Here on WPTavern.com, I’m surprised by how many new companies I discover from the mere fact of them purchasing advertising on the site. One such company is Open Source Training. This is a company that specializes in training corporations with skills relating to Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. To get more information on what this company is about, I sent some questions there way.
Are classes held all over the country in various spots or is everything performed online?
Hi Jeff. We’ve been able to cover most of the U.S.A. and Canada so far, plus some cities in England. Here’s where we’ve held at least one class:
Anchorage, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Cambridge, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinatti, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Raleigh, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, St Louis, Tampa, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington
Now some of those have worked out much better than others. Sometimes it’s easy to tell why: for example it’s much easier to hold a class in a city surrounded by other cities so Dallas does much better than Phoenix. However sometimes it’s a mystery: I’ve not figured out why we can run classes in Tampa and Los Angeles every two months but struggle even to fill occasional classes in Miami and San Francisco.
When I look at the prices for tickets, I cringe. However, considering the types of clients working with OSTraining, have you had much success selling out these training sessions?
Yes, we’ve just today (June 25) held our 150th class since January 2010. That’s a class every 3.5 days or so and we’ve had just over 2000 attendees in that time.
Between Joomla, WordPress and Drupal, which has been the most popular in terms of training?
A couple of caveats before I answer fully:
1) That answer is Joomla simply because it’s where we started in 2008 and what we’ve been doing the longest. We added Drupal in 2009 and now WordPress in 2010.
2) I’ve a golden rule that I never try to compare Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. I cringe whenever I see a comparison between them simply because most of them are lazily done and from the viewpoint of people who really only understand one of the three systems. It’s a bad idea for Open Source projects to get territorial or competitive when there’s so much closed-source market share for us all to take.
However, there are some differences between the market for Drupal, Joomla and WordPress training services, and I’d be out of business pretty fast if I ignored them:
1) Drupal attendees tend to be large government agencies and universities. The market is still much smaller than WordPress or Joomla, but they tend to think $299 is dirt-cheap. They’re accustomed to paying much more.
2) Joomla attendees tend to be web design firms, small-to-medium size business and non-profits and large tech companies. They tend to think the $299 cost of the class is about right.
3) WordPress attendees tend to be web design firms, entrepreneurs and business people who want their own site. They tend to think $299 is a real stretch.
Other areas of the CMS market may see different patterns, but those are the people walking through our doors. It’s likely then that our offerings will soon start to differentiate for each platform – for example, we may focus on online training for WordPress, live training for Joomla and corporate training for Drupal.
Near the bottom of the site, you have a couple of logos from some large companies that are purported to have used or using OS Training. Can you describe how some of those companies are using your service?
We’ve three levels of classes and large companies use them in different ways:
Online classes. They consist of video versions of our live classes backed by a support forum. Big companies tend to be a little sceptical perhaps because it’s not easy to go to Accounts Payable and ask to be signed up for training on some random website. Formal in-person training is much easier to get approved.
Live classes. They’re held every 2 to 3 months in the just about every major U.S. city. It’s common for large companies to send employees on either side of signing a development contract: before a project to scope out the software or after a project to top-up on their skills. Unfortunately, we’re also getting a lot of laid-off workers from companies like IBM who are retraining on their ex-employers tab.
Corporate training. That’s held whenever a larger business wants a private, custom class at their location. Last month Apple had us on-site to help them build a custom intranet. It seems currently that it’s easier for major companies to adopt Open Source for in-house rather than public-facing projects.
Out of curiosity, why did you decide to use Joomla to power OSTraining.com rather than WordPress or Drupal?
To be honest, either WordPress or Drupal would have been fine for this site. We’re running a fairly basic setup with a subscription system protecting content and a support forum.
Both WordPress and Joomla had several good options for subscriptions systems and forums. At the time Drupal didn’t really get a look-in because there weren’t any good off-the-shelf subscription options. We’d have needed to create one from scratch
We went with Joomla simply because that’s what we were training in at the time. When we launched I’d no idea the business would grow so big.
OSTraining also offers coding training. What is covered in this course and if I complete it, do you think I’d be able to write a WordPress plugin with PHP?
Unfortunately not yet. We’ve done an HTML class with a focus on creating posts (WordPress), nodes (Drupal) and articles (Joomla). A CSS class is underway with a focus on themes and templates, but PHP is third on the list won’t be until later in 2010.
I’ll be honest, however, and say coding isn’t highest on our priority list. Giving away a final corporate secret here (!), beginner training is far and away the most popular, followed by intermediate and higher-level general training. Theme design is popular enough but substantially further behind, and sadly, coding trails in last place.