Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Training is hard work

I run a couple of regular courses, one of them is the FireBrick course (two day), and one is a crash course on IP (one day).

Both are hard work - they mean a lot of standing up in front of a room of people with a projector and a whiteboard marker and a lot of talking.

I hope I do a good job - I get a lot of good feedback on this - but it really is a hard day's work from which I always feel knackered. The course this week was even more so as I am still recovering from being ill, and I appreciate the help from Alex on several parts of the course.

The IP course is perhaps the easier one. It is a crash course on IP done over one day - from the basics of ethernet packets, MAC addresses, ARP and ND, and building up from there all the way to how TCP works and email and web browsers. It is basically working through in a logical order layer by layer. It makes sense as each layer builds on the knowledge we have built up the layer before. It is a lot for one day, but the material has not had to change for a long time.

The FireBrick course is a lot more of a challenge! For a start it is always changing - every time we have new features and the course grows.

But even then, every time we run it we find ways to make things better. One of the issues is there is no logical order for the material - it is not like IP which is layer on layer - it has so many features, and whilst some are more fundamental (profiles, logging), so many others are independent for each other and so have no meaningful order. Every time we add a new feature we have to work out where to slot that in to the course.

I think we have a pretty good formulae now, but it is tricky to fit in two days and I can see this becoming a three day course soon. Right now we have to be selective about which areas we do with a practical and more detail and which we explain and continue on to next topic.

This week was harder as we had a mix of ISPs and end-user or IT company types and had to try and cover both areas. I think we managed a good mix.

Even so, we are considering whether some sort of SME IPv6 course is worth running - but I suspect we have to cover a lot more "windows" than I would wish to go near.

In short - I have even more respect for professional teachers in schools - this really is hard work!

1 comment:

  1. In the front of the TCP/IP book that you hand out on the IP course I have written "why didn't I do this course on day 1 in IT?"

    Highly recommended fast track to understanding networking.