PHP and Git Training Course Dates

I've had a little flurry of enquiries about training lately, so I thought I'd mention the courses I have coming up, as especially the PHP ones are topics that I don't run public classes on all that often. At the time of writing I have some space on all of these classes: Continue reading

Upcoming Git Courses

Three git courses are coming up in the next few weeks, and a few people have asked me which courses I'm running, so here's a quick roundup (feel free to drop me a line if you need any more detail):

  • Dublin, 30th January: Git and GitHub Foundations
  • Dublin, 31st January: Git and GitHub Advanced
  • London, 6th February: Git for Teams

I have fantastic partners for these events: the Dublin ones are with Github and the London ones with FLOSSUK, and I look forward to both. Right now they all do still have places remaining, visit my courses page for the links you need to book. Training days are a great opportunity to boost your skills and discuss specific aspects of technology that you can't really get from a textbook - hope to see you at one of these sessions, I am standing by for difficult questions :)

The Mathematics of Recruitment and Training

The PHP jobs market is hot, very many people find it hard to recruit the skilled staff that they need to achieve the goals of their organisation. I meet a wide variety of organisations in this technology space, and they all tell me the same story: it's really difficult to get good, qualified people. And I believe that this is true, I know plenty of developers too and although I'll usually try to put people in touch where it makes sense to do so, it's not as if there is a great reservoir of hidden PHP talent somewhere.

This isn't a rant about salaries, the skills of new graduates, or the trials of dealing with recruiters, although each of those is worth a post in itself. It's about the mathematics of providing your organisation with the talent it needs at the time that it needs it. Continue reading

Teaching Those Beginning The Journey

Becoming a master developer is like becoming a master craftsman; you just can't rush the process. You learn the basics, apply those skills, and over time master them and adapt them to be your own. As time goes on, you take on bigger and more complicated tasks, and apply appropriate skills to those, and so on. Our journey as developers is really much the same and yet sometimes I feel that we don't help those at the very start of the journey as much as we could. Continue reading

PHP for Drupalistas

There's an exciting new venture coming up soon - something I've been working on with Emma Jane for a while (yes, Lorna Jane and Emma Jane, we know) - it's called phpfordevelopers.com. From the site:

This spring Emma Jane and Lorna Jane were chatting about PHP and Drupal and workshops and came to the conclusion that Drupal developers were not necessarily equipped for Drupal 8. With all of the Drupalisms in the Drupal code, it can sometimes be difficult to implement code that is both a Drupal best practice and a PHP best practice. While there are many workshops on how to teach PHP developers how to Drupal, there were no workshops teaching Drupal developers how to PHP. Until now!

My theory is that most developers working with CMSes like Drupal think they don't know much PHP ... but of course they actually know quite a lot! The newer versions make more use of OOP and new PHP features, but nothing that's really rocket science (although the symfony components are very nice). This course is a chance for us to give a more solid grounding to those skills that developers just pick up along the way, and give some time to master those skills in a safe environment. Continue reading

5 Things To Do With A Training Budget of Zero

Training budgets are never generous enough to give us everything we think we need to keep our skill sets improving, however many people will be lucky enough to get something. If your training budget totals precisely zero pounds (or euros, or dollars, or whatever your local currency is), what do you do? Sulk until they give you something more? Or make the most of what you have? Continue reading

Upcoming PHP Courses

Since becoming freelance 18 months ago, I've taught a number of courses at my excellent local tech training centre, NTI Leeds. Over the next few months we're running some one-day PHP courses (see my course dates page for more detail and the dates, all these are in Leeds although I'd like to run them elsewhere too), targeted at a particular area or set of skills. These are areas that I find myself delivering consultancy or training on frequently, or things I teach when I go places and realise these gaps exist in their knowledge. Does this match your experiences of "things I wish PHP developers knew - including me"? Continue reading

Why I Love Unconferences

I'm seeing increasing numbers of unconferences popping up and I must say I'm quite enjoying them. Last year I went to OggCamp, we included an unconference at DPC, and now there's a PHP-specific event coming up in Manchester: PHP Unconference Europe or phpuceu. I really like unconferences but I think sometimes people don't know what to expect, so here's an outline.

Continue reading

Printable PDF Handouts from OpenOffice Impress

Last week I was preparing a training course for a client, and I wanted to print the slides nicely for the attendees to refer to and make notes on etc. The slides were done, I'd talked to my friendly printers (Mailboxes etc in Leeds) and all I needed to do was generate the handouts. Which was fine until I googled for help with doing that from OpenOffice, only to find that although it has this awesome "Export to PDF" functionality for documents, slides, etc, it wasn't going to do it for handouts.

I'm an ubuntu user, and it turns out that there's a clever package called cups-pdf which installs a pretend printer, and anything you could print, you can turn into a PDF. Brilliant. I installed it with aptitude and instantly I had a printer named "PDF" which printed to a /home/lorna/PDF directory.

Did I mention I love ubuntu?

I also wanted to add a cover page to my document, before I sent the whole thing to the printers in a PDF file for them to print and bind. For this I simply created an OpenOffice document and used the usual export to PDF. By the magic of twitter, I got some great advice from EmmaJane and installed the package PDFShuffler which enabled me to combine the two documents and save the result as a PDF.

DSCF2526.JPG

By the magic of open source, I have beautiful handouts :) Printing in Linux really has come a long way, I can't thank the developers and maintainers of all those libraries enough - all I did was install two packages!

PHP Training Courses from Ibuildings

Ibuildings (my employers) have announced their public courses in the UK - this is very exciting as its been in the planning for a while and of course it means more people can be using PHP to build excellent applications. There are more details on the Ibuildings site of the courses and dates available.

Our classroom training is a bit different in that we send one of our real, live software developers to come along and teach the course. I actually really enjoy doing training as part of my day job rather than as a separate job that I do instead, because I actively do the thing I'm trying to teach and find it easy to think of good examples of when a particular thing does or does not work. If you're thinking of getting some PHP training, then have a look at the courses.