Frequently Asked Questions

This page addresses common questions concerning in-person classes offered in Chicago.

What other courses are available?

Click here for a complete list of courses that I offer. Courses are offered on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

Can I contact you to request a course?

Absolutely! I have often scheduled course dates according to requests or to work around people's work/vacation schedules.

What is the daily schedule for a class?

Classes normally run 9:30am-5:30pm each day with a one-hour lunch break and an afternoon coffee break. However, everyone usually meets starting around 8:45am for breakfast and coffee (included in the registration fee). The ending time on the last day depends on the course--be sure to look at your ticket carefully when planning.

Do courses include hotel accommodations?

No, you are responsible for booking your own accomodations. There are many options, but the greatest selection of nearby hotels is probably found in the Lincoln Park neighborhood which is a few miles south of the classroom. Nearby options include House 5863, The Guesthouse Hotel, and Heart O'Chicago. As an alternative to downtown, you might also consider staying in Evanston which is about 5 miles north and convenient for public transportation.

I plan on driving, but what about parking?

Free on-street parking is available to the east of Clark street (especially on Summerdale, Balmoral, Rascher, or Catalpa). During the week, it is usually extremely easy to find free parking during business hours. Parking in Andersonville does not require special stickers or permits.

What are the fastest driving routes?

From the loop, take Lake Shore Drive north to the Foster exit, head west to Clark Street, and turn right (north).

From I-94 (Edens), take the Peterson exit, drive east to Clark Street, and turn right (south).

From I-90 O'Hare, get off on the Nagle exit, turn left and head north to Devon street. Turn right on Devon and veer right onto Caldwell as you leave the forest preserve. Caldwell turns into Peterson. Continue driving east on Peterson to Clark Street and turn right (south).

What are the mass-transit options?

If you are travelling by CTA train, the closest CTA station is the Red Line Berwyn stop. Walk west on Berwyn to Clark Street and then head north to Balmoral. Total walking time is 15 minutes. From downtown, it may actually be substantially faster to take the #146 Express Bus which takes you directly to the same Berwyn CTA station.

The CTA #22 Clark Street bus passes directly by the Dabeaz LLC office. Catch the bus from downtown or from its northern-most terminus at the Howard Street Red Line/Purple Line station in Evanston. Get off at Balmoral street. Plan extra time--the #22 bus is one of the slowest moving objects in the universe.

The closest Metra rail station is the Ravenswood stop on the Union Pacific North line. Walk east on Lawrence to Clark street. Walk one mile north on Clark to Balmoral. Alternatively, just catch the #22 bus northbound at Lawrence.

I'm attending from out of town. How should I plan travel?

The classroom is most easily accessed from O'Hare airport. A cab ride from the airport to the classroom takes about 30-45 minutes.

Contrary to what you might have experienced on a past connecting flight through O'Hare, travel in and out of Chicago is usually fairly painless (speaking as a frequent flyer).

You should not need to rent a car. The classroom is located in the heart of Chicago. There are many mass transit options and it is trivial to just hail a cab right outside the classroom. Plus, you're not going to need a car to go anywhere--restaurants and things to do are everywhere to be found. In other words, you're not going to be sitting in some motel nestled between the airport, the interstate, an outlet mall, and a fast-food chain restaurant.

What if I don't have a laptop computer?

It is strongly advised that you bring a laptop computer on which you are comfortable working. However, if you do not have a computer, one can be provided for your use during the class. Simply let me know in advance.

How do I know if I'm prepared?

Classes are primarily designed for people with some prior programming experience. Thus, if you take a course you should already be familiar with basic programming concepts (e.g., statements, variables, conditions, loops, functions, files, etc.). That said, it is not necessary to be an expert-level software engineer. Advanced courses are targeted towards more experienced programmers who want to take their skills to the next level. Although these courses assume you know the basics, they do not assume prior mastery of the topic at hand--after all, that's the whole reason why you're taking a class. However, if you have any doubts, please contact me for details.

How do your courses compare to your conference presentations?

I am frequenter presenter at various conferences related to Python and open source software. As such, you can find many of my past presentations online. Conference presentations are a very different experience from my hands-on courses due to the fact that such presentations are often presented to large groups under considerable time pressure. For instance, in a conference presentation, you can't really stop for 30 minutes to let everyone work on a project. My courses are much more focused on hands-on coding. As such, the pace is more measured and you will have much more time to absorb the material both through presentation materials and coding projects.

Are classes wheelchair accessible?

Unfortunately not. The classroom is located on the 2nd floor of a building constructed in 1915. At this time there are no elevators or ramps that can provide access.

Do you offer group discounts?

Due to the already small class size, I am not able to offer a discount on public courses. However, if you want to train a group, it is often more cost effective to schedule an on-site training course instead. It is also possible to privately arrange a group course at my office space.

Do you provide a certificate of completion?

A certificate of completion can provided on request if required by your employer or if you just want something to hang on the wall next to your computer.

Do you guarantee that I will find a job afterwards?

No.

How does payment work?

All event booking and payment is handled through EventBrite which accepts all major credit cards and handles other logistical aspects of the course.

Do you accept checks?

Yes, but only if payment is received in-full prior to the course date. If you intend to pay by check, you should contact me to hold a course place for you until payment is received.

Can you simply invoice my company?

Yes, but payment for the course must be received prior to the course date.

What is your refund and cancellation policy?

You may cancel at any time and receive a full course refund. If you are unable to complete a course due to illness or other factors beyond your control, you will also be offered a refund for days not attended. Last, but not least, your satisfaction is fully guaranteed. If, for any reason, you are not happy with a class, please ask for a refund.

Is there some chance that the class will be cancelled after I register?

No. Classes run no matter what. However, should a class have very low enrollment, I might contact you and give you the option of continuing with the scheduled course or rescheduling it for a later date. Courses with no enrollment may be cancelled at any time--if you are thinking about attending, it is in your best interest to register early.