There are bigger training firms than CommonsWare. There are firms with elaborate training facilities, firms with courses on a dizzying array of topics (from Android app development to Cisco router configuration), and firms with hooks into lots of certification programs. CommonsWare has none of these.
But, for your Android app development training needs, CommonsWare is the right answer.
Of course, this is a CommonsWare Web site, and so you would expect it to say that CommonsWare is the right answer. But, read on to learn some specific characteristics about CommonsWare and its training that help justify that answer!
Traditional training usually lasts a week, and it has a fixed agenda, established by the training firm. Your choices are "all or nothing", as the saying goes. Custom agendas, even if they are offered, are ridiculously priced.
CommonsWare's seminar-based model means that you can assemble a custom course that meets your attendees' needs. Want an introductory course? We can do that! Want something more intermediate or advanced, addressing specific "pain points" that your attendees have? We can do that too! Want something shorter or longer than a week? CommonsWare can handle anything from 2 to 10 days!
While private training is often held at a customer's site, public training — the kind where anyone can go sign up and attend — is usually held in major cities, based on where the training firm is based. You have to send people to the trainer, rather than have the trainer come to you. And private training is often very expensive, and can be out of reach for firms needing only a few people to receive the training.
CommonsWare offers greater flexibility, in addition to traditional private training. Meetups and other Android developer groups can organize training on whatever their members want, using the full-service plan. And hybrid models are also possible, blending an agenda and dates that you choose — and with you providing some of the attendees — with public participation as well, managed by CommonsWare.
Many Android developer groups have organized their own conferences, of varying sizes. However, many groups lack the time and experience to put on that sort of event. In addition, while the conference presentations typically are very good, the attendees have little control over what presentations are available, as that is mostly in the hands of the presenters.
CommonsWare's full-service plan allows your members to vote on what seminars to have in a training event, and when to have them. This way, we can tailor the event to what the members need. Plus, with CommonsWare handling all of the logistics, your group does not need to expend very much effort to deliver this training to your members.
Many training firms use trainers that do not develop their own training material. Many training firms do not update their training material very frequently — such as once per year. Worse are training videos or other online courses, as they may be years behind where Android is today. Android is a fast-moving technology, even 10+ years after its first lines of code were written.
CommonsWare updates its training materials before each and every training event, to ensure that they are up to date in areas of relevance. These materials also tie into The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development, CommonsWare's book on Android app development, which itself is updated every 4-8 weeks. As a result, your attendees will not be given out-of-date information.
Many developers nowadays try to "get by" with those packaged training videos and other online courses. Frequently, these offer no means of getting questions answered about the material, what specific presentation slides mean, and so forth. Those developers then wind up asking their questions in common support areas, like Stack Overflow, and the people who contribute help there do not know the details of the training material that the developer saw. In all too many cases, the result is frustration and a sub-par educational experience.
CommonsWare focuses on live, in-person training. Some might consider this to be old-fashioned. But nothing beats live training for providing the best way to get questions about the material answered in real time, from the right person to ask: the trainer.
The historical problem with public live training is that it tends to be really expensive. Week-long public Android introductory classes get listed at $2000-4000 per attendee. For individuals, or for businesses with just a few people needing the training, this is difficult to justify.
CommonsWare aims for less-expensive training. For public full-service events, the price per attendee is $150-200 per day, a fraction of what other firms charge. CommonsWare does this by partnering with Android developer groups to try to get a larger audience, so fixed costs can be spread out among more people. Plus, the seminar-based model means that the training can be more focused and perhaps take less time, resulting in lower prices.
For full-week (or longer) private training, CommonsWare's rates are similar to those of other training firms. But CommonsWare's seminar system makes it easier to create shorter, focused events, to keep costs down. And, CommonsWare's hybrid private training model can help firms join with the local community on training, rather than limiting the audience and raising the effective per-person cost.
All training firms will claim to have expert trainers. Some firms do indeed have well-respected members of the Android development community lead their training. Some firms... do not.
CommonsWare's trainer quite literally wrote the book on Android app development. You will not find somebody with more knowledge on the ins-and-outs of the Android SDK, and that is the crux of any Android app development course.
Some people are experts at Android app development, but are not expert at delivering training. A lot of people think "oh, yeah, I totally could do that"... then fall flat when trying to write courseware or deliver in front of a live audience.
CommonsWare's trainer has trained over 1,000 developers in how to write Android apps. This includes public training along with private training for some of the biggest Android device manufacturers in the world. It is very unlikely that you will find many trainers with greater depth of training experience.