10 Apr to 11 May 2012
The Koenig Student Apartments are comfortable with Wi-Fi access available. I chose to use one of the rented laptops, which after a couple of hiccups on initial install to get Wi-Fi working, my instructor set up a VM to allow me to re-check most of the course work on...
Where to begin? I'll start with a couple of things that caught me out. Book your air-travel to arrive at least the day before your course & leave at least one day after your course finishes! The UK standard sized passport photographs are not suitable for the Indian Visa; it is well worth actually going to the visa office if at all possible (you can use their photo-machine there for a small fee). Do take a number of passport type photographs with you to India (I set off with 9 and came back with 2). You'll need them for such things as buying a SIM card (recommended) and you'll need 3 to sit for the exam, along with your passport as proof of I.D. Take all three books for the exam, as the examiner needs to have the last page from each franked by Koenig and his own stamp.
Being collected and ferried to and from airports is a nice feeling and removes any stress you may have about being in a strange country. In the welcome pack there is 1,000 Rupees so you do not need to worry about exchanging money as soon as you land (you do have to pay this back). The Goa centre administration team is brilliant, whether sorting out the SIM card, doing foreign exchange or, in my case, sorting out a visit to the Doctor when I got the dreaded 'Delhi Belly'.
The Koenig Student Apartments are comfortable with Wi-Fi access available. I chose to use one of the rented laptops, which after a couple of hiccups on initial install to get Wi-Fi working, my instructor set up a VM to allow me to re-check most of the course work on. For some of the tasks where you need the set up in the lab, you can nip into the centre for a couple of hours on a Sunday at no extra charge to revise anything you want to (instructor not included!).
The cleanliness of the apartments is fantastic, for student accommodation I was not expecting the bedding, towels etc. to be changed 3 times a week! The breakfast and evening meals are excellent, with you choosing your midday meal from an extensive menu at the training centre. Sanjay & 'Uncle' are your two contacts at breakfast and evening meal times and look after the apartments. Nothing is too much trouble for them, e.g. 'Uncle' sorted me out a laundry service and Sanjay ran me to the shops to get shaving foam, deodorant etc.
About to the course, we are asked to rate our instructors, sadly it is only on a one to ten scale. My RHCE instructor deserved at least 11 on every count. From my wondering at the end of my first few days if I had made a huge mistake to a week later really starting to feel confident with areas I'd never experienced before is a true testament to his ability to explain and if needed then re-explain a different way each topic until you understand it.
RHCE is not for the faint of heart, it is a hard course so do as much back-ground on a Red Hat type install (e.g. install CentOS NOT Fedora) as possible.
Do make the time to go to Boga beach (there's an excellent bar) with a few of the others attending the centre on a Saturday night and onto the Saturday night market to get some souvenirs.
Would I do it again? Heck, NO... Would I recommend others to do it? Heck, YES! It was a fantastic experience from start to finish, with excellent support and help from people who care about you and genuinely want you to succeed.
Thank you to everyone at Koenig, you set yourselves at a very high standard and you surpassed it.