Written on: 20/08/2012 by theswipe (1 review written)
My experience with the CIW Foundation course has been frustrating, patronising and expensive. The course itself is a patchwork of very basic subjects that will in no way improve your career prospects on their own (it seems that the Foundation course is just a stepping stone to more relevant courses), and at £1300+ a go isn't worth a fraction of the cost. The Home Learning College themselves aren't all bad, but I couldn't recommend this course to anyone.
Given my interest in a career in web development, I enquired about the CIW Foundation course. The college's salesperson confidently told me that the course is designed to get people started in the field of web development and, on completing the course, I would be eligible for Junior Developer level roles. The course wasn't cheap (with a payment plan it ended up costing me around £1800 over 2 years), but that's an investment in my career that's worth making, right?
No, it really isn't. On receiving the course materials I got stuck in straight away with my studies, working through the chapters of each module. The alarm bells started to ring during the first of three modules ("Internet Business Foundations") when I got to chapters along the lines of 'How to surf the web', 'Introduction to using email', 'Using search engines'... would an aspiring web developer really need to be taught how to surf the internet or use emails? The rest of the chapters in this module were all of the same beginners level.
It would appear that the third and final module, "Network Technology Foundations", has been lifted from another course and slapped on the end of CIW-F to justify the price tag. While I'm sure it would help to have some knowledge of the subjects it deals with (such as networking infrastructure, protocols, and how they relate to the internet) they're by no means essential or, arguably, necessary - and the same old sinking feeling kicked in once more when I kept on coming across references in the notes along the lines of "You will need to know this when training to be a Network Administrator"... who said anything about training to be a Network Administrator?!
To be fair, these are all issues with the course material and not necessarily the Home Learning College itself. On starting the course you will gain access to the HLC's forums, where you can discuss issues and ask for help from fellow students. You will also be assigned a tutor that can lend a hand if you still need help. Good luck trying to book your final exam though - the Student Services department aren't nearly as helpful or efficient.
I've recently finished paying for the course - now that I'm no longer making the monthly payments I'm able to afford to go back to uni full time to study for a masters in computer science. I realise this isn't an option that's open to everyone who wants to get started in web development, but sadly the CIW Foundations course really isn't the way to do it either.
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