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John Van Wagenen
John Van Wagenen

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Employer-Sponsored Training

Most great companies will offer some sort of training program. Whether that's a little bit of free time for self-directed training or the company pays for you to attend a class or conference, this training can take on many forms--but it's not for everyone. I'd like to hear from you! What training programs have you seen from employers? Which ones worked? Why were they effective? What types of training do you like the most?

As you consider your answers to those questions, let me tell you a bit about the training program we've had at my current employer, MasterControl, in its current form. It's evolved a bit over the years and continues to evolve, but this is where we're at.

A few years ago we started formal, ongoing training. This takes a few forms. First, we have a biweekly meeting where we meet as a department to receive training. This training is provided by anyone in the department that wants to offer training and is coordinated with a small group of volunteers from the department that form the "training committee." These meetings can last up to 3 hours but they often last less than two. In addition to that, we encourage each employee to take up to 2 hours per week to train on whatever they'd like. From Pluralsight to books to tutorials and beyond. Finally, we also have a training budget where the company will pay for employees to attend conferences, take courses, get certifications, or whatever else they'd like to do for training.

All those things make up our ongoing training that we offer at MasterControl. It's an evolving program with some changes in the works right now. It's been moderately effective so far but we want to make it much better. Does your employer do similar things? What have you seen work well?

Top comments (4)

bgadrian profile image
Adrian B.G.

I don't have much experience, but I have one suggestion from my experience.

Train the most common weakest skill.

Real example: a set of experienced full stack web developers got a full day workshop, on premise for Linux basic administration.

Devs are not Sysadmins, either not all the devs were using Linux on their workstations, nevertheless, when needed, they had to handle test/production linux environments. And because ppl are afraid of the unknown, some were reluctant to fix stuff (on call), waste time writing own tools (instead of using the bash ones), make mistakes ...and so on.
Not being a core-skill, devs will not "waste" time on it, so it could remain the "weakest skill" for a long time.

Other (real) examples: automatic testing, cloud technologies, functional programming basics (could do wonders in OOP projects, with specific use cases).

jacobtstaggs profile image
Jacob Staggs

Fresh college grad here, graduated college in May and started at a fairly large company. Training wise we have monthly 1 day courses taught by managers which covers various topics. We also were provided a subscription to Pluralsight. Although other than the courses that are offered, it feels like Pluralsight is more of a learn on your own time.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I'm definitely curious about this.

We're small and rely on general flexibility + reasonable budget for this sort of thing. But I think bigger orgs have to be a lot more deliberate.

Looking forward to seeing what folks do in this thread.

itsasine profile image
ItsASine (Kayla) • Edited

I've seen Pluralsight subscriptions being offered; now I think they moved to Udacity or Udemy (note: this isn't 1 to 1 with learning your subject area -- anyone can learn anything so long as it was available in the license). There has been talk about reimbursing for resources like those used personally, too, like CodeSchool (rip) and Packt Pub, but I never tried it since I buy that stuff for myself.

I think it works best if it's legitimately used to further skills while on the clock. My place gives out licenses on a "use it or lose it" policy, but never actually allocates time to professional development, so it's "have free time or lose it". The employer-sponsored training should be done on employer-sponsored time.

They do Lunch-n-Learns to get large knowledge transfers going, but it feels very much like /r/IAmA. In the early days, it was coworkers sharing their knowledge area. Now they just bring in PhDs from local universities to talk about their ultra niche subject for an hour. Not helpful in the slightest.

I prefer to loosey goosey learn on my own with ebooks or grad school as I already have been.