Firebrand Training, a few facts!

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by DreamWorks, May 18, 2008.

  1. sulaak

    sulaak New Member

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    Just completed the Firebrand Microsoft SQL Server 2008 -Business Intelligence Developer and Maintenance (70-448 & 70-452)

    I was very disappointed with the course programme and trainer. The course material were a summary of the MOC couse book. Only 2 student passed the first exam.
     
  2. tarekahf

    tarekahf Bit Poster

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    I have made initial plan to book 3 courses with Firebrand in UK during this summer 2011.

    The courses are: Micrsoft MCPD .NET 4 Web Developer + Scrum certified + PMP PMI.

    My company will pay only 50% of the first course. I will have to pay for the rest.

    I know this is really expensive, but I found out that I need to do something to progress with my career even if I have to pay from my pocket.

    I tried to study PMP for example on my own to prepare for the exam, but no luck ... total failure ... Family + Work ... you know the rest.

    I have B.Sc in Software Engineering and more than 16 years of app. development experience working on diverse platforms.

    Any advice on what to do and my current plan to progress with my career towards Managerial or Consultant Role in IT will be grately Appreciated.

    Do you think that Firebrand is not recomended and that I should find another training provider ?

    My objective is to get the certification to add it on my CV to help upgrade my position with my current employer or others. Aparently my 16 years of experience is not good enough for many employers.

    Thanks for you advice.

    Tarek
     
  3. Bri1981

    Bri1981 Byte Poster

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    I mentioned this in another thread, do you meet the eligibility requirements for the PMP exam? Do you have enough hours PM experience?
     
    Certifications: See signature
    WIP: MBA entry diploma
  4. tarekahf

    tarekahf Bit Poster

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    Yes, I do meet the requirements for the exam. I was told by Firebrand Reps after he reviewed my education that I do meet the requirements, and that I will have to start now to apply for PMP from PMI.ORG website and after I register for PMP PMI from Firebrand web site, I will recevie detailed instructions about what to do next.

    My main issue is getting ready for the exam (STUDY ... STUDY).

    Last year in July 2010, I completed a PMP Course with New Horizons and I could not find enough time to study and I was sure that I was not yet ready for the exam after the course.

    When I found Firebrand offer, menaing they guarantee that you will pass the exam, and they will provide everything you need to study, get ready and prepare for the exam, I liked the offer.

    Since I will be staying in UK for 30 days, I also decided to take 2 other course which is Microsoft MCPD .NET 4 Web Developer (11 days) + Scrum Certified (2 days). I need to add such certificates to my CV to help progress with my career.

    I found out that this arrangment with Firebarnd is very expensive. I will have to arrange to finance such courses. My company will pay only 50% of the Microsoft Course (5 days).

    Also, after reading this thread, I found some negative feedback about Firebrand.

    I really need your feedback if this will worth the effort and the cost ?

    Are there any other cheaper options or other cheaper Training Providers ?

    Do you think that Firebrand are seriously bad and I should change my plans completely ?

    Tarek.
     
  5. Bri1981

    Bri1981 Byte Poster

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    If you have already done a PMP course then why do you need to do another? If you are concerned about cost then that seems like a waste of money. Buy a couple of books, i'd recommed Head First PMP and the All in One book, these both come with test exams for you to practice with.

    If you are looking to do the exam soon i'd recommend you fill in all the documentation from PMI ASAP as it can be a while before you are eligible for the exam.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
    Certifications: See signature
    WIP: MBA entry diploma
  6. tarekahf

    tarekahf Bit Poster

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    Becuase I took the course while the Family was around in during my vacation last year. There was not time to study, and I was not familiar with the overall process and could not plan for the Exam. After I resumed my work since my last vacation in 2010, I was involved with many project, and I can barly find time for the family.

    This time I decided to be alone while studying, and plan well ahead of time for the PMP Education and Exam.

    Yes ! This is what the Sales Rep told me to do.

    Tarek.
     
  7. dmarsh

    dmarsh Petabyte Poster

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    Sure courses can help but really its down to you to sort yourself out and manage your time, location, routine etc.

    How can anyone guarantee you pass ? At best they can re-fund or re-sit, better to study and pass IMHO.

    I think you're on very shaky ground if you ae looking to go into debt just to get a certification. It might help your career it might not.

    Not in my opinion, I'd self study in Canada, cost you a fraction of the cost, you won't need hotel or flight expenses, you can still see your family. just creat a home office and put a do not disturb on door for 2 hours a night, or study after kids gone bed, or study during lunch at work, or stay an hour after work and study at your desk, loads options. Have a study webpage open and read it suring quiet moments, etc.

    The UK's not cheap in general, there are cheap TP's in India and Cyprus. Braindumping in India and China is rampant. Its so bad thaat I'd say if hiring managers knew these certs would be totally worthless. As it is development certs are pretty much worthless anyway, being able to say you know .NET inside out is useful, having a couple references and projects useful, certs not really much use except as recruiter bait.

    No they are not a bad company, I'm sure their training and some of their courses are good. However trying to get the MCPD in 11 days is bonkers unless you are already a .NET guru, in which case why you need a TP ?

    MCPD .NET is 4 exams, thats an exam every 2.75 days and the exam itself is like 2 hours. So basically you have 2.5 days per exam to get through what would have been a 800+ page book with labs, test practice, reading around subject etc. There is no way you can do anything BUT cram !
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  8. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    Im not defending Firebrand by any stretch of imagination, as I have never used them myself, but the amount of people who have decided to make 1 post aimed at smearing their name leads me to conclude some of these posts have a reasonable chance of not being genuine.

    As always do your research into a training company, but dont rely on a campaign of one post complaints.
     
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  9. dmarsh

    dmarsh Petabyte Poster

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    Maybe, certforums gets a fair few 'lurkers' and complaints look fairly legit to me...
     
  10. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    I have used Firebrand a couple of times in the past but that's because it suited me and my needs.

    I think what people need to realise is that these courses are not designed for people with little to no experience in the area that they are getting training in. You need to have a good understanding of the technologies involved to stand any chance of actually passing the exams, there is simply no way to reliably bypass good knowledge to pass any exams.

    Now on the subject of poor instructors, I know that last year when I was at Firebrand my instructor was only one of maybe three full time instructors, the rest of them were contract hires for the courses being sat at the Wyboston Lakes facility, now obviously you can get good instructors and bad ones and I know for a fact that Firebrand have in the past had courses go very badly wrong with maybe 10% of the class actually passing the exams. I also know that the students had free courses that allowed them to come back and sit these course again. Now I would hope that Firebrand took note of the instructors and released them from their contracts and that the next time the students studied they had better instructors but the onus is on both student and TP to ensure that the student is actually going on the right course.

    Now this is where things can get a little bit murky, when I was doing my MCITP course last year I had a couple of students who simply weren't up to the job of passing the exams, this wasn't the fault of the instructor by any means, to a large extent it was actually the fault of the salesman, you see it's the aim of the salesman to make sales, whether rightly or wrongly most people aren't asked the right questions to ensure that they are suitable for the training, all the salesman sees is his target being reached with each and every sale. I am lucky in that I do my own due diligence and ensure that the courses I go on are right for me, unfortunately there are a lot of people out there who think that having a certification is the be all and end all of getting a job, it's not and the sooner people realise that the better, it's also been good that the man I always deal with at Firebrand (Duncan) knows what he's doing and has been there for a long time. I always try to advise people that if they want to go to Firebrand try and talk to Duncan because he hasn't mis-sold me any courses to date.

    Please understand that no matter which training provider you use, there is always a risk that the instructor will be crap but at the same time you have to understand that it could also be the student.

    As long as the material covered follows the criteria required to pass the exam (and remember, that's what these courses are aimed at) and you understand the technology you "shouldn't" have any issues passing any exams but this does mean you chose the right course and are doing it because you need to prove your ability, not to try and get more qualifications (whilst having no experence).

    As a side note, there are those who advocate self study and are against the use of Training Providers, unfortunately peoples abilities and experiences vary but I know for a fact that I simpy can't do the self study thing, reading technical books actually puts me to sleep however watching technical videos doesn't, added to that my home life doesn't lead to a lot of chance to self study (I have a wife and 4 year old son who both deserve a lot of my attention when I am at home). Each person has to choose the training method that suits them, if you can self study and like it then go for it, if you do better in a classroom then do that.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  11. Monkeychops

    Monkeychops Kilobyte Poster

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    As SimonD says their courses, and anyone who offers a boot camp style learning process, are generally designed for people already working in that area to quickly give them a certification.

    It's not designed for someone to come in fresh and learn it from scratch.

    I've used them for 2 courses and my colleagues have also used them a lot.

    The first one I had was a Sec+ course (had it as a freebie), it was very good and the instructor was excellent. A security consultant who Firebrand use to teach this and some of their other courses (CeH etc).

    The second course was a CISSP review seminar + exam, this was taken by the then lead instructor at ISC2 using all official books and his course notes. He didn't even crack open the firebrand written course notes, gave them to us on the last night but said don't bother with them lol, and he knew best :)

    Off the top of my head colleagues have done numerous SQL courses where the feedback wasn't great, the instructor seemed to have no interest in the class itself and pretty much everyone failed. But Firebrand agreed there was an issue to the guy has got the course again for free using a different instructor.

    Prince2 course, all seemed to be fine, nothing unusual with it.

    And another chap did the MCITP EA as well, he said out of 12 people only 2 (luckily including him) passed it as the others were just well out of their depth.

    On the whole I like using Firebrand as it's a complete package (course, accom, food, exam) which makes things easier (for us lazy folk) and can usually get a good deal out of them :) Exams on site is a big thing for me as there aren't any test centres that close to where I am based, plus like to do it there and then.

    Only other company I've used quite a bit are QA, courses are a bit more lax in that they are 9 to 5, a lot of the time no exams included, and no food or accom. Anyone who has done a Firebrand course will know the day goes on much longer than 5!
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  12. tarekahf

    tarekahf Bit Poster

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    Thank you, I feel better when I find people similar to my case.

    What do you mean by:

    "Anyone who has done a Firebrand course will know the day goes on much longer than 5!"

    Sorry, I did not get you since English is not my mother tongue.

    Tarek.
     
  13. tarekahf

    tarekahf Bit Poster

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    Thank you!

    When you speak about Firebrand and the offered courses, I feel they are fitted well for people like me. The only problem is that I must have enough budget.

    I like to speak to Duncan, but I am already dealing with Claudis. It may not be appropriate to ask to speak to different guy, especially he is doing very well with me.

    I think I will send email to their HO and ask to get consulation from Duncan, without involving my current sales rep.

    Thank you again. Very helpful information.

    Tarek.
     
  14. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    What he means is that the courses will generally start at 8am and of you're lucky will stop by 8 or 9, officially classes finish around 6ish but the labs are left open all night and there is the chance of homework.

    There were nights there when I would go to bed past midnight because of revision etc, there wasn't time to socialise because it was nose in a book for most of the day.
     
    Certifications: CNA | CNE | CCNA | MCP | MCP+I | MCSE NT4 | MCSA 2003 | Security+ | MCSA:S 2003 | MCSE:S 2003 | MCTS:SCCM 2007 | MCTS:Win 7 | MCITP:EDA7 | MCITP:SA | MCITP:EA | MCTS:Hyper-V | VCP 4 | ITIL v3 Foundation | VCP 5 DCV | VCP 5 Cloud | VCP6 NV | VCP6 DCV | VCAP 5.5 DCA
    WIP: VCP6-CMA, VCAP-DCD and Linux + (and possibly VCIX-NV).
  15. tarekahf

    tarekahf Bit Poster

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    That is exactly the point ! This is something I cannot have if Family is around or I am at work.

    So I can understand from this that Firebrand will give you access to labs / PCs which are equiped with all needed software and you can use them any time after course hours, right ?

    How about the provided accomodation, are they good enough ? Clean ?

    Tarek.
     
  16. tarekahf

    tarekahf Bit Poster

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    I have to disagree with you here. Thoug I cannot claim I am a .NET guru, but even though, one needs to continue upgrading his knowledge. Self study is one way, and going to a TP is another.

    I strongly believe that, with my current expereince, if I hold such a certificate, then this will give me advantage over my colleagues and will enable me get a leader positions in new projects. So, even if I have to cram, that is still fine, as long as I will get the certficate. I will gain the real knowledge and experience when I work on real projects.

    Tarek.
     
  17. Monkeychops

    Monkeychops Kilobyte Poster

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    But if you are self studying you don't have to do it like that! That's the whole point of these boot camps, condensed courses to get you certified in a short amount of time.

    This means from my experience with Firebrand when you turn up on the Sunday night before a course is due to start you actually start working that evening for a few hours, then as Simon said it's starting at 9, break for lunch and dinner, then finishing at say 9 in the evening to go back to your room to study.

    This is not a way anyone would expect to do it if not on a condensed course so saying you couldn't do that with family and a job is a bit obvious as no one would!

    Self studying at home is not a condensed method so you wouldn't expect to be pulling 12 hour days studying.

    Personally I am rubbish at self studying as I have little discipline with it so find a teacher led course is far better for me.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  18. dmarsh

    dmarsh Petabyte Poster

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    I agree learning is an on going process and there is an element to studying to the exam with most certifications. However listen to what I said, you have 2.5 days, thats max say 30 productive hours, to cover what should be 120-200 hours of study. A square peg doesn't fit in a round hole.

    You don't know what questions will come up, so there are no short cuts, you have to cover the full sylabus to maximise chance of passing. Now arguably if you have experience you could skip book exercises or chapters maybe, but on a course how can an instructor skip significant areas with a class of 10+ different people of different levels ? You need to cover the sylabus to get the knowledge to pass the exam !

    Its not that cramming is wrong, its that you can only cram AFTER you've learn't the material, not BEFORE ! You can't learn and cram all the material in 2.5 days !

    This is all that counts, people in development don't care about your certs.

    Most places I've worked nobody knows I've got any certs apart from the initial hiring manager who saw my CV.

    I highly doubt certification alone will make you a technical lead or project manager, companies look for people who have shown promise on the job in these areas and promote internally usually.

    Agreed thats the general approach but I self studied like this for my MCPD, 12 hours a day, reading 50-120 pages a day and doing labs and practice tests. After I finished the book and did some revision I would book the test in the next day or so and take the exam. So it can be done in this manner, and it did work for me.

    If family get in the way you need to create a 'study environment', go to a library or local university, create a home office, etc. How do you think people get degrees part time, the OU mentions this a lot, you need to create a learning environment that works.

    I find that being in software development I have to read a LOT, saying its boring is unprofessional and shows a lack of commitment, its part of the job plain and simple.

    I agee that mixing things up can help a lot, its good to use as many different stimulus to imprint memories as possible so CBT's can really help and gives you the 'bootcamp' experience without the cost.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  19. tarekahf

    tarekahf Bit Poster

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    Thanks for all the feedback.

    I think I have to get ready well ahead of the course for MCPD .NET 4 Web Developer.

    I will look for some study material.

    I would appreciate it If you could point to study material for this course.

    Tarek.
     
  20. tarekahf

    tarekahf Bit Poster

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    I was checking Microsoft site for resources about MCPD VS 2010 study resources:

    Certified Developer | MCPD | Microsoft Certified Professional Developer

    I found this site:

    Microsoft MCPD Self Test Software

    And also from Google, I found this:

    Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 - Free visual studio questions and visual studio guide -uCertify

    Depending on the chosen study format, the cost can go upto 400.00 US$ for all exams.


    I dowloaded this trial study material:

    Download 70-515-VB: MCTS: Web Applications Development with Microsoft VB.NET Framework 4 251+ questions -uCertify

    And it seems realy very good so far. I have tested it for a couple of hours, and not only it gives you exam questions, it also gives you very good learning tips. I will speak with the person in charge of the Library (Oh my God, I have a project to Automate the Library Request Form Workflow Process, which is still pending with me!). I am sure I can request this learing material from the person in charge of the Library (and it will be good time for him to ask "What happened with my project, Tarek ?).

    I think this will help me to cram before the course.

    Tarek.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2011

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