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I currently don't have any qualifications in any form of web development (except an A-Level in ICT). I started working for a web development company 4 years ago and have finally been given the chance to go on courses.

My manager doesn't have much of a technical knowledge, so has left it to me to decide whether the course he wants to put me on is worthwhile. From your experience, is the following course a worthwhile and credible course to take in helping improve my skills in ASP.NET/SQL?

http://www.cvision.co.uk/realcbt/mcpd-asp-dot-net-35-csharp.htm

Or, can you recommend similar alternatives?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I would strongly recommend against spending a lot of money on a course in ASP.NET 3.5.

Even if you're working with 3.5 now, it would be far better to study and get certified in 4.0 - it covers all the old material too, and doesn't leave you a version behind the times.

I can't recommend any particular training in the UK, though, sorry.

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1  
Thanks for your response. I'm also not keen on learning in VS2008 when I'm already using VS2010 at the moment. –  Curt May 23 '11 at 11:17

Most training courses are garbage and most certifications are worse than useless, at least here in the States.

Most people I know who are in positions where they interview and hire will actually see a number of certifications on a resume for a software engineer and put them on the bottom of the pile. Any idiot can memorize the answer, thats not what employers are looking for. They either want somebody who has worthwhile experience and can demonstrate and articulate knowledge and experience, or an entry-level who is really bright, open-minded and can quickly pick up on new things.

It has been my experience in interviewing as well that most (there were a few exceptions...) software engineers I have met that had a list of certifications were embarassingly bad.

Training at worst would be a waste of time and money but a certification might actually hurt your chances of finding a job. If I were you I would convince your boss to spend this money on books, reference manuals and give you a few extra hours a week to experiment and play with new technologies. You will be happier learning new skills and your boss will likely be happier spending considerably less.

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Apparently his manager does and since he is the key factor in giving this promotion, I'd go along with it. –  JeffO May 23 '11 at 11:37
    
@Curt, Do what you feel is best. I may be bigoted, wrong and possibly immoral in my opinion but seeing as how I and most others I have encountered in my career have the same opinion on this matter, it can unfortunately be the truth. –  maple_shaft May 23 '11 at 11:58
    
Cheers for your response @maple_shaft. It's reassuring to know the fact I don't have any qualifications in the industry isnt a huge factor. However, I feel that because I'm self-taught I've missed a lot of basic principles that I should know. For example, I've read books on ASP.NET, but they don't go indepth about OOP etc. I suppose I could always read a book on OOP, but then are there other points I'm missing too. –  Curt May 23 '11 at 12:40
    
@Curt, I am going to guess and say that you don't have the benefit of working with senior developers. You would benefit MOST in your career path by having a mentor. Its not good for somebody with less than 4 years experience to be on his own like this. I understand this very well, my first job out of school was writing a web app for my friends, step-dads company and I had no mentor to teach me the finer points. Your in a good situation though being mostly self taught that can be a great selling point as a junior developer. It shows motivation and drive. I would hire you over a kid with certs. –  maple_shaft May 23 '11 at 13:21
    
Thanks @maple_shaft. You're correct that I've never had a more senior developer to mentor me. I've trained myself up and am now classed as 'Lead' with juniors beneath me. But I don't have the confidence due to never having someone to reassure me im following best practice etc –  Curt May 23 '11 at 13:28

I would also agree with maple_shaft's comments for the most part. I would not go as far as to agree that it can hurt your chances in the future ( you can simply leave that off your resume ) it also might not help it. The course is going to teach you a great deal if you don't already know or know how to find microsoft's "best way" approach to do something.

There are indeed books, language netural books even, that teach OOP concepts. If you want to take the course, be sure you take the current 4.0 course, as other mentioned the 3.5 course is less useful now.

My suggestion would also be to purchase your own training material. The certifications while they won't hurt your career, the knowlege you gain from taking the exam, can be learned from books.

This was to long for a comment.

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For a fraction of that cost you can pick up some decent (probably better) books on ASP.NET and SQL. Check reviews on Amazon to see which books may suit your level.

For a training course, prefer general software development/architecture courses, the skills from which will always be relevant; rather than technology specific courses, the skills from which will become dated often before you get to use the technology for real.

Given your apparent lack of any formal training in software development, perhaps a course such as Enterprise Software Developer would be more useful and provide a solid base from which to learn specific technologies.

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