New Drupal Course

We're pleased to announce the new Drupal training course, designed and delivered by Steve Cowie of Code Enigma. By way of introduction, we asked Steve to share the background to developing this new course and why its a great way to quickly get up to speed with this Open Source CMS that's growing in popularity, with an impressive user group that includes The White House and Cambridge University.


Twice a year Drupal developers get together at conferences - one in The US and one in Europe. Over 3,000 delegates get together for a five day event where they attend presentations, work on code, and drink a lot of beer.  In between the conferences, there are numerous Drupal camps where a smaller number of Drupalers get together for a weekend to give talks and demonstrations.  In fact last year Matt Fielding and I ran a camp here at the Northern Technology Institute in Leeds with over forty attendees.  Although we love these events because we're passionate about web development and Drupal, we also got to thinking about how we could get non-Drupal people involved; to be honest, the conference and camp events can seem quite forbidding to new entrants. The obvious idea was to provide training so we're delighted to be working with NTI to deliver our first course in Leeds.

For people considering a training course, I guess there are two questions they might be asking: one is why learn Drupal, and the other is why come on a course to do it.

On the first question one good reason is you can make a good living as a Drupal developer.  It seems like in the last two years Drupal has moved from being just another Open Source Content Management System to being a serious contender in the Enterprise market.  No doubt a big push for this was the adoption of Drupal for the White House website, although it's also being used for some other high profile sites like ITV, The Economist, and Comic Relief. In the UK it's being used by Royal Mail, Eurostar, and Bristol Council, and I saw recently that even ICANN, one of the key agencies responsible for making the Internet work, is using Drupal. The thing about these large agencies using Drupal is that these are organisations that understand that building complex web applications requires significant investment so they are ready to pay for expertise.  Even better from a developer perspective is that there is actually a shortage of Drupal developers.

On the second question - why come on a course - you might think Drupal is just a CMS built in PHP so why not just learn it, and if you did think that you wouldn't be wrong.  Drupal is nothing more than a cms that uses the classic LAMP stack of PHP, Apache, MySQL, and Linux.  On the other hand, Drupal is also described as a framework or a hybrid between a CMS and a framework because it has an architecture that allows you to easily develop new code to integrate with the existing core. This facility combined with Drupal's active developer community of over 10,000 people has spawned multiple APIs such as 'Views' or 'Rules' that combine with Drupal to add new functionality. One consequence of having all these APIs is that learning Drupal is a big task.  Even Dries Buytaert, the founder of Drupal, admits there are large chunks of core Drupal he doesn't fully understand any more, so what hope for the rest of us?  We think that's where a course comes in.  Matt Fielding and I spend every day grappling with Drupal challenges, or managing development teams that are doing this, so we get the fundamentals and can point users in the right direction.  Admittedly there are some great books and videos out there, and we'll point people on our course to the best of these but sometimes what you need is a person you can ask.  The other benefit we see from our course is that we base our examples on real-World use cases, solving problems that come up for clients such as Le Figaro, Nokia, Cambridge University, and the Economist. Given that we have a large number of clients keeping us busy on major projects you might wonder why we'd want to take time out to do training; one consideration is that we need to grow the pool of UK Drupal developers because if the current labour shortage continues, Drupal may start to seem a riskier choice for Enterprise projects.  A more personal consideration is that we're both based in the North, in Leeds and Bradford, and we'd like to see our region deriving more benefit from web technologies - in an age where digital communication should mean that location is irrelevant, it remains sadly true that all roads lead to London.

Thanks Steve. We're pleased to be doing something that means that Drupal roads lead to Leeds too. The full details of the new Drupal course can be found here, where you can also book and pay online. 

Steve is Operations Director of   Matt Fielding,  CEO of  will  be delivering this course alongside Steve.

Panoetic and Code Enigma have collaborated previously to run Drupal camps and are currently working together on a project for Albany State University in the US.


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@ntiLeeds (via Twitter) Tue 15th May 2012 at 10:12
We'd love to introduce an Advanced course - do you have any suggestions on what you'd like to see included?
James Hannaford (via Facebook) Thu 26th Apr 2012 at 16:46
Looks interesting! Are you going to branch beyond an introductory course?