Course Hardware and Software Prerequisites

Our courses are aimed at open source development where possible. We are not against other options, but we have found that open source is a great way to get started. The communities and availability of examples through Internet search are simply to great to pass up in a learning environment. Our class prerequisites are more of a “suggested environment” nature than true prerequisites.  That being said, we do have some hardware suggestions for going through most of our courses. We will note specific differences in select classes, but here is what we consider a “usable” developer machine:


Windows 10

  • 4GB RAM minimum, preferably 8GB+
  • Prior Windows OS options will work, but our examples are in the 10 environment initially.  Send us an email or leave a comment if you need help with examples in older versions
  • 250GB hard drive minimum, preferably 500GB (comfortable for most development and large sized databases) and SSD when possible for pure speed
  • 1024×768 minimum screen resolution – this is often what desktop web users will have available so at least shoot for this for testing.

My personal windows laptop currently is an HP spectre, but they keep running sales and the HP Envy line (15.6″ in particular) tend to be a great deal.  You should be able to get 12GB RAM and a 500GB solid state drive option while staying under $1000.

Click this banner for the latest deals and packages (you can adjust to suit your budget):


Mac OS

  • 4GB RAM minimum, preferably 8+GB
  • Prior OS versions will work, but our examples are in the latest OS release unless noted otherwise.  Send us an email or leave a comment if you need help with examples in older versions.
  • 250GB hard drive minimum, preferably 500GB (comfortable for most development and large sized databases) and SSD when possible for pure speed
  • 1024×768 minimum screen resolution – this is often what desktop web users will have available so at least shoot for this for testing.

If you want light weight and sexy, we recommend:
New Apple MMGF2LL/A MacBook Air 13.3-Inch Laptop (8GB RAM 128 GB SSD) MMGF2 NEWEST VERSION

But if you want a powerhouse that will last you several years this is what we use:
Apple MacBook Pro 15.4-Inch Laptop Intel QuadCore i7 2.0GHz / 16GB DDR3 Memory / 1TB SSHD (Solid State Hybrid) Drive / ThunderBolt / OS X 10.10 Yosemite / DVD Burner


Linux

  • 4GB RAM minimum, preferably 8+GB
  • We typically have AWS Linux examples, but sometimes will provide Debian, CentOS, others.  If you have specific issues eave a comment as we will rarely expect to see problems across Linux distributions outside of package manager variants
  • 250GB hard drive minimum, preferably 500GB (comfortable for most development and large sized databases) and SSD when possible for pure speed
  • 1024×768 minimum screen resolution – this is often what desktop web users will have available so at least shoot for this for testing.

If you want a solid laptop for developing and have a tight budget then I suggest you take a look here for some options:
Acer Aspire One ZG5 8.9-Inch CrystalBrite WSVGA Netbook (Intel Atom Processor N270, 512MB DDR2, 8GB SSD, Multi-in-1 Card reader, Linux)

When in doubt, do some browsing at Best Buy, it does a heart good:
Best Buy Co, Inc.


Software Prerequisites

We stick to freely available software as much as possible.  These do often provide with a “pro” version you will need once you get going.  We will mention some specifics during classes, as needed.  In general, every student should install and get familiar with these:

We will provide help using these tools as we need them for the work we do in each class.


General Notes

  • A high speed Internet connection will help during setup as there are some big tools we work with at times.
  • If you are not able to afford or find a large hard drive to start, get what you can.  You can use a high speed external drive to help you store files as needed.
  • Check back here from time to time for affiliate deals on computers.  In particular around holidays, we often see coupons and codes run during those times.  Holiday specials can provide a good deal of savings.