Original Date: 06/02/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Boot Camp Training Approach
ABC Virtual Communications, Inc. responded to an urgent need to bring 20 software developers quickly up-to- speed in Java skills by developing an intensive five-week training Boot Camp in Java and related technologies. The solution was extremely successful as measured by public opinion, student evaluations, and final testing of students.
ABC Virtual Communications, Inc.(ABCV) faced a need for 20 additional Java developers in a short period of time. Software engineers in the U.S. are typically attracted to the East and West coasts or other large cities, and Iowa companies find it difficult to attract this talent. The company chose to develop this talent by enhancing the skills of its own developers. Unfortunately, sending them to software development classes would require multiple classes to cover the required topics at considerable cost in tuition and time. Travel expenses would be significant because classes in the required subjects were not available in Iowa at that time. Instead, ABCV chose to develop a specialized curriculum with a training consultant and deliver an intensive five-week training Boot Camp in Java and related technologies in Des Moines, IA.
Several senior technical staff met with their training coordinator to draft a curriculum to meet their needs. They then had to find trainers who would tailor their courses to meet the company’s specific needs. This also allowed the incorporation of ABCV proprietary skills into the course. Conference interviews with training companies and trainers were used to find trainers with the appropriate background, education, and sense of humor to hold everyone’s attention for five weeks. The five-week course covered 25 topics and was split into 30% classroom instruction and 70% hands-on lab experience. Table 2-1, Java Boot Camp Outline, shows the course outline for the Boot Camp. Homework was assigned on evenings and weekends. Weekly evaluations were completed by the students on what they learned and on the instructors. Students received tests and evaluations by the instructors followed by an individual in-house final project to gauge the results of the Boot Camp.
The cost to send 20 developers to publicly available software courses was estimated at $375,000. The Java Boot Camp provided more specialized training, in a shorter period of time, at a total cost of $140,000. In addition, a training grant from the State of Iowa covered half of this cost. ABCV received an unexpected promotional benefit from the unusual training provided to its employees, and received an influx of resumes from prospective developers interested in attending the Java Boot Camp. ABCV consultants gained the latest technological training in Java and related technologies, putting them ahead of their competitors.
Table 2-1. Java Boot Camp Outline
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