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My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together
As a freelance contractor you need to strike a careful balance between managing your own professional development, earning a living and delivering for your customers.
You don’t benefit from paid holidays or paid-for training courses during work hours from your employer and I also find it hard to schedule courses into downtime between engagements or slotting in a training course around customer demands for your 9-5 availability.
So, I was particularly interested to see today the mention of vFLEX-ILT Flexible instructor-led training from VMware and a partner. You can see a video at the following link, but the basic concept is that you “virtually” attend a real-life training class with what look to be excellent remote access tools and HD video conferencing, the modern world has come to training
You can see details of the courses and a demo video here:
This isn’t that new, some companies have been offering WebEx based training for a while but the inclusion of 2-way HD video is good and brings in some of the interactivity you would normally lose with remote access.
But, what particularly caught my eye is that the courses are delivered out of the US, opening the possibility that (with a bit of sacrifice of personal time and some double-shifting) you could feasibly do you your UK contract day-job but then virtually attend one of these classes in the evenings.
Courses that start at 9am Arizona time are towards the end of the UK day.
Cost-wise it isn’t too bad either – if you take the example of the View 5.1 install, configure, manage course (and assume that NC sales tax is similar to UK VAT – these prices are excluding tax)
Cost to attend virtually is currently £1,475 GBP + VAT @20% (note the cost to attend in-person in the US is the same as the virtual option, which I guess is understandable, they’re not buying you lunch – but they still need to pay for the trainer and your remote facilities).
The same in-person course delivered in the UK is between
£1, 950 +VAT http://www.magirus.com/uk/training/vmware/view-5-install-configure-manage
£2,076 + VAT http://www.globalknowledge.co.uk/courses/vmware/virtualisation/vmview.html
£2,175 + VAT http://www.qa.com/training-courses/technical-it-training/vmware/vmware-view/vmware-view-51-install,-configure,-manage/
So, if you are a contractor or paid by the hour/day outside of the US (and have good English skills) you could potentially use this technology and some of your personal time to save £500 over an in-person course and still be able to meet your day job commitments.
(Assuming you can keep up the pace of some short-term double-shifting, e.g doing a day-job then an evening course for 4 days) and still meet your customer’s requirements. Not a problem for many IT people in my experience.