re: How do you survey your employees to know what skills to teach them? VIEW POST

FULL DISCUSSION
 

Invariably they run into some issues with PostgreSQL...

PostgreSQL is an immensely complex system, so that's to be expected.

...and would like one or more lessons on better practices using PostgreSQL.

Interns are usually fresh out of college, so their default approach is, "If I don't know something someone is obligated to teach me what I don't know." However, interns should be getting exposure to the real world, and in the real world of software development you don't walk around asking to be taught, you learn to teach yourself. There is no substitute for self-driven continuing education in a technology field, and the sooner they learn that the better off they will be.

If it is a new employee, I am far less forgiving unless they are an entry-level role, in which case I treat them like interns. If they are not entry-level, not knowing something and then asking their new employer to be taught the skills to do their job tells me I made a bad hire. There is a massive difference between, "I don't know this, so I'm going to learn it," and, "I don't know this, so you need to teach it to me." No, I do not - I need to find someone who has learned how to learn.

How should I survey them to prioritize what concepts to teach?

I have no idea, as I don't know how you can know what they don't know without subjecting them to examination. There is a name for this process of examination => figure out what they don't know => teach them what they don't know, and it's called "School."

Some organizations are set up to be part-school in the name of "employer-provided continuing education," but I've never thought it was in the best interest of anyone involved. This is a classic, "Give someone to fish, and they eat for a day. Teach someone to fish, and they eat for the rest of their life." There is so much to learn in a technology field, that an employee could justifiably claim that they must attend the organization-funded education program for 100% of their employment. While this is a good deal for the employee, it's not a good deal for the employer.

In your situation, I would give them a lecture on the importance of learning how to learn, and give them strategies for how to do that.

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