My Experience with VSP Training
In November, 2009 I got a mail from VSP (Visakhapatnam Steel Plant) IT department asking me to train their employees in IT department on .Net. I replied to the mail with details they sought. VSP is a huge organization. I knew I would cherish training their employees. In the mean time I accepted training offer from Kenexa Technologies in the month of April. I am glad those dates didn’t clash with VSP training.
First Batch Starts
With efforts of Mr. Thyagaraju Garu, the training programme became a reality and first batch was scheduled from 5th July to 17th July and second batch from 5th August to 18th August. I was asked to be there by 10:00 am as there will be an inauguration, which will be attended by Head of the IT department and other higher officials. As there was a call for “Bandh” on that day, I was a little worried - would I be able to reach VSP or would I be stopped by protesters on the road. In an attempt to avoid protesters, I chose to go to VSP via Convent Jn. and new fly over. It was a long time since I ventured into that area. Somehow I made it to VSP without any hassle by 8:45 AM. It was raining and I didn’t know where Ukku House was. I could navigate to Ukku House and Center for HRD much earlier than expected (both by them and me).
Once the initial formalities were over, we started the technical part of it. It was a class of 15 plus experienced programmers (middle aged) with their experience started with Mainframe then Developer/2000 (Client/Server) and now into developing web applications using .NET. A different kind of audience for me, as I generally deal with students in their late teens and early 20`s.
I knew I would enjoy the training because I know all that they used so I can easily understand what their concerns are. We had common ground - Developer/2000, Visual Basic 6.0, Crystal Reports, Classic ASPs and Oracle. My job was to inject OOP and Web development into Client/Server minds. I had to use VB.Net and Asp.NET. Participants (trainees and observers) ranging from AGMs (Assistant general managers) to JMs (Junior Managers).
For all the sessions I used my HP laptop. I don’t use Laptop for writing code as I am a fan of my desktop. But here I had to write some coding using my Laptop. It was not as bad as I imagined. I had opportunity to take class in four different conference halls for first batch. Each one was equipped with a ceiling mounted projector and a whiteboard (all that I needed). Though audio system was available everywhere I never needed to use it. I was loud enough.
Participants were very friendly and the entire training took place in a very friendly & professional environment. After a few days of training, we were no strangers to each other. I enjoyed their company both at tea and lunch, and I guess they enjoyed my class rest of the time.
On 17th July, first batch was concluded. Some came to me at the end and gave positive feedback about the whole program, which was very satisfying to listen to. During the course, I customized the syllabus according to their needs. For example, I included Crystal Reports and AJAX, which were not there in the syllabus agreed upon.
For the last class (17th July), I took Camera with me to take snaps with my trainees. But somehow it just didn’t happen. I didn’t tell them I needed a snap. I was not too sure whether they would like the idea of being photographed and whether they had time for it. I missed the photos session. I do regret. A photo with them would have been a perfect end to the training program and also a good refresher of the memory.
Second Batch Starts
What changed from first batch to second batch? - A lot. I am aware of the place. I didn’t have to ask anyone about how to reach UKKU House. I know people in Centre for HRD. I know my classroom very well. I could handle many things on my own without anyone’s assistance. Familiarity put me at ease. In the journey called LIFE, there is another place where people know me and have a little respect for me. I enjoyed it.
And also I have some idea about what kind of trainees I will have because trainees in second batch are colleagues of trainees in first batch. With good feedback under my belt, obviously I was more comfortable, but not complacent. Because every training program throws new challenges and I have to prove I am worth standing in front of them as trainer.
This time I was mostly confined to one classroom and shifted to a new hall only for the last class, giving me the opportunity to know one more hall at VSP. So during my 24 sessions of training I had the pleasure of visiting 5 different conference halls in VSP.
Here is the hall where most of my training took place. The participants are from second batch.
This time I didn’t hold myself back and instead asked Mr. Raviram, with whom I was at ease right from the moment I met him, to arrange for photo session. He did it with pleasure and you can see the pleasure on the faces of all – for participating in group photo as well as in the training program (I guess). I think you can make out where I am.
The one on my left is Mr. Thyagaraju Garu, the architect of this training program. Second one on my right (black stripes on white) is Mr. Ramesh, who spoke high about the training program at the end of it. Thanks to Mr. Ramesh for all his good words.
Second one from right corner is Mr. Raviram, who arranged this group photo. Thanks to Mr. Raviram for all his efforts to make things happen.
Got a little more productive
On personal front, though driving for 60 km per day is not what I get to do (as I need to drive only 8 km per day to go to office and come home), I do enjoy driving. Starting from second day of the second batch I started using 90 minutes of my driving time more productively by listening to audio book – “The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman”. I could finish a book of 470 pages during my driving. I find listening to audio book is extremely productive way of spending my driving time. I asked myself “Why this thought of audio book didn’t strike me before? Then I recollected the quote – “Better late than never”.
Unlike my regular .NET training at Srikanth Technologies, where I use C# for much of the coding, in this training I used VB.NET throughout. I love writing VB code, though I don’t get to do it more often, but I never miss the given opportunity. I converted a lot of C# code to VB.NET using conversion tools available online. A few of the conversion tools that I used are:
Another difference from my regular training programs and other corporate training programs like the one with Kenexa Technologies is,; this time I have used Oracle as the backend and didn’t talk about MS SQL Server at all. I got a chance to explore ODP.NET (Oracle Data Provider for .Net).
In summary I enjoyed each class of both the batches. I enjoyed questions asked in the classroom, tea, lunch, driving, weather (sunny, rainy, cloudy) and just about everything.
I must thank all the participants for their cooperation and company. They made my stint a memorable one.