It is a simple question. So why don’t you get more training? Do you feel that you operate already effectively? Is there no more stuff to learn? Do you think that you are already “good”? Sometimes, just when we are walking about and we feel everything is going smoothly, then the bottom drops out of the bucket, our world suddenly of positivity, in the situation, our lives, family and friends, takes a nose dive to the other side. When our world changes to tragedy, conflict and controversy those times,we all experienced, can be really depressing and shockingly awful. These are the times when we start to kick ourselves, probably. We reproach ourselves with, “I should’ve done this. I could’ve done that.” Well the question at the beginning still stand, why do you not care about any changing the train, saving for a rainy day, and could of all of this tragedy be avoided. They say, prevention is better than the cure. We could all have done with some forewarning, some training. If you are expecting a company to train you in all things; then that is great, especially if you are a star performer on the ye olde balance scorecard, getting 100% in the 360 review, and if your boss is terrific, he and she will send to you training. If the company has the money to invest in you, when you are brilliant and company thinks so as well then they will continue to invest in you. For the rest of us mortal souls, though, we are not perfect creatures and probably never going to be fortunate for the big golden handshake of continuous personal development and abundant budgets. Some companies do care about their employers and give them a fair crack of training budget. Sadly, the training budgets for the common worker, developer and designer team are reducing month by month, and it is one of the first thing that are cut in a downturn. So if you are waiting for a company to send you on splendid trip to conference to JavaOne 2013, with all expenses, flights, hotels and tickets, paid; good luck with that. In the next section, I thought about some insights in to the gaining personal training, divided in two sections. The company does not want give you the training you really want, what can you do as alternative.
- Spent your own personal money and funds; if you believe in it and then you will do it
- Negotiate with the training company, they might be able to cut you a special deal on a early bird that far enough in the future.
- Find a user group who are doing a coding group or the practising the skills you desire
- Find another organisation to work for, watch the job adverts for up and coming talent and especially firms with attractive starting gifts like those willing to throw in a Retina edition mac book pro; trade that in for the training instead as a condition of joining
- Find another job that pays more money and then personally fund the training you need
- Don’t accept the classic answer from the boss, “How does X help the business?”. If the training is relevant to you achieving a goal of being a much better software engineer and designer, then, of course it is relevant. These types of answers are just excuses to keep you, bedded down; to just give in and accept the status quo, which, of course, is utter nonsense. Perhaps, the time has finally come to find better job.
- As a last option and certainly one that I personally can testify for is, you could become a contractor instead of an employee. As contractor you find, organise and pay for your own training, because it is up to the contractor to stay up to data and learn new skills. Training counts as unpaid leave or can taken between subsequent contracts. Contractors may have certain tax advantages for training and materials, and of course, more money means you can attend more training and conferences.
Ok let suppose you are the boss, you are the line manager and you have a good team.
- Fight for your team and their training; fight for your team’s budget and don’t let the senior management take it away
- Give up your personal training for the entire year and suggest that they allocate the extra budget to training for your team members
- Perhaps, it is time to evaluate the relationship with the preferred supplier of training, if your company operates like this. Have your firm been getting decent value from the PSL (preferred supplier list)? No, then try an independent trainer, a famous speaker or find a lone runner, who is much smaller than the big training business, but can deliver bespoke training to you company. Procrastinating on a bad PSL is a waste of everyone’s and your business’s time.
- Find alternatives to training like brown bag lunches, collaborate with other businesses
- Get on the old blower (the telephone) to the training company and use your managerial skills to negotiate rate especially for early birds far into the future
- Take the sword for the team when your boss says the training budget has to be cut. Say that you will resign if the team’s training budget is cut. They will probably think hard and fast, the cost of recruiting another person just like you, training somebody else up in your role equates to training for about 4 or 6 developers.
- Don’t be idiot and attempt to coach or mentor in the training yourself, especially if you have no idea what you are talking about. Don’t go cheap, go for the quality training for team member.
- Use so-called creative accounting and budget, stick too fingers to human resources dictum, find an independent trainer not for you, but your team. Use the magic entry in the budget cover the training. Insist to HR afterwards that you wanted your team to be best, be productive and get the job done with higher quality. If HR still don’t like it, then perhaps it is time to be a manager in another firm, because your firm would have shown their idea of value of people in the organisation. (If you are going to leave, think about taking your best pal with you.)
Without commitment to training and learning new skills there can be no continuous improvement, which is one of the prime directives for Agile and Lean engineering. I hope that I have given you some great ideas. Everybody needs training and self-improvement; don’t let the government or business tell you otherwise. +PP+