Apache Training (incubating)

written by Lars Francke on 2019-02-21


We have been offering training courses covering various topics for a while now. And we are not the only ones doing this - our friends at b.telligent and inovex also have sizeable training portfolios. We have been actively collaborating with both these companies on trainings.

The problem

As we have been doing what we're doing for quite a while we know our field pretty well. We claim to be experts and we believe we can back that claim up. So for us it has never really been a problem to talk at length about the topics near and dear to our heart - for days even.

Whiteboard sessions can be great and really engaging. In fact we've given whole multi-day courses with nothing but a whiteboard and demonstration clusters in the cloud.

But this doesn't always work and requires us to always remember everything, to have an agenda in our head. It also means that we cannot give our clients any material to take home after the course is over.

So, obviously we've developed slides and labs/hands-on exercises to go with any training that we deliver.

But - and this is the problem - keeping those materials up-to-date is a shit ton of work! And you can't really give this task to someone who doesn't know the topic itself in and out, it should be an expert in the field to get the content right.

But - and here comes the catch - it is not just us doing this. We mentioned two companies above that also deliver trainings, and there are a lot more out there. And with that comes duplication of effort, a lot of it! There are only so many ways you can explain what ZooKeeper is. And I don't really want to know how many introductory slide decks for these kind of topics are out there? I assume hundreds of people have developed material that looks very much the same.

And if you're like me you're good with the technology itself but you're not great at design and drawing pictures. I certainly ain't.

The solution

During a conference we got talking to our friends at inovex and commiserated over our material which is getting older and more out of date as we speak. This is when the idea was born to collaborate in order to remove at least some duplicate effort. This quickly turned into the idea of an even wider collaboration in the form of open sourcing all the material which finally leads us to today where we're proud to tell you about the newest Apache Incubator podling: Apache Training (incubating) (nothing to see here yet, we're still getting everything set up but you will be able to follow its progress here in a few hours or days.

That's right!

The votes are in and the project we proposed has been accepted into the Apache Incubator which we are very grateful for.

A lot of great folks have agreed to join in on the fun. So, while we've written the initial proposal we're very happy that others have joined in and we can now set out to achieve our goals together which are (quoting from the Proposal):

  • Develop shared material that can be used for trainings
    • Cross-project
    • Focused on Apache but also 3rd party projects where it makes sense
  • Develop “labs” or “hands-on” exercises
  • Develop or document an infrastructure that can be used for those labs
  • Potentially develop tools to manage the material (e.g. a “slide” repository that contains “modules” that can be easily reused and combined)

Basically, we believe that while having great slides is good the real value is in the trainer itself and the way she/he delivers it. While we've always followed some kind of agenda the best trainings are usually those where we deviate from the plan to talk about questions from the audience or just try things out on the fly.


We've helped establish a new Apache Incubator project called Apache Training (incubating) which focuses on developing open-source training material!

If you enjoy working on new technologies, traveling, consulting clients, writing software or documentation please reach out to us. We're always looking for new colleagues!