Sharing my experience(updated version)

guest (Freeman)
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Java technology suddenly became so hot and lots ofChinese-operated short-term-training schools emergedto provide java training mainly to Chinese immigrants.The spotlighted topic is so-called Advanced Java courseswith projects.

For some purpose, last two months I sat in five Adv.javacourses respectively in five hottest such kind of schools.I would like to share my experience and personal opinions withwho are new-arriving and planning to join those courses. Forequality I won't explicitly mention the names of these schools.My descriptions and analysis here are just for reference only.Using them directly or indirectly for commercial purpuse is notallowed. As well, I am not responsible for any consequencesdue to making decisions based on My descriptions and opinionshere.

My background: got B.Eng in E.E. in China and is studyingComputer Science in university here.

First of all, fairly speaking, all five schools I have touchedare all motivated to provide career service as good as they can,as well as to earn money. I don't feel any of them areconsciously cheating. But the quality of services somehow variesfrom school to school, from lecturer to lecturer unavoidably.

Basically there are two kinds of Adv.java courses in themarket: lecture-based course with demo project and project-basedcourse providing a team leader tutoring on project managementand problems.The latter one suppose students have strong basic java knowledgemeanwhile know the advanced java technology in some degree.Students start with project analysis and design under the tutoringof the team leader. The price of this kind of course is around $600.But I did not see high demands on this kind of courses because thelevel of most learners on java is not high enough to start withproject directly. The demands focus on the first one, lecture-basedadv.java with demo project. So I will just describe this type in thefollowing and just call it adv.java courses.

Price: vary from $850 to $1000 (NOTE: negotiable, discount$50-100) for 40 hours / 7-8 weeks

Methodology: INTENSIVELY teach adv.java technologies such asservlet/JSP/EJB/JDBC, and usually at the last few classes the lecturerwill show you how to analyze and design a project, together witha finished design and codes for that project. You must try to understandthat demo and pretend that it is designed by you in your resumeand interviews. Even though some of the schools alleged students woulddo a project design and learn all the practical experience, but Isee the five courses I attended just finished or will finish in theway I describe above.

Lecturers: I met two types of teachers: 1.programmer/developer workingin some big companies like IBM and CIBC, they are strong in practicalexperience but weak in teaching, 2.professional teacher, good teachingmanner as well as strong knowledge in java, but insufficient in realproject handling experience.I feel OK with most of the lecturers I met, except one who was not quitewell-preparing for the course, telling the students that they woulduse applet/microsoft SQL server to do the project(those things arebeing a bit out of date. Many students don't know what's hottest sothe school and the teacher, NOT the students, SHOULD consider whatto teach to meet the job market requirements).

Objective: All schools aim at helping students to get jobs instead offormal and solid learning. That's quite correct, I think. Studentsare packaged by pretending that they finish a co-op project in a schoolfor some company. It is somewhat cheating the employers.

Students oriented: The schools(or their clerks) just tried to persuadestudents to join their courses and seldom helped the students to evaluatethemselves whether they are qualified. In all the five courses I metstudents who just knew a little bit C or foxbase (something like that)without real programming experience. In fact, in my opinion, adv.javacourses are most suitable for someone who have VB or C++ REAL programmingexperience with basic java knowledge, or someone who have strong basicjava programming experience.

My suggestions (for reference only):1.To save your time and money, carefully assess your background before joining the adv.java course. You will be told someone majored in English in China took adv.java course and got a $80K job in two months. Don't believe this kind of magic would happen on you unless you are SURE that English-major guy has exactly the same background as you (Do you know whether he has other advantages? At least English is his advantage).

2.If you don't have strong programming experience as described above in "Student oriented" section, say, you had just ever made small programs in C or foxbase or assembly language, and you join the adv.java course, generally you must study very very hard IN and AFTER class, and the effect depends. In this case, I suggest you try VB/ASP courses or network admin courses or ORACLE courses, or take a basic java course first.

3.If you don't have ANY programming knowledge(Note: being familiar with using Win95 or MS-WORD or some other application software does not count as programming knowledge!), but want to enter computer software area, I suggest you consider college or university. DON'T believe the story that colleges and universities teach something useless and it is difficult for the graduates to find jobs. Actually colleges and universities will teach you enough knowledge and skills from the very beginning, enough for you to find a job, unless you are lazy or stupid.

4.Most schools allow free trial in the first few classes. If you are not sure about your qualification, try at least two classes(three would be better) before you pay, make sure you can follow. Don't just try the first class and then make decision, because the first class usually reviews the basic java and is quite easy for any one. I ever attended the second class of a adv.java course in which the lecturer was explaining "final" and primitive data type of java carefully.

5.Don't expect to master all of advanced java technologies. Two months are just enough for learning one topic in depth, but now you must scan through all topics and push the key words into your brain for interview. Don't expect you can complete a real project (no matter what they said in advertisements), two months are even not enough for learning. You must join for job seeking, not learning!!! Moreover, if there are some unqualified students in the class, the teacher would have to make the class much easier and then you will get less.

6.You must be a good student because the teacher may not be a good teacher(many of them usually are good programmers but don't know the best way to organize the topic and teach). You must listen to what he says as well as what he does not say. Study hard and practice hard after class. There won't be assignments or exams to push you.

7.(This point is Refering to Don Xiong and Cindy Zhuang's opinions) Please don't cheat the interviewers. Don't tell them you have 2 year experience working in Canada if you don't have. Just tell them you participated and finished a co-op project in a training school and the project succeeded, and show them the java skills you learned in the adv.java course. If you are good enough to handle that job, you can get that job by just telling the truth. If you are not qualified to handle that job, cheating does not help.

8.Study hard at English, especially oral English. It will be definitely help in your interviews.

9.Finally, don't believe beautiful tales. No pain, no gain!!!

Good luck to all Chinese immigrants!(including myself, of course. ^_^ )

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2000-7-27 -05:00
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