Firebrand review: where failure is not an option!

I recently went on a week long Firebrand accelerated training course and here’s my lowdown on the whole thing.

What?

Firebrand offer accelerated I.T training courses on a wide variety of vendors.  For example, two traditional Microsoft courses that would normally run over ten days, are offered as a five day accelerated course with the opportunity to take the relevant exams after the training at the same location.

Who?

Any I.T professional that wants to get certified in half the time.

Where?

Training centers are located at a variety of worldwide locations.

The experience:

I was signed up for the five day accelerated Office 365 course.  Traditionally, a ten day course that Firebrand have accelerated into a mere five days. These five days included taking the relevant associated exams; Exam 70-346: Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements and Exam 70-347: Enabling Office 365 Services.  All of this was to take place in the picturesque grounds of Wyboston Lakes located in Bedfordshire, England.

I arrived at around 5:30pm the night before, on Sunday evening, and checked in to my room which was located within the same grounds as Firebrand (about a one minute walk away from the Firebrand classrooms).  Accommodation here is not mandatory and you are free to stay wherever you like, however, I would recommend staying here due to it’s close proximity to the classrooms.

At 6pm that evening I entered the Firebrand training center where all of the delegates were greeted and given a quick overview of the facilities, which I should mention are excellent.  The center, classrooms and computers are open 24 hours a day with free high speed wi-fi.  There is unlimited tea, coffee etc as well as free branded soft drinks and as many bananas \ apples \ sweets that you can eat.

I was then taken to the classroom where our trainer, Jens Gilges introduced himself and gave us an overview of the course.  We then spent some time configuring our computers for the course and finished around 9:00pm ready to start on Monday.  And if you think this is late, then this is not the training for you!

Each day began at 9:00am and finished anywhere between 10pm and midnight with numerous tea\coffee breaks, a one hour lunch break and one hour dinner break in the evening, cut down to 45 minutes as the course progressed.  On top of this, at the end of the day, Jens set us all homework (thanks Jens! 😐  ) :  This included reading chapters from course material, revision, and Powershell.  Typically, the homework took me around 2 hours to complete.  This meant that every night I was going to bed between 12:30 and 1:30am.  Nobody said this was going to be easy!

Now a quick word about the trainer Jens Gilges:  Jens was very approachable and extremely knowledgeable.  Jens wasn’t a trainer ‘reading from the book’ but someone that clearly knows the subject matter inside-out and also has a real passion for it that’s actually contagious.  He also wants you to pass and spends as much time required to ensure that everyone thoroughly understands the current topic before proceeding.

Exam day 1: Thursday.  I went to the training center having been up since 6 am revising and headed to the classroom for 8:30am following a good hearty breakfast.  Jens summarised everything we had learned so far this week and spent an hour answering any questions thrown at him.  The exam was booked for 10am and the room was in the same building so not far to go…

After the exam, Jens gave us an hour off and then it was straight back to the classroom to continue the course.

Exam day 2: Friday.  Similar to the day before with Jens recapping and answering questions, followed by him leading us to the exam room for the final exam.

(I passed both exams with flying colours in case you were wondering!)

At what cost?

I’m unsure of the cost as I did not have to pay (thank to my Manager at work!)

Worth it?

Yes.  If you do the assigned homework and put in the hours you cannot go wrong.  (I didn’t even get to turn the TV on in my room!)  It’s hard work, but this is the fastest way to not only become certified but also learn and comprehend complex topics with an experienced trainer.

Details

http://www.firebrandtraining.co.uk

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