Recently I went to another Java programming boot camp:
Actually, Sun (creators of Java, sellers of Java training) officially calls them "Java[tm] Technology Fast Track Programs". However, I think the "boot camp" nickname fits. They condense two regular (40 hr) weeks down into one week (60 hrs, 7am-7pm for 5 days), and more or less force Java programming knowledge into your brain through sheer volume. They're supposed to be ideal for programmers, meaning they're not there to teach you programming in general, but just the specifics of programming in Java.
I think they're actually only ideal for people who don't need sleep, or a topic-change. I'm not sure if I've ever met such people, but if I ever do, and if they turn out to have an interest in programming, I'll definitely recommend these courses to them.
Here is Tony, my co-worker and co-boot-camper, arriving to pick me up for the last time! He's clearly in good spirits, as am I. We went through the first boot camp at the same time, too, and the whole thing turned out to be a bonding experience.
The boot camps are notorious for the snacks and food and drinks they provide. We got catered breakfast and lunch every day. On Friday morning, it was cinnamon rolls. (I think they're so indulgent with the food because of the steep price for the course, fortunately covered by our company in this case. I think they want us to love the boot camps, and recommend them to our friends, so that they can recommend it to their friends, etc. It's a good theory, I suppose. ("Hey, dude, guess where you can get all-you-can-eat donuts? ...") But with all of that sitting in chairs, I'm not sure I really needed all the extra food. I'll have to do a few extra sessions on the bike to make up for it.)
This was my side of the classroom. Joel The Instructor is currently sitting in my seat trying to figure out why his project won't compile properly on our machines. Tony and Tsung are programming Java they just learned.
Here is the other side of the classroom. That's Ozgur in the front, Grandin in the second row on the right, and the guy thinking so hard in the middle is Pass. Are we a studious, bunch or what?
Grandin had a great smile:
What's for lunch? Pizza, of course.
Here is a very happy Tony, very happily consuming his pizza. Sorry about the out-of-focus face in this one. But I think if you'll look closely, you'll see what that's all about. My camera does auto-focusing, and it was clearly more interested in the pizza than in Tony.
Tony and I attending the same class meant our whole team was out for a week at work. So at lunch every day, we used the very handy analog telephone lines to dial in with our laptops and check email. I figure that won us some brownie points for giving 110% and going the extra mile, far above and beyond the call of duty. But just in case that didn't do it, I took these shots so that our bosses would be able to see documented evidence of how hard we work. You can tell from our body language that these totally were not staged or posed or set up just for the purpose of these shots. We're getting our hands dirty, working in the trenches, getting elbow grease all over everything. Yup.
Tony took this picture. I like it because you can tell I'm thinking hard. I'm very seriously thinking hard. I'm very seriously thinking hard about how hard thinking is... seriously.
Here is some hard evidence that I totally understood how to number the arrows in the "CMP Entity Bean Exercise" right off the bat, the very first time I tried to do it, and not later, after trying, failing, then having it re-explained to me:
Here is Tony with Syed The Instructor at the end of the day. Syed taught the first half of the second boot camp, and all of the first one. We thought he was awesome. (Joel was great, too. He's the Enterprise Java Beans Guy. He knows all about them. If you're wondering what's going on with EJBs, ask Joel.)
This is my favorite picture of the week. It's not perfectly focused because we're all different distances from the lens. And I should have turned the camera more in Ozgur's direction, so I could have gotten Syed in the shot. Nevertheless, it's my favorite anyway, because we all look so genuinely happy. (Maybe because we're all happy guys, or maybe, perhaps, possibly, because the week was finally over.) In the center is Joel, on the right, Tony and I, and on the left, Ozgur.
Here, Syed works on copying floppie disk material for us so we can leave, and Ozgur smiles some more. Actually, as you can sort of see, Syed is smiling, too (because he knows I'm taking pictures).
Finally, this pic very nicely conveys the state of my brain at the end of the week. There's Java in there now, but it's kind of fuzzy:
Comments on original posting on zderek:
2002-05-07 02:30 am
Its all about Java with you isn't it? :)
Seriously that course looks awesome. For my own curiosity and comparison. How much do you actually feel you've used from you course during the few weeks its been over? Does the percentage of knowlede retained drop drastically.
I know that I finish off week long couses like that totally pumped. And then I get back to work and slowly don't use what I learned. And so eventually I end up going "Hrm, well I know I learned a way to do that in my course. I think it has something to do with this thing over here. But if I actually want to write any code I am going to have to crack open some of my books for some review time."
None of my courses were that intense though. They're usually 4 days for 7 hours a day.
2002-05-16 11:25 am
I feel the courses were both worth the money ($5000 each), provided it was my employer who was paying for it. :-)
My feeling about "immersion" language training is that it doesn't necessarily mean you get to be fluent any sooner if you don't use what you learned and reinforce it with follow-up experience. But during the time you're immersing, you can get to a higher temporary level of understanding than if you were taking another route. I think that can be helpful if you do spend time later reinforcing your knowledge.
It's not for everyone. Before the first class, I was very worried I wouldn't be able to hack it, that it would be too hard, too much intense focus in too short a time, etc. But by the end of the week, I was pleasantly surprised. The second one, by comparison, was much easier, much more relaxing, partly because I knew I could do it going in, and partly because I had so much more context because of the first class and the things I'd done since then.
[Caveat emptor. Your mileage may vary. Don't try this at home. Programmers in this video are professionally trained. And stuff. :-)]