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My name is Philip Watts-Charnley and I come from Grange-over-Sands in the UK...

Philip Watts Charnley (United Kingdom), MCSE: Messaging 2003;Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) 11 Oct to 30 Oct 2007

My name is Philip Watts-Charnley and I come from Grange-over-Sands in the UK. I am currently the IT Technical Manager for an IT support company based just outside Liverpool.

I have been working in IT since 1983. I have various qualifications in IT from UK universities in addition to a degree in law. I had never really considered vendor qualifications from Microsoft, Cisco, etc. However, a quick search through the IT jobs websites and the value of having vendor
certification is soon learned.

I initially heard about Koenig via an article in The Guardian newspaper. It had not really occured to me to do training outside the UK, and India really had not crossed my mind as a possible location.

I chose to do MCSE and CCNA in Delhi. I chose MCSE because the majority of installations I am involved with in my work are based on the Microsoft platform. I did not want to travel over 4,000 miles to do one qualification so I chose to do CCNA while I was here. Why Delhi? I thought Goa, being a tourist centre, would be distracting and Shimla in the mountains would also pull me from my studies, for different reasons. I hoped Delhi would be the environment in which I could concentrate on my studies. I was right.

I stayed at the Rangoli Park Hotel which Koenig grades as budget. It is situated in a busy square surrounded by shops and restaurants and overlooking a pretty park in the square's centre. Every morning we were picked up from the hotel by Koenig and taken to their centre by car and droppedback each evening. The journeys were quite exciting. Drivers in Delhi have never really
decided which way they should go around roundabouts and traffic lights are, it would appear, only advisory. Pedestrians, oxen, rickshaws, buses and cars can form five lines of traffic on a two lane
road. I seriously believe that the drivers of Delhi believe that the only thing that makes a car unroadworthy is if the horn does not work. Having said that, Koenig's drivers are skillful in this
chaos and we always arrived safely.

The hotel itself is basic but clean and having an inside room I was insulated from car horns, barking dogs and fireworks in the street. The rooms are air conditioned, en-suite, they have a small refrigerator and there are around 70 channels of television including sports, news in
English and American films. Food in the hotel is vegetarian but if you feel you need a bit of meat there is a selection of places to eat nearby. Also Dominos, McDonalds and others will deliver to your room if you give them a ring. I found the staff at the hotel to be friendly but English is
not their strong suite.

This is all very well, but what is training with Koenig like? Very hard work. Do not go if you think you will turn up during the day and then spend the evenings and weekends exploring the more exotic locations that Delhi has to offer. It is six day weeks with studying in the hotel room
in the evenings. I found that I needed to spend my Sundays working just to be prepared for the exams which come around very quickly. My trainers were knowledgable and supportive, I was given a tower of books and lots of supporting materials on my laptop computer. The highest student to trainer ratio I have seen is 3 to 1. The centre's computers are not the latest models but they were not in short supply and worked as they should. The day I was due to start my Cisco course I arrived to find a huge pile of routers, switches and cables all ready for my trainer and I to dive into the course materials straightaway.

Finally, would I study with Koenig again? I think that is likely. Next time I would risk the distraction of the Himalayas. The traffic, dust, pollution and daily reminders of terrible poverty make Delhi a challenging place to stay for an extended period of time. On the other hand I have
passed every exam that I have taken. It has been very hard work but an experience I would not have missed.