The winner of Firebrand's first-ever Free Training For Life competition was Joseph Guthrie. At the time of winning, Joseph was an End-User Support Executive at The Cloud, based in St Albans.
As mentioned in video, Joseph did go onto complete EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker course that he had dreamed of. Since then, he’s sat the Microsoft MCSD: Web Applications and Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) Java SE 7 & Professional Java SE 7 Programmer Certification (OCPJP) courses and had this to say of his experiences:
Microsoft MCSD: Web Applications (9 days) 22/09/2015 to 24/09/2015 - “Though the exams were much harder than I anticipated and the coursework exposed just how little I knew about technology like Model-View-Controller and Windows Communication Foundation, I really enjoyed the instructor's teaching style and genuinely feel like I can tackle the MCSD in a much shorter time frame than I ever dreamed of doing. Intense as the program is, I can definitely say that I'm not leaving here empty handed.”
Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) Java SE 7 & Professional Java SE 7 Programmer Certification (OCPJP) (6 days) 24/4/2006 to 29/4/2006 - “This is my third course with Firebrand and each time, it’s been an enriching experience. Though I found that I was out of my depth in the OCA/OCPJP course, the instructor was extremely patient, provided excellent tutelage, and encouraged me to continue pursuing the qualifications. He helped me plan a good course of attack in terms of what other courses I can take to prepare for my eventual retake of OCA/OCPJP and also what things I can do in my spare time to really come to grips with Java as a programming language.
That is the beauty of these courses. Extreme in their preparation, but even if you don't get the qualification first time, you never walk away empty handed. I feel even more confident that when I return in a few months’ time, I will pass the OCA and possibly the OCPJP and I have absolutely brilliant instructors - to thank for that, in due course.”
We caught up with Joseph at the beginning of 2016 to see how winning Free Training For Life (FTFL) was helping boost his career:
Q: What has been the best thing about winning Free Training For Life so far?
A: I think the best thing about winning FTFL at a minimum is the opportunity to learn important skills and information that would usually come at an exorbitant cost. FTFL isn’t just an opportunity to be qualified beyond your wildest dreams, it’s an opportunity to really lay down the rails for a new track in IT. FTFL has truly made it possible for me to do just about anything I want. It’s invaluable to my future successes.
Q: What course(s) have you sat since winning Free Training For Life?
A:I have sat the Certified Ethical Hacker, MCSD: Web Applications, and Oracle Certified Java Associate & Oracle Certified Java Programmer courses.
Q: How have those courses helped you and your career?
A: I long to become more than just a hobbyist where development is concerned and I also want to be more well-versed where IT security is concerned. I’m still on my journey to adding ‘developer’ and ‘IT security professional’ to my CV but the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired thus far has certainly made me a more well-rounded IT professional.
Q: What courses would you like to do with Free Training For Life in the future and why?
A: This year, I plan on using the prize to take on qualifications that I know that I can get first time around. I plan on registering for the ITIL Foundation, CompTIA A+ & Network+, and MCSE: Server Infrastructure courses. Time allowing, I’d love to be able to sit the MCSA: SQL Server course as well as the Amazon Web Services course, as that will come in handy for future projects at work.
Q: How has Free Training For Life affected your plans and aims for the future?
A: FTFL has given me the freedom to set out longer-term plans without having to do serious number-crunching. I can actually lean on the old adage “hard work and persistence pays off” and know that soon I will achieve what I set out to achieve: becoming a developer, doing a stint in IT security, and then moving into managerial roles.
Q: What is the most useful thing you have learnt after sitting a course with Free Training For Life?
A: The OCA/OCJP course was easily the most intense and hardest course I’ve done so far but the Java language – something that I’ve been teaching myself on and off over a few years – has become a bit easier to understand. One of my goals this year is to publish a mobile app on Android and since taking the course and going over the coursework again and again, things seem a lot less hard to understand and implement into my own work.
Q: What advice would you give to future winners of Free Training For Life?
A: To the future winners of Free Training for Life: go forth and realise your dreams but don’t stick your nose up at doing the things you’re already quite confident about! A qualification is a qualification and even though you might know something like the back of your hand, you’re not doing something purely for the sake of doing it. You’ll be walking out of there with more than just bragging rights. FTFL is a major privilege. Take full advantage.
Q: Is there anything unexpected about Free Training For Life that has been a benefit to you?
A: Not quite yet but I’m looking forward to discovering it!
For your chance to win Free Training For Life, enter here