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Challenging the IT course business model

I love a challenge to our business model - and indeed to a common business model across the IT training business. It gives me a chance to look, to consider, to review what we and the industry do, and to sanity check our choices. We've got a Learning to Program in Tcl and a Learning to Program in Python course - both at the start of March, and both late additions to our schedule - so I've been promoting them a little wider than usual (note - these courses are for newcomers to programming; for experienced programmers, the equivalent courses Tcl Programming and Python Programming start a day later).

Anyway - here's what was written:

Can you tell me why it is over £1000 to learn python when you can go out buy a raspberry Pi for 75 quid go and get a book look at youtube and learn the fundementals there, go to higher education and learn c++ and java, seems expensive python is very rarely used in industry

And in answer ...

The short answer is that we provide a service that's wanted by our customers. Our clients are mostly companys (large and small) wanting to get their staff up to speed quickly, and the same company will send delegates on multiple occasions or have us train on site from time to time, so clearly they feel there is the right return on their investment in training with us. If we didn't get business (and we're very busy indeed at the moment - the courses I've promoted on Facebook are late additions to our schedule, which is why we're promoting them) we wouldn't be giving courses.

But that short answer is a bit glib, and we should look a bit deeper.

Firstly, comparing the price of hardware and training is comparing two different things - like comparing the price of food and the utensils you cook it in. It's a valid thing to look at when you're looking at your total budget spend, but not when comparing items against each other. So I'm going to rule out the price comparison between a Raspberry Pi and a training course as invalid.

Now, some people learn well from books, videos, and other media. In fact I initially learned Python from books. But that wasn't just one book; it was three different books and looking at the view / approach each took to get a full view of the topics. Although I was already a very experienced programmer indeed, it took quite a while and I learned how to do things and not the best way for me to do things. It took some considerable investment of my time, and there were periods of great frustration where I was thinking "surely there's an easy way to do this" or "I can't see what's wrong with that" and I had no-one to turn to. The time taken to self-teach, even with good,modern aids has to be experienced to be believed, and it's far from suitable for everyone. I have (just) completed delivery of a four day course (teaching Java as it happens) and this week - just as for my learning - delegates are hitting the frustration of "how do I do xxx" or "what's wrong with yyy" during a practical. I can spot the problems in seconds (or even split seconds) So - secondly - you learn far quicker on a course, thirdly you learn better techniques and fourthly you are far less liekly go get frustrated and give up with tutorial help. After I had learned Python (!) I flew to Denver, Colorado and spent a week on Mark Lutz's Python course - Mark being the author of the O'Reilly books on Python and a close associate of Guifo van Rossum who wrote the language. And I found that week invaluael to me, even with my prior Python background, and even at the extra cost of flight to another continent and car rental.

Higher education is excellent and recommended where appropriate - but it's not appropriate for everyone. Elapsed time taken is far longer than one of our courses, and costs (up to £9000 per year) can be significantly more than a course with us. Yes, there are lower cost alternatives too, but not everyone has the luxury of the time / can't take a sabatical and be release from their employment to learn. So, fifthly, I'm going to suggest that higher education and commercial short courses are for different markets, and don't complete with each other - so the comparison is only occasionally a valid one.

Java and C++ are indeed among the most used languages in commerce / industry. But we're a niche training company, and that bulk work isn't our specialty. But I'm scratching my hed to think how my challenger came to the conclusion that Python is "very rarely used in Industry". I naturally come across across a lot or people who are using Python - they're certainly not rare; I have a sufficiently biased picture to not be able to say with authority the relative numbers of commercial practitioners of Java, Python and C++. And whilst there is a significant minority who require Python, my sixth point is that someone should provide that course (and we do) - in fact we're very well placed to do so for a subject which isn't the most common, so delegates need pooling from a relatively wide area.

I have given an answer that's perhaps longer than it should be - looking at each of the individual points raised in more detail, rather than looking at the product itself and stressing how it meets the needs of our delegate - how it benefits our customers.

Bright, intelligent people who are specialists in a wide variety of fields require to be able to process data in their work, and need to learn how to do so cleanly, well and efficiently. Python is often the natural language of choice for such tasks as it's quick to write, encouraged good coding, and does not need deep geekyness. And they need to learn quite quickly - data is to be analysed this year (not next), and with minimum impact on the rest of their current workload. What better way to learn than taking a week away, where everything else is shut off and they can learn and be guided by a professional tutor (who's also available to the delegate after the course) who can take them logically through the elements, assist with things they find more difficult, advise them on experiences and suggest how best they perform certain tasks. Compared to the incidental costs of getting it wrong (and coming up with poor code), or the cost of taking a long period to learn, our courses are a bargain!
(written 2015-02-05)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G300 - Well House Consultants - Public Courses
  [4751] Final day of training at Well House Manor - Python, Lua, Tcl and C/C++ continue at The Spa, Melksham - (2017-06-30)
  [4739] A year of changes for Lisa and Graham Ellis, and Well House - (2017-05-27)
  [4705] Course dates - from October 2016 to December 2017 - (2016-09-25)
  [4689] Training Course schedule for summer and autumn 2016 - (2016-05-30)
  [4564] Perl, PHP, Python, Lua, Tcl, C++, Ruby - final public courses for 2015 - (2015-10-30)
  [4519] Course Schedule - October 2015 to June 2016 - (2015-09-27)
  [4434] Public training courses - upcoming dates - (2015-02-21)
  [4408] Additional Python courses added to our schedule - (2015-01-29)
  [4375] Final examples for 2014 - and a look at our 2015 training course options - (2014-12-31)
  [4358] A brilliant finish to 2014 training and business guests, and a look to 2015 - (2014-12-20)
  [4300] Public courses - Autumn 2014 and 2015 - (2014-09-19)
  [4279] Upcoming public courses from Well House Consultants - (2014-05-31)
  [4230] Well House Consultants - course prices for 2014 - (2013-12-26)
  [4197] Python and Tcl courses, November, UK (Melksham) ... just a few places left - (2013-10-23)
  [4172] Public courses - Python, PHP, Perl, Ruby, Lua, Tcl, C and C++ - autumn 2013 and through 2014 - (2013-09-13)
  [4015] Upcoming courses and availabiity - (2013-02-22)
  [3983] Upcoming courses at Well House Manor - Ruby, Python, Perl - (2013-01-19)
  [3964] What is coming up from Well House in 2013 - public Open Source / IT courses. - (2012-12-28)
  [3924] The bedrooms at Well House Manor - (2012-11-16)
  [3911] How well do you know Perl and / or Python? - (2012-11-04)
  [3903] Python Programming class for delegates who have already self-taught the basics - (2012-10-25)
  [3876] October to December 2012 - Public Courses - (2012-09-30)
  [3829] Training courses - rest of 2012, 2013 and January 2014 - (2012-08-06)
  [3823] Know Python or PHP? Want to learn Perl too? - (2012-07-31)
  [3637] April, May and June 2012 - Public Open Source Programming Courses - (2012-03-04)
  [3573] New in Java 7 - and why we are not running public Java 7 courses - (2012-01-08)
  [3559] Well House Consultants - Open Source Programming Courses for 2012 - (2011-12-21)
  [3528] December courses - PHP, Python, Perl - and a weekend Lua course - (2011-11-24)
  [3401] Open Source Training Schedule - learn a programming language - in Autumn 2011 or 2012 - (2011-08-20)
  [3365] Turning bright delegates into bright and knowledgable ones - (2011-07-21)
  [3358] Upcoming Programming courses ... High Summer, 2011 - (2011-07-15)
  [3219] How do I become a Linux System Administrator? - (2011-03-28)
  [3205] Open Source (Public) courses - PHP, Tcl, SQL, Python, C and C++ in Melksham, Wiltshire, UK - (2011-03-18)
  [3160] Extra courses - Advanced PHP, MySQL and Lua - (2011-02-07)
  [3129] Extra courses - C and C++ - (2011-01-12)
  [3078] Royal Wedding. How William and Catherine have changed our schedule - (2010-12-02)
  [3074] Running a course ... what if the tutor isn't well? - (2010-11-29)
  [3071] Well House Price list, January to March 2011 - (2010-11-25)
  [3021] Courses for late 2010 and early 2011 - (2010-10-30)
  [2965] Testimonials - Well House Consultants Open Source courses - (2010-09-21)
  [2942] Open Source Programming - Training Course Schedule - (2010-08-31)
  [2928] Public (scheduled) or private course? Book direct, or through a third party? - (2010-08-19)
  [2927] Announcing 2011 Open Source Training courses - dates and prices - (2010-08-18)
  [2881] Tailoring of courses to meet customers needs - how it works - (2010-07-21)
  [2839] Software versions used - June 2010 - (2010-06-30)
  [2736] Perl Course FAQ - (2010-04-23)
  [2558] Happy new decade - and course and hotel prices for 2010 - (2010-01-01)
  [2341] Koulutus, Open Source tietokone kielillä - (2009-08-09)
  [2340] ldning, Open Source dator språk - (2009-08-09)
  [2339] Opplæring, Open Source datamaskinen språk - (2009-08-09)
  [2338] Uddannelse, Open Source computer sprog - (2009-08-09)
  [2337] Opleiding, Open Source computertalen - (2009-08-09)
  [2336] Formação, Open Source computador línguas - (2009-08-09)
  [2335] Ausbildung, die Open-Source-Sprachen - (2009-08-09)
  [2334] Formazione, Open Source computer lingue - (2009-08-09)
  [2333] Formación, de los lenguajes de código abierto - (2009-08-09)
  [2332] Formation, des langages Open Source - (2009-08-09)
  [2048] Learning to program in PHP, Python, Java or Lua ... - (2009-02-19)
  [1968] Review of 2008 - (2008-12-31)
  [1929] 2009 - Hotel, Meeting, Training Course prices - (2008-12-07)
  [1857] November and December Public Course Schedule - (2008-10-27)
  [1836] Next in the sequence - courses next year (2009) - (2008-10-12)
  [1751] Public Training Course Dates until July 2009 - (2008-08-13)
  [1693] July to December 2008 - Open Source training schedule - (2008-07-01)
  [1615] PHP training courses every month - (2008-04-18)
  [1565] Languages compared - based on developer community size - (2008-03-05)
  [1420] The Learning Perl crew, October 2007 - (2007-11-03)
  [1414] What we teach - expained for the non-technical - (2007-10-28)
  [1035] Longer hours and better value courses - (2007-01-15)
  [933] Course Joining package - updated - (2006-11-20)
  [845] Course scheduling and Geekmas - are they traditions yet? - (2006-08-26)
  [646] PHP - London course, Melksham Course, Evening course - (2006-03-14)
  [387] Training course plans for 2006 - (2005-07-23)
  [181] Maximum number of trainees on a course - (2005-01-18)
  [172] Public courses in London - (2005-01-07)

G203 - Well House Consultants - Training course prices
  [4602] Training course and hotel room prices - 2016 - (2015-12-31)
  [4379] Well House Consultants / Well House Manor - Prices for 2015 - (2015-01-01)
  [4246] Python, PHP, Ruby, C, Lua, etc ... course prices held for the rest of 2014 - (2014-03-08)
  [4082] Training around the world - easy payment in pounds Sterling - (2013-05-10)
  [3196] No news is good news. - (2011-03-07)
  [3107] Hotel and Training Course prices - the effect of the VAT rise on 4th January 2011 - (2010-12-26)
  [2560] Training comparison to QA Training, Learning Tree, GB Direct. - (2010-01-02)
  [2541] VAT Changes - (2009-12-19)
  [2311] Floor to ceiling - (2009-07-30)
  [2003] Discount Training Courses - PHP, Perl, Python - (2009-01-21)
  [1912] Book now for 2009 - (2008-11-29)
  [1492] Well House Consultants Training and Hotel - 2008 news - (2008-01-01)
  [499] Good IT training cannot be cheap - (2005-11-18)
  [295] Pricing strategy - simple and fair - (2005-04-29)
  [163] Introduction fees, bonuses, commissions, kickbacks - (2004-12-29)
  [101] Good value, low cost, cheap. - (2004-10-27)


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Buffet review - taking the price into account
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or
Horse's mouth home
Forward to
Crisp morning, fast run
Some other Articles
Flexibility in input - read from file, web resource or keyboard
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Melksham Community Campus - which of these potential signs do you like?
Crisp morning, fast run
Challenging the IT course business model
Buffet review - taking the price into account
Java - converting an integer to a fixed length string
Binomial Coefficient (Pascal Triangle) objects in Java
Java -making sure you have the right versions
Location, location location. And a chance of a giggle!
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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