I recently took the "Advanced FPGA Implementation (v6)" Instructor-Led Course and came out of it with a fair bit of dissappointment. I don't want to engage in Xilinx-bashing but it bothers me that the course was simply not worthy of the title it was given.
The only reason I might get something out of it will be because I will pour over the 500 page book on my own and experiment for many, many hours. The class boiled down to a bunch of slides (a very small subset of the book, maybe 20%) being read out loud with a degree of re-interpretation. The labs were based on an obscure design that was not introduced at all. So, all you could do in the alloted time was type from the book like a robot and move on. No real learning took place there.
I took the course because, after a two-year effort --starting from scratch-- to learn FPGA's, I thought that an advanced course taught by an expert in the field would be a great way to take my skills up a notch or two. I needed to get to that proverbial last few percent and, frankly, I also felt stuck with regards to timing optimization, floorplanning and other advanced areas. I thought that an "advanced" course would be taught by a peer who'd offer the sort of insight that only comes from significant experience in the field and, yes, inside information. That is certainly not what happened. I can read slides just as well as the next guy. I don't need to pay $1,000, travel and burn two days' work to endure that experience.
So, I wonder. Was this a fluke? Are the other coursed different, better, worst? Are Altera's courses better? It seems that Xilinx contracts out the trainig to a third party (a company called "Technically Speaking". I heard that Altera chooses to use insiders. Is this true? Does it make a difference?