General Linux Training

Stuart Jansen sjansen at
Thu Mar 8 22:22:31 MST 2007

On Thu, 2007-03-08 at 21:25 -0700, Brandon Stout wrote:
> I don't think any training is worth that much.  If you add the cost for
> 4 years to get my BS degree, plus 2 more for my MS degree, I don't think
> it comes to $60,000.  Perhaps, if you want to spend that much on
> training, you should just pay for everyone to get a degree...  Seriously
> though, a degree for 30 people would obviously run much higher than
> $60,000.  My real point is that you should get much more than a course
> or two of training for $2,000 per head.  I bet some PLUG members would
> happily train for much less.  From one non-profit agency to another. 
> Does government subsidized count as non-profit?

It's all a question of time and quality. As they say, time is money.
Alternatively, you can save money by accepting lower quality.

It took me roughly a year to teach myself everything covered in the
GL120, but it didn't cost me anything. Unfortunately, most companies
don't have that kind of time. PLUG members are not the ideal market for
training. We tend to spend a disproportionate amount of time exploring
technology. Most people who seek training want more guidance. Most
often, they're experienced employees with a wealth of institutional
knowledge too valuable to lose but a need to transition quickly to
something new.

Quality is a notorious problem in the tech training world. I've seen
really lousy training, and I've seen really effective training. The
simple fact is, high quality isn't cheap. Good people need a reason to
train instead of taking high paying programming or system administration
jobs. Good people are also incredibly hard to find. A good trainer needs
technical skills, people skills and a willingness to accepts the
disadvantages of the job.

I bet some PLUG member would happily train for much less... until he sat
down and started calculating ramp up costs and overhead.

A group of 30 is too large for a single class, it'd require at least two
classes for everyone to have a worthwhile experience. Either two weeks
or two instructors. Most of the time that means two rental cars, two
round-trip airplane tickets (airlines make it a point to charge more for
behavior indicating a passenger is probably traveling for business), two
hotel rooms, two room rentals at a local training center, etc. To say
nothing of income to cover weeks without training, insurance, taxes,
office space and other forms of overhead.

You would be amazed how much work it is to update a single training
manual, let alone write one from scratch. The hard part isn't collecting
facts and putting them in a logical order, the hard part is creating
hands on labs. The hard part isn't getting up in front of a bunch of
people and rambling for a few hours, the hard part is being able to
respond to student questions and manage a room full of people with
widely varied capability. Think about it, if it were so easy any
freelancer with a handful of O'Reilly books could easily beat $2000 a

As always, anything and everything I say reflects my own opinion and
personal experience, not the opinion of my employer.

Stuart Jansen              e-mail/jabber: sjansen at
                           google talk:   stuart.jansen at

"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at 
the results." -- Winston Churchill
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