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I Like My IT Budget Tight and My Developers Stupid 235

Esther Schindler writes "'Who has money to train these guys nowadays? They should be lucky they're still employed, right? Keep thinking that way,' writes Lisa Vaas. The competition applauds your choice to glue your wallet shut. Or, to put this another way: This is why the boss won't pay for developer training. Vaas explains how those still training manage to get their training budgets funded."
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I Like My IT Budget Tight and My Developers Stupid

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  • yeah okay (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Flyerman ( 1728812 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @07:20PM (#36077456) Journal

    Really not trying to troll anyone with that summary.


    • by blair1q ( 305137 )

      the metasummary says it all about the summary

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by x*yy*x ( 2058140 )
        That's why it's inevitable that everything will soon be moved to cheaper countries. That's why US is fighting so hard to get strict copyrights all over the world now, because entertainment is basically the only thing US still has major lead in. But growing amount of people are starting to understand there might be better entertainment than the bubblegum hollywood stuff. The giant is falling and trying to fight back off its inevitable end.
        • There is nothing that compares with US based, on-site developers who speak the language, understand the culture, and know the ins-and-outs of the business. Sure outsourcing works in a few situations, but all we're really seeing is the pendulum swing in the opposite direction: outsourcing IT to (insert country here) didn't work, so let's in-source and keep it as cheap as possible. This too shall pass, and eventually management will happen upon an "equitable" pay grade that fits their business model and profi
          • by grcumb ( 781340 )

            There is nothing that compares with US based, on-site developers who speak the language, understand the culture, and know the ins-and-outs of the business.

            Tragically, most of the rest of the world agrees, and as a result, the vast majority of the globe's population has to deal with software designed for use in the US.

            OBAnecdote: The birthday on my Ontario driver's license was wrong for years because the database system they used stored dates in mm/dd/yyyy format, but all the forms were in (Canadian-style) dd/mm/yyyy format. In my case, it worked out fine, because I got another couple of months grace before I had to renew my tags.

            So, allow me to extend your a

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Speaking of stupid developers - what is it with blogs including hundreds of KB of Javascript for a mostly static page now?!

      Just check out the page size there - it's 1.5MB in size uncompressed (532KB compressed) for a pretty short article in a plain-looking page. Not only that but it pulls in scripts and documents from all over the web, slowing page loads even more..

      • What kills me is that to make a comment like that puts you in the group of people too smart to need developer training. When was the last time you didn't know more about new trends than your prof? Do slash-dotters really whine about night/weekend education budgets? Would we learn more in some community college class, or designing the world's next generation AI?

        • Re:yeah okay (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @09:06PM (#36078216)

          When was the last time you didn't know more about new trends than your prof?

          Why the hell would an undergrad prof be teaching new trends? And yes, the prof usually knows a lot more than me in the area he teaches, that's why he's the prof and I go to his class. Meanwhile, training is focused on something small, like SVN or a dev methodology. No profs anywhere.

          • So, skip class, download SVN source code, along with Mercurial, git, and bzr. Compare not just the functionality, speed, portability, and ease of use, but look at the code. Compare the styles, and figure out what kind of code you want to write. Granted, profs usually do know more about their field, but the future will be built by hackers too bored to do the assigned homework.

            • Real colleges don't give a class on SVN unless it's about building a batter source control widget. They just assume you already know it. So which class were you skipping?
              • What a great typo.

              • by grcumb ( 781340 )

                Real colleges don't give a class on SVN unless it's about building a batter source control widget.

                I generally store mine in the fridge, though I'll admit that freeze/thaw is occasionally a problem.

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            It is not about the training, it is about being able to substantiate your skills. Quality certification enables you to publicly substantiate your skill set, everything else is just a abstract claim until your skills are proven, or not, on the job.

            Of course the other main claim to coding skills is contributing to open source software, where your personal contributions are properly attributed.

            Outside of that you are relying on references from you current company, somewhat tricky (don't get that job your

            • It is not about the training, it is about being able to substantiate your skills. Quality certification enables you to publicly substantiate your skill set

              This isn't relevant to anything I wrote, but what the hell: most certs suck, so how is this true, and why should I spend $$$ to prove that I know SQL? You should be able to get an idea about someone's ability to work in an hour or two or you can't interview anyway.

              you are relying on references from you current company, somewhat tricky

              I don't tell my boss, I ask my coworkers, who have little incentive to lie one way or the other.

              For those coders treated like mushrooms (kept in the dark and fed bullshit), with no public recognition, shifting jobs is difficult especially if you also want to shift localities, another state or country.

              Not so much in my experience, although getting exposure certainly helps.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by srodden ( 949473 )

          The prospect of an AI designed by slashdotters makes me tremble with fear.

          It would only run on linux, it would be constantly arguing with everyone, it would be an insufferable pedant, post pro-Stallman propaganda on every public forum on the net and spend the other half of its day trolling 4chan memes on social networks like bebo.

      • I find it helpful to use privoxy. The learning curve is something you only have to face once, and being free of ads and tracking while using any browser you like makes it worthwhile. Taking responsibility for your own system beats bitching at people for coding their own websites the way they see fit, hands down.
      • by Nursie ( 632944 )

        And what's even better is that (using Adblock Pro) you can switch off 99% of this crap without affecting your browsing experience in the slightest. Which tells me that most of what it's doing is either -

        1) For someone's benefit other than mine
        2) Useless

      • by mldi ( 1598123 )

        Speaking of stupid developers - what is it with blogs including hundreds of KB of Javascript for a mostly static page now?!

        Just check out the page size there - it's 1.5MB in size uncompressed (532KB compressed) for a pretty short article in a plain-looking page. Not only that but it pulls in scripts and documents from all over the web, slowing page loads even more..

        Besides the uncompressed JS (which is probably more a system administrator's fault), the content on the page is very rarely the developer's fault. Some manager is probably telling the developers, "Oh! I like that! Oooh! Facebook widget! And I want Flickr widgets! Wait, I want to use these 2 different analytics services. Also, Twitter feeds!!! I want it all!", at which point, developers have very little to say about how that gets done.

        Do you blame the laborer at a potato chips plant if the chips taste lik

    • Hurray for Slashdot and its never ending ads for blogs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      This is only the case in certain companies.

      You might as well summarize the article as "incompetent people don't know what they're doing"

      Slashdot's "No Shit Week" continues.

      • Isn't that supposed to be "No Shit, Sherlock Week"? Actually, I suspect we may have entered the "No Shit, Sherlock Decade" around 2007.
  • Why Train? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @07:24PM (#36077498)
    When they'll do it themselves on their own time and their own dime?
    • by drpimp ( 900837 )
      No doubt, and then you can always move on to greener pastures (with your new found skill set) and not have to feel any guilt of using resources from your employer (or some kind of deal to stay for X amount of time) and pat yourself on the back for being assertive with your ever growing quest of nerdiness ... errr ahhh IT knowledge.
    • Re:Why Train? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by williamhb ( 758070 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @07:38PM (#36077630) Journal

      When they'll do it themselves on their own time and their own dime?

      It depends on the topic. It is quite likely that the more interested engineers will teach themselves Scala or some other hot language after hours. It is much less likely that they will spend their home time learning how to integrate with AcmeHorribleLegacySystem or FooCorpProprietaryTechTheyCantAccess that you need your software to work with in order for your business to earn cash. And it's not terribly easy to direct what people learn after hours -- half the replies to this post might well say "Scala??? Why would you want to learn that, ${OtherTrendingLanguage} is the way of the future!".

      The bigger problem with training from my perspective it that it is usually so dumbed down and slow.

      • Not only that, but training is different from experience.

        Do you want someone who's gone to a week long class about whatever or someone who's been working on whatever for a year?

        So there is SOME logic to hiring as opposed to training. You already have people who can explain the weirdness of your existing systems to the new person.

        But just because there's some logic to it does not make it the best course. Instead, you should DEMAND that they read books (that you bought) and pass certifications (that you pay f

        • Re:Mod parent up. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by uptownguy ( 215934 ) <> on Monday May 09, 2011 @08:02PM (#36077818)

          Not only that, but training is different from experience.

          Not only that, but people often muddy the issue by confusing the terms education (attending a class, studying to pass a cert test) with training (hands on, real-world experience).

          To help clarify the difference, a colleague of mine once put it this way... if you are having trouble drawing a distinction between education and training: Just think of your teenage daughter and how you would feel if her school offered sex education vs. sex training...

          • Basically, "education" deals with theory, and teaches you the fundamentals of some field of study. It doesn't teach you the very latest goings-on, but it gives you a solid foundation to learn that stuff on your own.

            "Training" is basically monkey-see-monkey-do: someone shows you exactly how to do something, and you repeat it. This is useful when, for instance, showing a factory worker how to operate a machine.

          • That was the first comment to make me laugh out loud in a long time, thank you good sir.

          • Re:Mod parent up. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @10:53PM (#36078828)

            Not only that, but people often muddy the issue by confusing the terms education (attending a class, studying to pass a cert test) with training (hands on, real-world experience).

            Inventing distinctions that aren't part of the existing definitions of words, and then blaming other people by "confusing the issue" because they don't use your non-standard distinction between the words is, well, rather bizarre.

            While certainly study of abstract theory can be distinguished to an extent from hands-on practice, "education" isn't limited to the former, and "training" isn't limited to the latter. And, really, even ignoring the semantics, the division is somewhat artificial for things like programming (or most active intellectual pursuits.) If you can't apply the theory in practice, you don't actually understand the theory, and if you don't understand the theory, you've got very limited practical scope, as well. Professional education -- or professional training -- involves theory and practical application together.

        • Re:Mod parent up. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by pla ( 258480 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @10:31PM (#36078700) Journal
          Instead, you should DEMAND that they read books (that you bought) and pass certifications (that you pay for) and then use those skills on side projects.

          Wow, way to lose your best talent - Y'know, the ones that actually have options other than putting up with you, Mr. Bonaparte?

          If you "DEMAND" that I learn CrappyLegacySystemX that I will never, ever see outside the present job, I'd do what it takes to learn it and make myself the best damned CLS-X coder you've ever had; but you can bet your ass I'd do it on company time, and we can take it up with the labor board if you expect me to learn externally-useless skills, unpaid (no, buying the goddamned books and tests doesn't count, you weasel). Or more realistically, you'd give me an ultimatum, and I'd laugh as you squirm when I call your bluff and leave for greener pastures.

          If, however, you want to help me learn ThingI'veExpressedAnInterestIn, which oh by the way happens to translate directly into skills applicable to CLS-X, then we can talk. But don't think my off-the-clock time belongs to your whims except insofar as they first satisfy my own.

          Good managers don't threaten and manipulate, they remove obstacles to their team getting the job done. And when the manager himself counts as the obstacle... The same rule still applies. Remove yourself, or explain steadily declining output to your own boss, when no one but C-student interns will put up with you.
        • by pla ( 258480 )
          and then use those skills on side projects

          Damn. Why do I suddenly feel that I get to dine on a fine meal of crow a l'orange this evening?

          In hindsight, it appears I've taken your meaning all wrong, and owe you an apology. I suspect you largely agree with my other post, except insofar as it kinda, uh, attacks you a wee bit.

          Mea culpa.

          Of course, if I did read you right the first time, feel free to ignore this apology. ;)
      • The engineers might not even want to bother learning applicable stuff off-hours, and might want to learn something different. For instance, if the engineer is a C++ applications developer, he might want to learn some PIC assembly at home for an embedded project, or perhaps some PHP/mysql to set up his own website for some hobby purpose, rather than learning the latest stuff about ${currentlyPopularC++Library}. Speaking as an engineer, we frequently like to spend our off time learning about something that'

      • From first hand experience I know this to be true.

        When I get home and want to tinker with something, I know my bosses at work would love it if I spent a bunch of time learning perl so I could come to work and work on those ancient obfuscated scripts. What they don't understand is that I play with python in my free time specifically because I don't want to have to be the guy that has to deal with that mess. If they sent me off to do some training I'd be more than happy to go, but it's like the article said

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 09, 2011 @07:25PM (#36077504)

    Most developer training is absolutely useless. For any recent technology, unless you've got one of the engineers directly from the vendor teaching you, you're likely only going to be dealing with a consultant or lecturer that has read a book on the subject, and has maybe played with the technology in question for a week or two.

    The time is better spent in the trenches, going to battle with the technology you want to learn about. You'll need to fight with it. You'll need to grab it by the testes and twist it into what you need it to be; into what you need it to do. You will learn so much more than if you sit in a room with a bunch of your co-workers and listen to the lecturer ramble on, using one unrealistic micro-example after another.

    • by Palmsie ( 1550787 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @07:35PM (#36077602)

      It sounds like your experience with training is more about poor training environments than it is about the usefulness of training itself. Training is supposed to... well, train you. Train you for what? For actually using the software in real environments for real problems and creating real solutions. If the training isn't accomplishing this it may be that the training company/trainer/consultant is garbage.

      • it may be that the majority of training providers are garbage, hence the sentiment that training is useless. if useful training were more prevalent than not, wouldn't you see more comments in favor? i took a class on android development, but it was good for theory only. the anonymous coward above is right: if you don't have a use for a technology then just reading about it, or watching a demo, isn't going to turn on any lightbulbs for you. training doesn't show you what to do when things go wrong (the most
        • Most employees who are smart are able to train themselves. Especially if the upcoming training is weeks away and an employee can learn all they need from some books, or even a trainer's slides. If the trainer comes from the vendor directly more often than not they're going to be proselytizing. If they're a consultant, they'll be reciting from a book.

          The time when training is good for smart people is when they already know about the subject and can ask relevant questions.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Well, most of the time you are in a class with a lot of other people and the level of the class will reflect their average skill. A lot of the corporate training I've seen has been crutches for people who can't figure it out on their own, people that have drawn the short straw and say "really, I know nothing about this I need some training at least". Very often the advanced topics only give you one specialization when what you'd really want is a general course on speed, either in half the time or going twic

      • by pavon ( 30274 )

        I agree with the AC; there is such a thing as good corporate training? I have never seen it.

        I actually enjoy learning things from class, and in the University environment it had many advantages over teaching yourself, the biggest of which are:
        * Feedback (questions and grading) corrects false understanding quicker.
        * A good curriculum ensures that there aren't any big gaps in your understanding.
        * A fixed schedule prevents it from always being pushed to the bottom of your priorities.

        None of the corporate train

      • by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @09:22PM (#36078312) Homepage

        It's also worth pointing out that while the summary, and to a certain extent the article, focuses on traditional "become a certified Share Point guru" sorts of training; there's a strong undercurrent of people "training" in the sense of just being given on the clock time to learn stuff and play with tech. At least one company is specifically mentioned as having a policy similar to Google's "20%" where they expect their tech employees to spend 20% of their time (on the clock) learning, working on personal projects, and generally unwinding. This company has seem efficiency gains rather than loses since implementing the policy. The majority of the article does focus on the kind of training that a lot of slashdotters consider useless (I don't entirely agree, but I can see the point), but there's definitely kernels of wisdom floating around in there too.

      • I've been working as a software engineer for close to 15 years now, and have attended countless training courses. When I worked at Intel, they were really big on training and constantly sent me to those things. In my seasoned view, the vast majority of them were a complete waste of time, and were exactly like what the OP said: they're run by some consultant who's read a book on the subject and maybe, maybe played with the technology in question for a week or two.

    • by MarcoAtWork ( 28889 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @08:06PM (#36077854)

      There is more to training than "time spent in the trenches"

      - learning a new language/paradigm often allows you to think of your current language/environment in new ways
      - often at a conference/training there will be BOF sessions and/or Q&As that are worth a lot more than the training/conference themselves, but if you're not there you won't see them
      - at a conference/training you can expand your network, so next time your company is hiring you can remember that person xxx at course yyy was great to work with and you can try to refer them
      - if your company sends you to an expensive conference/training it's saying that they care about your career enough to invest in it, rather than treating you like a shelf-limited resource
      - training/conferences can expose you to different areas that you would not necessarily work in, and often this exposure translates in insights directly applicable to your area

      of course the % of companies that actually see their employees as a valuable resource instead of as an easily replaced cog is exceedingly small, after all companies that force developers to work on antiquated PCs with postage-stamp monitors and on rickety dollar store chairs aren't likely to spend 3-4k/year + time off for their education...

    • I've been pretty impressed by the training my company has been able to put together lately.

      • Seth Hallem, founder and former CEO of Coverity [] came to teach us about their static analysis tool.
      • Dan Saks [] came to teach us about embedded software best practices.
      • Scott Meyers [] came to teach us about using the STL effectively.
      • James Grenning [] came to teach us about test driven development.
      • Michael Barr [] came to teach us about real time scheduling.

      Most of these guys are well respected in their fields, and while not exactly famous, are names I had seen more than once in connection with those topics. All of them spent some time looking at our company's needs specifically before doing the training in order to customize it for us. Our company isn't small, but not huge either. We have around 1600 employees, a few hundred of which took the training. It has really helped us revitalize a lot of our old school techniques. If a company our size can put a line up of training like that together, it ought to be within reach of most mid-size organizations.

  • my women.

    (Sorry. I just couldn't resist.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 09, 2011 @07:41PM (#36077666)

    But it totally misses the reasoning, at least in my field. Wireless telecom has very large variety of equipment that is vendor specific, or protocol specific and I have never seen a comprehensive field of classes out there besides the vendors that supply the equipment. Due to this, and nobody wanting to lock themselves in small segment tied to only one vendor, they do not spend their own money to learn it all. My experience was starting from college with an IT background, and a smart manager hiring me fresh, because back then he knew the seperate telecom world was going to clash with IT, while the old guys did not think they needed to know anything about IP.

    They sent everyone to trainiung, at least a couple times. The ones who did not appear to use the knowledge, or even retain stayed on the bottom tiers while those who did grow got promotions, and eventually left the operations group to engineering.

    I stuck with that company for awhile, then management changed, and with it their beliefs. I no longer received training, and I started to stagnate as an employee, since instead of giving us project's for things we knew, but they would rather hire from outside than promote/train from within. This saves the bottom line on the short term, but with that mindset also changes the mindset of the employee's. Now instead of everyone wanting to stay with company it was valid that the only way to move ahead was to change employers. People coming into the same company demanded higher salaries than an internal promotion would get, and the cycle continued. Now that company is suffering, in particular having a problem with retention. I too have since left, to another company that still helps me grow, and with that I help my current employer grow. I like it here!

    So no, the company doesn't want its employee's to be stupid but they fail to see the long term effect their plan gives. In my experience it changed Netops/engineering from a group of faithful employee's who could see a future with them, into the departments having a revolving door.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 09, 2011 @09:54PM (#36078486)

      hahaha sounds so familiar.

      It's the new way of running business. Owner hired an operations manager with those beliefs, hired tons of useless, extremely high paid people, fired everyone who was competent as he saw them as useless as their pay was lower. fired my boss because he believed they could do better by hiring an ITT tech graduate. They added a new role and hired a consultant from Las Vegas who had no experience with server 2003 let alone 2008, ignored everything I said, treated me as if I had no idea what I was doing. Then when I quit, they hired an ITT tech graduate.

      a year and a half later, their network is in shambles, the turnover rate is about 1 month, the people in the lowest parts of the company get paid MINIMUM wage, and they've got five lawsuits on their hands now (why he hired the operations manager in the first place, to avoid this) because they hired unqualified employees because qualified employees they'd have to pay more than minimum wage. So after these employees let a few people die on their watch (this was an adult care company) shit got worse.

      All of this to cut costs! but they ended up spending so much more money going with cloud computing and overpaid lofty bullshit positions where those people just look at porn all day and take vacations every 2 weeks.

      Bonus! They cancelled all water services because "buying water jugs for the office coolers was just too expensive" instead they bought $1000 pallets of water bottles to distribute amongst all the locations, and were shocked that after a day that all the water bottles were used up. So they started buying $5,000 worth of pallets. week, tops.

      Water service: $50 location at the most. less if they were leasing a filtration machine that just used tap water and filtered it (lol, doesnt filter anything.)

      It's the new business mentality, driven by egotistical morons who do generous rounding in their heads and make up imaginary numbers to cut costs rather than sit down and analyze the costs, and spending where necessary and saving where necessary.

      on an IT related note: The new IT guys quadrupled the IT spending budget after we left. We ran it, willingly, on a shoestring budget, and only got expensive stuff where necessary, and made sure it came with warranties. These idiots built custom built PCs, invested heavily in tens of thousands of dollars of cisco equipment that sat around, and a lot of it was unaccounted for after they were fired. What they did replace with cisco equipment broke the network badly, and rid of any cost effective solutions we implemented. Funny how fast your former employer begs for help when sending a file across a windows domain in the same office takes 45 minutes due to networking clusterfucks and improperly configured devices. Not that I helped them, I do not want to even go near that nightmare.

      Yes, the only way to get up in the company after that was to leave, and that's what I did. I get paid a little less now, but I bring home more due to commission, and I am a lot better now than I was at that old company.

    • The problem is not about getting you trained in using an obscure piece of hardware from an obscure vendor. The fear is once you receive valuable training, you will move on to greener pastures. The investment in you will be lost, and since your demands would then rise (because you're trained/certified) retaining you with the same salary would be harder.

      Think about the people your company was hiring from outside. Where did they get their skills and knowledge? On what basis were they able to demand on startup

  • As an IT Manager (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 09, 2011 @07:45PM (#36077686)

    I welcome my idiot colleagues that take this approach. To an IT pro, training is as valuable a method of retaining good staff as offering more money. Being proactive and obtaining training for your staff tells them you actually give a damn about them and their future, whether with the company or not, which promotes loyalty in employees who recognize the effort and, lo and behold, INCREASES the chances of retaining talent.

    Those that don't care are likely to move on anyway regardless of what you do. Those that only work for money and don't want training aren't the kind of employees I want on my staff anyway (the only exception being those that go home at the end of the day and do their job as a hobby as well).

    Ultimately this approach is self-defeating as the staff is untrained on evolving technology. Not only will the talent leave, those that are left are incapable of handling new projects that Management demands making you, as the manager, look like a FOOL when you can't deliver.

    • Paid time off for training plus certs I would consider tantamount to vacation time, and would appreciate it.

      Last training I went to was for SunCluster, and there was some neat hardware to play with in the lab, and the instructor was actually pretty solid. Got to do some extracurricular HBA tweaking as well as one of the other students' systems wasn't recognizing the one in his workstation.

      Plus, A5000 arrays, which I just think are neat even though their capacity can be matched or exceeded by desktop drives

  • This article seems to be about selling you that paper certifications are something you need for your employees. Anyone who has interviewed or worked with many of the people with these certifications knows that they are worthless. My favorite was a MCSE that didn't know how to install a video card driver. What matters is that the people can actually do the work, if they self taught/apprenticed I'll take them anyday over a certification
    • by YojimboJango ( 978350 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @08:57PM (#36078176)

      Your comment is telling.

      You're not sending your good employees (you know, the ones that you already know are intelligent) out to get certs. You're attempting to hire talent that already comes pre-trained so you don't have to do it. Anyone can fake their way through a class and memorize questions for a test, your goal should be to know your workers and send the ones that show promise off.

      Find that smart kid from ops who seems to spend his days fixing printers and ghosting machines and send him out to get a MSCE. You'll probably wind up with half decent net admin when you're done. Hiring some mouth breather just because he paid for a cert and you've got a 95% chance of failure.

      Actually that could be a way to weed out cert idiots, just ask them who paid for the cert. If it's their last employer it could be an indicator that they saw some talent there. Food for thought that.

      • I don't think you quite understand how the rest of society operates.

        My wife works in insurance. Most of my family works in the public sector.

        The rest of society works by getting an education for a specific job and any small change... you get training. The idea of hiring someone with 'potential' just doesn't exist in 95% of the world.

        Let me give you a little contrast here.

        Doctors spend years studying medicine and then a few more years specializing in some narrow field. They continue to work in that narrow

    • I think you're making a logical error. You are comparing the value of the certificate as a predictor of success (that is, how much - if any - weight to give their degrees and certifications when deciding whether to hire them) and the value of the training process - yes, completely ignoring the certificate at the end - for someone that you've already hired and whose ability is not in question.

      The question isn't whether someone with less intelligence or no experience in the subject matter can become an expert

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        You are comparing the value of the certificate as a predictor of success (that is, how much - if any - weight to give their degrees and certifications when deciding whether to hire them) and the value of the training process

        Probably because we had a story here a couple days ago about "the value of the certificate as a predictor of success" compared to the value of a portfolio of hobby projects.

  • by b4dc0d3r ( 1268512 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @07:54PM (#36077770)

    No secret, the only way to get a decent raise is to jump ship. No one gets up the ladder at one company. Get experience, go to another job and get the raise you should have gotten, then get more experience, jump ship again.

    I worked for two fortune 100 companies, and people would quit, and then they'd be back in 2-3 years. Earning 30% more.

    Companies would rather hire an outsider with paper experience than give someone who knows the company a big enough raise to keep them. I even went for salary matching once and got a counter offer $8k less.

    Pay me what I'm worth, and the certifications won't lead me away. Otherwise I'm skipping back and forth, chasing a decent raise.

    • Fuck that, I quit, my pay went up more than 20% the next day, and my stress went down.

      And I wasn't making exactly below market when I quit, And it was a bad economy.

      And the best thing corporate training sessions are for, especially things like the 'free' oracle developer days, and similar shit, is for networking. Make friends with people from the other companies, get cards and/or email addresses. Keep in touch with the assholes who leave your company. Thats how you land the good jobs.

      The pimps will get y

    • I'm assuming you are American. This is not always the case in other countries and it is certainly not the case here in Japan. Loyalty between company and employee is an important part of our corporate culture and loyal employees are often very well rewarded. There is also the option to jump back and fourth, we call it "haken" and you choose or get chosen for a job you are likely to be good at and work on short term contracts. The downside to haken is that you don't get raises or benefits and after a few yea

    • by wrook ( 134116 )

      Do that too much and in a down market you will price yourself out of a job. I've seen it happen many times. You get these guys who play the system trying to get that extra couple of percent raise every year and before you know it they are making 30% more than anyone else. But then the company gets hit hard some way and they find some excuse to lay off the expensive talent. Then these expensive guys go around trying to find another job, but can't land a thing because their last job was considerably highe

  • by Wolfling1 ( 1808594 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @08:01PM (#36077812) Journal
    Great swathes of middle management tiers were slashed during the early 90s in a vain attempt to show shareholders that organisations were more 'lean'. This senior management mentality left many organisations with no one who knew their business systems from a management perspective, and no one glueing together the corporate culture.

    The unappreciated middle manager was the guy (pardon the sexist reference, but before the 90s, they mostly were guys) who established business systems and then went about implementing and policing them. For some strange reason, senior managers believed that they could replace this critical part of the organisation with code-cutters.

    For a limited time it worked. You can make burgers with a robotic arm. However, it eventually started to slide sideways when people realised that their career was not going to be furthered by a performance management spreadsheet, and when their workmates were being retrenched by e-mail, the workers went into open revolt. Through no fault of their own, the IT workers were blamed for this loss of corporate identity - and the IT retrenchments that followed Y2K were testament to the corporate beliefs.

    Now, ten years has passed, and this article has surfaced about 20 times. Despite its title, its NOT about training IT boffins. Its about trying to rebuild the middle management layer. People like Lisa Vaas have realised that the only viable candidates for the role are the IT people. They are the only ones who understand the business systems, and are the only ones who interact with the business on a horizontal plane instead of a vertical one.

    Sadly, senior management are still trying to woo the shareholders with their clever cost cutting measures. And they feel more than a little threatened by the IT folk who know all their dirty little secrets. I doubt that any training gleaned by this approach will be more useful than a PHP refresher. Worse still, that is all that Lisa is asking for - when really, the IT crowd are the only ones holding the corporate life preserver these days.
    • by DDLKermit007 ( 911046 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @09:19PM (#36078284)
      The funny thing that I've noticed is that management at the big corps still don't care about this. I've been watching this specific scenario happen over and over. IT turns into a kludge due to a lack of direction (those managers you speak of missing), and for whatever reason these companies think the answer is cutting costs even further. How they are doing it? Outsourcing! Your local helpdesk to India or Philippines, and your local IT people? Pushed over to the outsource company if they are techs, and if they are coders, engineers, etc. they have been getting the axe. They end up replacing them all with overworked people from the outsourcing company who come in with no clue about the buisness, likely will never set foot on their buisnesses property, and think all of that will make things better.

      Larger corporations really have quite the hatred for the very people they need to make the wheels go round, and it makes no sense to me. They all end up getting burned anyways. They either end up having to kick the outsource group out on their ass, and try to kiss ass to their employees they just screwed, stagnate since projects to push the company forward cost the outsource group money when what's in place "works right now", or even more comically, they end up bringing on an VIP IT staff specifically to manage the higher up's ideas and problems since the outsource companies won't do a damn thing an SLA doesn't make them do, CIOs know this, but run with it anyways for that bonus before they jump ship.

      It's getting much worse before it'll get better...
      • I've been in IT since 386/486 days and it has been a steady decline ever since. I work for a global company and I'm one of only two network admins *total*. In fact the entire corporate IT staff is eight including the helpdesk and server admins. However, we have 6 managers including the CIO. That is almost a manager per person and the managers are not technical. IT depts have become so lean and skimpy but those at the top manage to cling to their titles and positions even to the detriment of everything else.

    • by Dan667 ( 564390 )
      reading this reminds me of the phrase "too many chiefs and not enough indians". Where I use to work they got rid of all the people that actually did work and kept all the middle managers. Then they all freaked out when nothing got done.
  • by mwfischer ( 1919758 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @08:15PM (#36077910) Journal

    Let's make a moron matrix.

    Miserable environment + no further education = going to leave (unless they're morons. the dumb ones get comfortable and will stay and continue to shit all over the place) You lose in productivity and group morale as everyone hates IT or Joe User tries to fix things on their own making things even worse.

    Miserable environment + education = probably going to leave after "free training" (read - opportunity cost). If you're going to run a shit hole, run a shit hole. Don't randomly throw them a bone. They'll make it into a ladder. Simply bad / clueless management does this.

    Great environment + no education = probably going to learn on your own to be happy. The law of diminishing returns applies here. It's going to suck soon unless you pay them / give a title / whatever makes the little buggers happy. You're soaking management / planning costs here. Managers are more expensive than grunts.

    Great environment + education = you're going to keep them longer. LoDR also applies here, but the effect is slower.

    As an employee, make your mistakes on someone else's dime. When you used up all internal opportunity, bail to greener pastures.

    As a director you have a choice. You can get by making a technology barren revolving door shit hole (and don't forget how it messes with the entire org system morale). You lose productivity in having to get new people to adapt but you don't spend "visible" dollars.

    As a director you can make a genuine nice place to work. Give education opportunities, make a nice organic learning culture, and treat people with respect. Hire those who will support this structure. You spend "visible" dollars on training and gain "invisible" dollars on productivity rates, retention, and expertise. The worker will become more efficient over time. You will slowly spend more visible dollars on cost of living / regular raises and promotions but efficiency will increase until it plateaus. If they earn, they earn. Else, into the woodchopper you go.

    • LoDR also applies here,

      ...Lord of Da Rings? Joking aside, what does this mean? Google isn't giving me any straight answers.

    • As a director you can make a genuine nice place to work. Give education opportunities, make a nice organic learning culture, and treat people with respect. Hire those who will support this structure. You spend "visible" dollars on training and gain "invisible" dollars on productivity rates, retention, and expertise. The worker will become more efficient over time. You will slowly spend more visible dollars on cost of living / regular raises and promotions but efficiency will increase until it plateaus. If they earn, they earn. Else, into the woodchopper you go.

      I think the problem with this comes with these pesky people called shareholders. The director is not really in charge. The quickest way to make returns for shareholders is by the bean counters cutting back(so no training courses or rises and a few redundancies). The shareholders want a return now and then on to the next company. Shareholders have the least interest in the long term outcome of the company and probably the most sway.

  • As usual, it depends (Score:5, Interesting)

    by starfishsystems ( 834319 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @08:20PM (#36077950) Homepage
    First, let me address something important and then set it aside. Training is for monkeys. Education is for humans.

    Okay. This is a field in which rapid turnover of skill requirements is a given. Therefore, staff will not be able to deliver their best unless they are provided with the means to keep their skills fresh and relevant. I realize that even such a basic proposition as this will have its detractors, but frankly, they're idiots. There isn't much more to discuss on that front.

    On the other hand, there's lots to discuss when it comes to finding effective means for staff to maintain relevant skills. I remember how shocked I was when I first got out of university and went on some of the technical courses required and paid by my industry employer. Hour for hour, the cost was at least 50 times higher than what I had paid for course time at university. And the content was laughably thin. And the instructors usually cut a few corners, because the students, for the most part, were disinterested. This was in 1980 when hardware vendors provided courses in their own operating systems. Yes, in principle it was a good idea to provide this important aspect of product support. In practice, the approach was exceedingly inefficient.

    Good documentation was to become an even better idea. Take the original Unix documentation for example. It wasn't a course in system design, but if you had a reasonably general systems background you could rely on the documentation to fill in the specifics. And you could learn what you needed to know at your own pace. And it was free. All you needed was time. Most vendors became very committed to documentation. I'm not sure what was happening in the training industry at the time, because for decades I never ran into a situation which needed it.

    As time passed, however, a different trend began to assert itself. Consumer products gradually began to ship with less and less documentation. Most of what remained seemed to consist of legal disclaimers. On the industrial side of the fence, a similar trend followed about a decade later. Vendor literature is fancier than ever, but also considerably more vacuous. There are lots of pretty screenshots explaining what form fields to fill out, but not what the fields mean or what processing is taking place behind the facade, much less to provide an analysis of the general case.

    In other words, the state of vendor documentation today is what vendor training was like thirty years ago. And this is good business, because if you want anything more, you're going to have to pay for it. Alas, the training is no better than the documentation. It's worse, perhaps, for anyone whose reading speed is faster than human speech.

    Given this dismal state of affairs, I can see why employers don't find a lot of value in sending their staff off for training, especially if they have to travel to some distant city for several days. But don't let them throw the baby out with the bathwater! There are many other channels of education apart from the training industry. Some are enormously better value. You simply have to be willing to explore them. Conferences are a traditional example, as are university extension courses. I'm personally in favor of exchange programs, where organizations in the same sector allow their staff to trade places or engage in projects of common interest.

    We should regard such undertakings as characteristic of our profession, and show some initiative around them. Otherwise we are reduced to following, to being monkeys. In that case, training may be the right word after all.
    • ...staff will not be able to deliver their best unless they are provided with the means to keep their skills fresh and relevant.

      If only there were an easy way to connect with the world's vast knowledge, so that someone with the motivation and desire to learn could access it easily and cheaply from the comfort of his/her own home...

  • Has anyone had any good experiences with programming-centric training courses that they would recommend? Please, no introductory stuff.


    • by Eskarel ( 565631 )

      Best value for money training I've ever had was brining in a consultant to work with me on a real project. Sort of like the old on the job training people used to do but with expertise from outside the company. Not the cheapest thing mind you, but not really much more expensive than outsourcing the project to a consulting firm. Doesn't get you a cert of course, but it does get you actual knowledge which is more valuable most of the time.

      Of course how viable this is depends a lot on your current level of exp

    • Too many years ago I took "C for Professional Programmers" at UC Berkeley Extension because I was running into some places that I could not fathom a way out of. The guy teaching it had written a couple of books on compiler design and knew his stuff. I had to sort through some cruft, but it was a good course overall.

      check your local University for extension courses, most aren't cheep and are usually worth the money you pay.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 09, 2011 @08:22PM (#36077968)

    CFO says to CEO, "What if we spend all this money on training everyone, and they leave?"
    CEO replies, "What if we don't spend the money and they stay?"

  • To wipe out any trace of that consolation, you should know that there are people out there who are gleeful at the thought that you expect your staff to train themselves, on their own time, on their own dime.

    Two more factors that make it a vicious circle:
    Employees not given the chance to train themselves (after unpaid overtime as late as midnight?) to get the formal qualifications and certifications will almost necessarily be underpaid, while most training comes at a price tag that requires a corporate spon

  • I'm not sure about code monkeys. You know the guys who receive a project design and implement each individual function. I'm a software engineer and as such, as opposed to being a developer or a code monkey, my job is to identify problems, research the problems, research solutions and then either implement my findings or document it for a larger team of individuals to implement.

    A software engineer is a person that should be able to program, but it's just a small part of the job. The majority of a software en
  • I'm a guy that doesn't like traditional training. That is, I can't stand power point presentations with guys from the local training center. I'd rather poke my eyeballs out than sit through those classes. But that doesn't mean I don't need training.

    If I'm working on an important project, I'm going to be conservative. I'm going to use what I know works. I'm going to keep it simple and keep the risk low. But that means that I might overlook some fancy new technique or technology that would make the proj

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham