie MeasureUp, Transender and Self Test.

    Clearly a student can bring anything they like with them and use it without our knowledge. But if we are witness to this in or out of the classroom we escalate it internally and after attempting to educate the offending student as to the error of their ways reserve the right to ask the student to leave the training course.

    Can we stop their use outright? I'd be pretty naive to state here that we can achieve this but we certainly try.

    If anyone would like to suggest what more we can do to stamp their use out totally I'd welcome hearing it.
     
  14. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Maybe you could have an introductory lesson where a tutor or whatever can explain that using BDs is against your company policy and if anyone is found using them or distributing them then you will take action. You could also tell Microsoft or compTIA etc about the offending student/tutor and have them deal with it too.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  15. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Sounds like a good idea GBL.

    I can understand how it would be difficult for a TP to know exactly what a tutor was handing out on a course (unless they have someone checking all the time); however, the threat to notify MS or similar could/should have a sobering effect on those tutors who may consider BDs to assist students.

    Obviously, the fact that students have been forewarned at the start of the course, and in any pre-reading information beforehand presumably, would hopefully mean any tutor wishing to offer BDs would think twice.
     
  16. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Another idea occured to do with the students passing around BDs, maybe if the students were vetted better before being allowed to enrole then you would only have the tutor issue to deal with.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  17. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Not sure vetting would weed the badduns out; however, the tutor should be workng and talking with the students closely, and could hear/see something about BDs. First time he/she hears, he/she could warn the students as a whole, and have a quiet word with the individual concerned. Second time, the tutor could push it up to course admin to deal with.
     
  18. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    good idea :thumbleft
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  19. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    On a side note... Transcender isn't "officially sanctioned" by the vendors. That said, they are legitimate, as are the other two.

    Warn people about them in the first class... or before they take the first class. Braindumping is a cancer to the IT industry, and particularly to certifications.

    The key is... you've GOT to get your instructors on board with the whole anti-braindump thing. You can't be looking over their shoulders 24/7. And if they're evaluated on the pass rate of those students they teach, then they're gonna be tempted to teach them the content of the test... complete with a wink and a nod, and sometimes away from the classroom.

    If you want verification of what your instructors are doing... have a "spy" sit the class. If one isn't available, periodically give a student a financial incentive to tell you what training materials that their instructor suggested/provided.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  20. Firebrand-Robert

    Firebrand-Robert Bit Poster

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    We've debated this internally and at orientation on the Sunday night that all students attend they will reminded of their obligation and the potential consequences of using materials such as these. Our logistics documents that are sent out prior to attending will be updated to reflect this message as well. Lastly we are looking into the legallity of amending our T&C's to reflect this message.

    Our instructors and all our operations staff are absolutely ALREADY on board. The discussions on this board are not what has "turned us on" to this issue, we are already aware of it and believed we dealt with it efectively already.

    Some of the suggestions here will improve our handling of it but I do not want this subject to appear to be something we've "just" started dealing with in response to these postings.
     

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