Recommendations sought: SQL or PHP training, in/near NYC

[BBQ Pit Mode]
In response to MY response to a job ad, a company named SetFocus got back to me, indicating that they did not really have a job they were trying to fill, but instead wanted to train folks who were looking for jobs, train them in SQL and .NET and so forth, and then they would place us in good well-paying jobs. I Googled a bit and found opinions varied but the general gist was that their training itself was authentic but “job placement” illusory. Moving right along, they offered two arrangements, one by which students like myself would pay $20,000 tuition for the three month course and a different arrangement by which training would be free in return for 1900 hours or 2 years’ consulting owed to them at cheap rates (~$20/hour) after graduation. The latter sounded like a decent deal until I inquired further about the obligations of SetFocus as far as actually finding those consultation situations: would they keep me busy at full-time equiv at that $20/hour rate? And if not, what would protect me from ending up in the position of being a graduate who could not (really) accept a full-time job from anyone because I’d have to pop up at SetFocus’ beck and call for consultation any time they did want me, yet might be sitting around for week after week NOT doing consulting work for them at $20/hr EITHER – ?? … and was told “Well what most of our graduates end up doing is buying out their contract, taking out student loan and paying us the $20,000 so they can take the job”. So I asked for statistics on those who DID fulfill their obligation via doing the 1900 hrs / 2 yrs consulting: Over what frame of real time did those 1900 hrs extend? And was told “Well I can get you that but really it’s only going to be like 2 or 3 people, no one really does that…”

So, it’s a hypothetical payment plan that no one can really opt for, huh?

So you foliks lie in posting “JOB AVAILABLE” on job boards and then you lie again in describing the terms under which I can get training from you? And I should feel enthused about dealing with you for just what reason, now?? [/BBQ]
OK onwards to the important part of this post. I don’t want to play with those folks but they did get me thinking that I should get into some training program. SQL is one subject I’d really like to consider, and PHP is another.

I’m in New York City and want something fairly local, something that will teach me the STUFF I need to know (not just “train for the certification exam”), and ideally not have starting dates whereby the next semester / courses available would start in September or something, I want to get started ASAP. My background: FileMaker geek, therefore familiar with and adept at generic relational db design and architecture, but NOT specifically with Structured Query Language or any of the “big iron” environments such as Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle or the open-source products like MySQL or PostGreSQL.

Recommend me a program?

In my experience you don’t need a training course. You need a book, and access to the internet.

(And a computer on which to set up your testing environment - instructions for that are given in most PHP/SQL books) Most books that cover PHP also cover SQL.

Just search ‘php’ on amazon and look at the ratings/reviews.

The one I got was this -

But there may well be better/ more recent ones.

99% of instructor-led training programs are a waste of time.

Instead, get a book and do hands-on practice with your computer. As a bonus, the type of person that can learn this way is more valuable to any employer/client anyways.

That. PHP and various SQL databases (like MySQL and Postgres) are free. Download them and go nuts. Get a good book and try the example exercises, then start modifying them to suit your fancy.

I’ve ordered the book that Lobsang recommended from Amazon, and will give this a whirl for sure.

(Can I do all of this without leaving the Macintosh operating system?)

Assuming you’re using a Mac built in the past ten years or so, yes. All this stuff was developed for Unix-like operating systems, and MacOS is just BSD under the hood.

You may want to become acquainted with

As long as I don’t need Windows, I’m at least capable of using the Unix command line. Heck, I compiled my own X11 environment in the years before Apple offered it as a buil-in add-on.

NOW… is this just going to get me to the point that I can insert data and do queries and stuff, or will this be sufficient to start from scratch and built a 47-table relational db that a brand new company can use as the backbone of their business? And what about front end (GUI interface) stuff?

Well, now we’re talking about several distinct skills, which, depending on the size of a given project, may be done all by one guy or a whole team of different specialists

[li]Relational database design – you’re probably familiar with the basics already since you’re a FileMaker guru[/li][li]Application programming – this is where PHP (or any other programming language) comes into play. Preferably, you’ll want to keep your application logic entirely separate from whatever is being used to present it to the user[/li][li]Front-end stuff: HTML and CSS[/li][li]Any app logic that has to exist client-side, like form validation: Javascript[/li][/ul]

I’d recommend learning the database stuff first. You can play with MySQL right on the commandline, setup tables, insert data, do queries, etc. Once you learn the basics, developing an application just involves writing the code to construct the SQL queries and send them to the database and display the results to the user.

The nice thing about all these skills is you can learn them simultaneously and incrementally: you don’t have to be a graphic design whizz to spit out raw HTML with your data in it, and you don’t have to be an SQL ninja to set up a few basic tables.

Yeah what they said.

$20k is such an unbelievable waste of money for that sort of thing, ESPECIALLY since all of the tools are free. You can learn it yourself. I did and I make lots of money doing it now.

You don’t even need to invest in a book. The Web is awash with billions of answers to any question you can think of.

You know those “Windows switchers Guide to the Mac” type books & websites? I could use a guide to SQL db architecture written explicitly for FileMaker geeks!

I would really like to be in a classroom again. Seriously, and I have the time now.

While I accept the usefulness of doing quite a bit of “train yourself” (and have ordered a book, as described above), I’d still like recommendations for NYC-area training programs in which I sit down in a classroom.

When you’re working from a book and the first two pages of Chapter 3 leave you going bwuh? or the results you get when you do Exercise 12 are not at all like what the book says you shoulda gotten, you can’t raise your hand, nor can you say “Wait, wait! Before we go on, I still don’t understand this, explain this again!”