Dec 29 2008

PHP Training

I took a four-day course in PHP programming in Leeds in September. The company, GBdirect, used the Innovation Centre at Leeds University Business School, to host the training.

I've been looking at PHP books for the last 3 years and have started, slowly, to use this server-side technology in the websites that I build. My ultimate aim is to build my own simple shopping cart and content management sites. I can already configure open source systems, and adapt them to client needs.

I had just two colleagues on the course, both of whom came from a company that specialises in the computer administration and maintenance of payroll systems. Both were lifelong programmers.

Whereas I was familiar with much of the PHP terminology of the course, my companions, who had no background in PHP itself, were able to pick up the syntax more easily and apply their own real life solutions, whereas I was struggling with how to implement an appropriate programming solution. Four days of PHP did make me more comfortable understanding and writing the syntax.

We came away with a thick course book with lots of exercises, a free gift of an O'Reilly textbook on PHP and MySQL, and a promise of lifelong support.

I queried the notion of lifelong support and received a long answer from the MD of the training company which can be summarised as, lifelong support does not amount to consultancy.

I, of course, came from a background of website design. I was intrigued that the course tutor spoke disparagingly of CSS, because he didn't understand it. I use CSS extensively in my designs.

While I enjoy intensive courses, which can help bring me up to speed, there is always the difficulty subsequently that if you don't use what you have learnt or don't have time immediately afterwards to follow up the material, you might just as well have not bothered.

Which renders the cost-effectiveness of the course problematic. I paid out approximately £1500. This may be very reasonable to companies who are usually charged such prices for training, particularly when their candidates have appropriate background, but to a sole trader like me, it was extraordinarily high.

This item was first published on 14th October 2006.

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