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With technology going strong, many people are looking to spiff up their skill set. AcademyX has the machines and instructors ready.

With technology going strong, many people are looking to spiff up their skill set. San Francisco-based AcademyX Web Training has the machines and instructors ready. President and founder Stephen Fraga chats about the Web, training, and how to spend your nights.

What does AcademyX provide?

We’re a computer training firm specializing in Web-related technologies, both programming and design. Our classes are instructor-led and hands-on. Each student gets a computer with the appropriate software to practice what they’re learning during the class. Our instructors have all worked as contractors in their respective fields; we’ve hired teachers who are not only subject matter experts, but also great communicators. We offer short courses in HTML, Dreamweaver, Flash, JavaScript, XML/Schema/DTD, XSL/XSLT, CSS, PHP/MySQL, Perl, Java/JSP, VB.Net/ASP.Net, ColdFusion, ASP, Apache, and IIS. We’ve been in business for over six years.

Why do you feel there’s a need for what you provide?

There are so many opportunities made possible by the Web–and so few people ready to take full advantage of them. Practically every company has a Web site and many of them are just starting to use the new technologies and tools emerging in web programming and design. Despite what you may have heard, there are still many new dotcom business opportunities and many of these will use the latest web technologies. Conversely, there are many software programmers and print designers that have skills that could quickly be adapted to work on these projects.

What makes your company unique?

We specialize in Web-related topics and we have great teachers. No other Bay Area training company has such a diverse set of offerings in Web technologies and so many experts in those fields. We run frequent, small classes taught by instructors with both industry experience and teaching expertise. We rarely reschedule classes.

What kind of challenges does your company face?

Keeping up with the changes in technology is very challenging. We constantly have to revise our courseware to adjust for the changes in standards, such as those with the XML family of languages. As a training business, we must also make the best use of our staff and facility resources, so optimally scheduling the classes is also high priority.

We have some competition from national training firms. They have larger client lists and more visibility, but they offer a fundamentally weaker product. They have much higher overhead since they have to fly out an instructor and rent a training room from a hotel–and this means that they’re more likely to reschedule a class if they don’t get enough registrations. We’ll run a class if we get just two students.

Where do you want to build the company from here?

As an ongoing goal, we’re always trying to improve our existing resources, be it the courseware we’re using, the hardware the students work on, or our database of subject matter experts.

Another major goal this year is to draw more customers toward our long-term evening classes. We offer mostly short courses during the daytime for corporate clients, but we also have a long-term, A to Z Web design program that runs for 24 evenings, twice a week. It covers everything from registering a domain name to optimizing your site for search engines, with a focus on HTML and Dreamweaver. This is ideal for individuals who can’t take time off from their daytime jobs or want an in-depth, thorough course on Web development.

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