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Dominic Ross
Dominic Ross

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DevOps-Minus 1 Day - What is a Skills Bootcamp?

Have you ever wanted to do a Skills Bootcamp, but thought it would be too expensive or too demanding? I have. In a little over 24 hours, I will be starting my DevOps Journey with Purple Beard Training Ltd and be (virtually) meeting my camp-mates. I’m very excited, but also a little nervous because I don’t know what to expect. That’s why I’ve decided to write this blog and a series as an introduction to any future BootCamp takers.

I learnt about the skills BootCamp scheme funded by the Government's’ National Skills Fund through my partner sending me a link to an Open University course called DevNet Skills.

I’d never heard of DevOps before, but I was aware of terms they were using such as Agile, and CCNA (I had previously tried to complete the CCNA some years previous). As I read through the website, I became more and more interested as the description of the course was very much on my level. I applied and waited to hear back.

And waited… I applied for the course around mid-August of 2021. I didn’t hear anything for a long time. By late September, I took to Twitter to chat with their online presence there. They gave me an email address to try. Eventually, someone from their social media team reached out on Direct Message to help.

I received an email from the team dealing with this course on September 29th. They had to postpone the course because they had so many applications (around 1000 for 20 places), they couldn’t sift through all of them. I eventually heard back that I hadn’t been chosen.

At first, I was despondent. Especially as the day I received the email, I’d had a bad day at work and was in a lot of pain. But I didn’t give up. I decided to go back further and look at the whole driving force behind it: The National Skills Fund.

What is the National Skills Fund?:

The National Skills Fund will help adults to train and gain the valuable skills they need to improve their job prospects.

  • Website

The National Skills Fund (NSF) is a campaign by the UK government to help adults to learn new skills and retrain and find a job that will, inevitably, help the UK economy grow. The NSF is aimed at “anyone over 19 in work, self-employed, furloughed, recently left work or looking to return to work”. So, pretty much anyone? Well, there are some additional criteria for certain courses. For example, to be eligible for my course, you had to be all of the above and live in the Midlands or East Anglia.

I was amazed to find that The Open University was not the only institution to offer a course. There were over a hundred courses dotted about the country with big universities and independent providers. And not just in coding, but in Construction, Engineering and Manufacturing, Green skills and rail. This blog will only cover one digital skill BootCamp, however.

Screenshot of the skills list

It took me several days, but I eventually found one with a company called Purple Beard Training Ltd. I did some research to see what they were like and I liked the sound of the company and the course they had available. They had two for my area, Data Science and DevOps. Because I’d taken an interest in DevOps, I opted for that one.

I filled in the form and waited to hear back. Thankfully, the wait was much shorter than with the Open University, and I had a call with one of their advisors on one of my days off. We had a little chat and she agreed I sounded ideal for the course. She sent me the details via email and within the week I was confirmed on the course.

Tomorrow, that course starts. I’m really looking forward to meeting some of my campmates and the instructors. I’ve already had a pre-course induction, where we went over some of the basics and had a chance to ask questions about tech and skills we needed

I have since been signed up to their Office365 server and our Teams classroom is set up and waiting.

Screenshot of our MS Teams chat groups

I will be writing more posts about the first weeks of the course and hope that it helps someone else who may want to take up a skills BootCamp. Once my training is finished, I hope to get a job as a DevOps engineer, and at that point, my blog will evolve to be my digital presence online.

Next time, I'll tell you what I did to prepare for my time on a skills bootcamp.

I hope you found this article useful. If so, please give me a like and a follow, don't hesitate to share it on Twitter or Facebook and/or drop me a comment on what you'd like to know about skills bootcamps or what I should write about next.

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