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March 22, 2012

The sorry state of FAST training

Suppose your company uses SharePoint 2010. Suppose your company uses FAST Search for SharePoint as well. Where would you go for training?

Today I decided to see where we could get training for one of our new guys. My first stop was the old FAST University, which now directs you to Microsoft Learning at


There, you can read about all of the classes, except that when you click Register, you find a page with class schedules for January and February of.. 2012. None after that. If you log in, you find a few classes for people with advanced Microsoft certifications, but nothing helpful.

I called the number where it suggested I could contact FAST University; and a very nice person directed me to the Microsoft Learning site (note: the title on the page I was looking at said 'Microsoft Learning' but apparently that is really the old FAST site at mzinga.)

On the real Microsoft Learning portal - microsoft.com/learning - I did a search for 'fast search' only to find:


I went back to search for simply 'search' and did find a single class with FAST Search in the title - sadly, one offered August of 2011 - 6 months ago. 

After a call back to the nice person on the other Microsoft Learning page at mzinga, she told me there are no more FAST classes (meaning FAST ESP, I guess); and that for Fast Search for SharePoint classes, I need to find a partner. Go back to the (real) Microsoft Learning site, search for 'class locator' to find a partner. Use care: if you click on the class description, you'll see the date first published, not the date of any classes: to get that, you need to click on 'instructor lead'. 

So yes, there were three training providers here in Silicon Valley. And one claims to have classroom training for next week! But when I called them (at 1:15PM) an answering service picked up and told me that because I called 'outside of normal business hours' he's have to have them call me back. Nothing yet, day after. Maybe an early Easter holiday?

Second training partner: went to their web site - no phone number, but a 'Live Chat'. "Sorry, no operators are available; you'll be connected to the next one free'. An hour later, nada. I left.

Final partner - ONLC - picked up the phone; confirms that they teach the class, but will need a few more students to register before they can confirm it will happen. If it does happen, they teach it remotely. I can go into San Jose at their center, or even take it from here in our offices. Cool. But they can't find four students in the US to take it?

Kudos to ONLC; but it's a shame to see how far down the line training is for Microsoft with respect to FAST Search for SharePoint. Luckily, there are a number of good former FGAST ESP partners - including us - who can help you with what you need, be it training, remote support, or even appdev.

What do you do for Microsoft search training?







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