This week was the week of my Information Security Fundamentals course. While I had mentioned in previous blogs I was apprehensive, when it actually came to it I found I was more excited.

I arrived in Glasgow late on Sunday night and headed to the hotel. It was called “Point A”, it was very modern, you could change the colour of your lights in your room, they had USB ports on the plug sockets and a TV with on demand. The room I had didn’t have a window but it was still a nice place to stay and it’s in a really good location with Buchanan street, Sauchiehall street and more importantly the QA building very close by. So I watched a little TV, did a little bit of reading in preparation for the following day and went to sleep. The next morning, I did all the usual morning routine stuff, got a Greggs bacon roll for my breakfast which I did every day this week and off I went to the course.

I imagine other apprentices are going to be the main target audience for this blog so I’ll talk a little about what you can expect from these courses or at least any of the ones by QA in Glasgow. All the information you need should be emailed to you beforehand and any other information such as location, times, the hotel and how to get there should all be sorted by your employer and training provider. Getting back and fore between the two is as simple as looking on Google Maps or using your phone once you get there.

I walked in and talked to the receptionist of the building who told me the floor to go to but even if I hadn’t this was signposted so the process is of no worries. Once you get to the QA floor, you talk to their receptionist and sign in where they take your name and signature. They’ll redirect you to another area of the building where the course is actually held. Now on to the class itself.

It pretty much followed the same routine every day, first was a run through of some slides in a PowerPoint presentation all explained by the instructor. Typically, this would end on a slide instructing you to do computer labs. I’d heard of these labs but didn’t really know what they were. For those readers like me, they’re basically a bunch of virtual machines setup to teach you things. You’re given a set of instructions to follow and within those are questions. The idea of this (for this course at least) is to give you a chance to use tools you don’t normally have access to such as Kali Linux. Anyway, you complete these labs and depending on the time the questions asked are then reviewed or you just go home. We were typically starting at about 09:30 and finishing at 16:30.

The last thing to note is the huge change of pace of learning compared to school. To go over the amount of information supplied in only one week there has to be. I don’t think you’re expected to remember every little detail but just a little bit of study the same night can make a big difference. While that’s good and all, it’s also good to get out and explore the city. Yes, this isn’t work which is the whole point of the trip but it does give you a chance to develop confidence and a bit more independence.

Hopefully this gives a bit of an insight to any apprentices going on one of these courses for the first time. All the other stuff, eating out, getting from A to B is relatively easy, Google Maps is your friend and you can even ask those on the course for directions or what places are good to eat. Overall my advice would be to not overthink it and just enjoy yourself.