Recently, I went to Manchester City Centre to take part in an Umbraco Level 2 certification course: a two day course run by Darren Ferguson. Darren is an Umbraco gold partner and official training provider, and the owner of a firm called Moriyama, who specialise in building Umbraco websites and applications, as well as providing training and support services... and with Level 2 training a speciality of theirs, I was looking forward to the day. The course was held at the very stylish The Studio on Manchester's Lever Street, which proved to be a relaxing and comfortable environment right in the heart of Manchester's city centre in which to spend two days.
The two days were spent covering everything I needed to know to pass the Level 2 Certification: the integration of existing .NET systems, customisation using Microsoft Visual Studio, .NET controls in macros and using the brand new Event model to programme events in Umbraco. It really was an extensive course that taught me everything I needed to know and more, from Dynamic Node and debugging to Macros and Membership, highlighting just how useful and versatile Umbraco can be for any developer.
One Awesome Umbraco Teacher
Darren really was an amazing Umbraco teacher, and I can't praise or recommend him highly enough. The course material in itself was fantastic - it covered a lot of ground and was very clear and precise - but it was Darren's leadership that really made the two days great. He demonstrated all of the skills and qualities that a good teacher should have: he was very approachable, and always willing to offer assistance and explain things in more detail when needed. It was quite refreshing to be taking part in a course where every participant was encouraged to interact and to question things, and to feel like we could ask "stupid questions" without worrying about what both other participants and Darren himself would think. This is a man who obviously has a huge amount of experience in training others, and does so without being condescending - a true skill!
Not only did we enjoy a fantastic location, great course material and a top notch teacher, but the course also included free stickers! You really can't go wrong with free stickers, which encourage sharing and add an element of fun. Stickers really aren't just for kids - they're great for brightening up the office, notepads and anything else you want... and we've actually got some spares (along with AgeBase stickers) if anyone would like some!
It's sometimes a little daunting going on an external training course, as you have no idea in advance as to who you're going to be spending your time with. Luckily for me, the other people taking part in this training were fantastic - both from a professional and a personal point of view. It's always good to spend time talking to other people who are passionate about Umbraco, and the two days gave us the chance to bounce ideas off each other. On a personal level, the after training drinks were great fun: we didn't get home until 12, and I couldn't speak after 7!
I've also got to mention the food during my Manchester trip - the city's Northern Quarter has some truly amazing restaurants, and if you want a cracking burger when you're there, then you can't go wrong with a trip to Solita on Turner Street. Although completely unconnected to the Umbraco course, it was just another tick in a long list of things which made the Umbraco Manchester course truly exceptional for me.