Observations on the in-person portion of the ColdFusion Specialist program.
So the in person portion of the specialist program was during the pre-conference day of the ColdFusion Summit. The first tip I can give is to get there early if you are doing the specialist program. Adobe sprung for some pretty sweet hoodies for those in the program. They have Adobe ColdFusion Specialist stitched on the front with the Adobe logo on the arms. Unfortunately, I did not get there in time for my size but a friend at the conference graciously gave me his. I cannot say if they will have these at the next offering but I’ would take a shot as it is better than your day to day swag.
So that being said, there were, I think, four rooms of people going for the certification and a different instructor led each group. During the keynote, Adobe said over 100 people got their certifications so there were many people taught that first day. So my experiences and observations will differ from those in the other sessions. I know Nolan, who did the videos, did one session but I did not get into that one. People in his stated that the modern slant was continued, a person in the other said they were flying through, and I did not talk to anyone in the last one. In retrospect, I am wondering if there was a fourth at all and I just misheard or assumed. The exact number does not really matter in the grand scheme. I think the instructor one had definitely did affect the content. For my instructor the main goal of the day was to get through the content and not to advocate one style over the other or dwell on advocating something as best practice. Occasionally there would be do this and not that but not to the level of Nolan’s video content.
My instructor started out with a brief overview of what was to be covered and it was all the same content as on the videos, including some of the content that I mentioned in my last post as having directories in the course files but no video content. He did note that if something was going to be on the exam he was going to explicitly state it and tell us to write it down. That was our first indication that yes there is an exam we have to pass. The exam is multiple choice and consists of 40 questions, which are randomly drawn from a pool of 100 questions. Our instructor went through the exam the night before so had a fresh view of the content. Based on what we were told to “write down” it was definitely going to be one of those “gotcha” type exams where you will have to pay attention to the wording of the questions and know some obscure references. For example, he said several times that arrays were colored green when dumped and structs were blue and to “write that down”. That did not come up on the exam thankfully because if that actually matters to know there is something wrong.
ColdFusion Builder finally made an appearance as the instructor’s editor of choice. There were no questions on it and from what I gathered; no other instructor used it. For our section, and the way it was taught, it felt more slanted to a new CF developer than the videos were. Tags and scripts were both shown but the instructor felt like more of a tag person since those seemed to be shown first and the script was more of an addendum. We were told that whichever format you prefer would not matter for the test.
There is another edition of the course files specific to the in-person session in the Github repository (https://github.com/southofshasta/coldfusion-training) in a branch titled “liveClassV2019. I downloaded these files and they worked right out of the box. I talked to Nolan later and he said that these files were setup for the in person session and not for the videos. However, even with a new version the instructor still had some coding issues while they were walking through so there are still some revisions needed. I think he mentioned they were just finished up a few days before the course so probably not extensively QA’d.
The instructor went very fast as there was a lot to cram into just a single day. So in that sense if someone is brand new the content, it went so quickly they could get lost more due to speed than understanding. Even with the quick pace we didn’t get through everything in our session which impacted the coverage of the OOP sections to just being a list of what you should know. The security section that was missing in the videos was also last during the day and was barely touched on. To the point that we covered only a few of the topics on security out of the ones listed. The very first question on my exam was on security and on a topic we skipped right over so know when to use sessionRotate(). PDFs were also just given as a list of know this for the exam as we were out of time.
There was instructions that you needed a computer and to have it setup and ready to go but in the end the only need for the computer was to be able to take the exam at the end of the day online. You will not need to do any coding or specifically follow along on your computer, at least in my case.
That is about it for the live segment of the specialist program. It was good in that it was a reiteration of the videos but would have been nice to get the chance to do some coding as well. Since the goal was to try to get through everything again in person I can see why we could not do that. In that sense, since we went back over everything, there is the possibility of not watching the videos since it was all gone through again and still have been ok for the exam. The in person was not an extension of the original content but a reiteration of it.
One more post to go where I just talk about the exam itself.