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Training - A Company or a Worker's Responsibility?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the extra-work-for-extra-responsibility dept.

Education 709

r0wan asks: "I'm currently working as a Microsoft Systems Administrator. Through a series of bungled management decisions, have found myself responsible for a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory network, that I know nothing about (the person who was sent for training was: not the Microsoft point person, as I was; and left the company, soon after the domain upgrade). It doesn't look as though training will be forthcoming, and I've just been moved from the lab, where I was training myself while simultaneously handling the domain. I've got the MCSA/MCSE Training Kit, but recently I've found numerous errors, so many that I was sent a free Press Kit book, for submitting all of the errors I had found. Between management's reluctance to shell out for training, and being moved from the lab, I'm getting the distinct sense that training is something I'm expected to take care of, on my own time. Is this the de-facto standard within IT, and for all jobs within IT? If so, how do you Slashdot readers keep up with your continuing education, while still maintaining a personal life? Is it naive to try to leave my work at work?""I'm especially interested in hearing from the Slashdot readers of the female persuasion, as I have a husband, a dog, and a household to keep up with (no kids by choice, but I wouldn't have the time to take care of them, even if I wanted to). I also have the added responsibility of being the primary breadwinner. My free time is valuable in that it allows me to take care of that which I can't during the day (grocery shopping, dog responsibilities, cleaning, etc), and decompress/de-stress in order to prepare for the next day's work. I like tinkering with computers and learning new stuff, but I fear that if I'm expected train myself, outside of work, I may need to consider a different career.

Thanks in advance for the input."

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Normal for my employer (4, Funny)

Easy2RememberNick (179395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554078)

I'm lucky if they tell me what day it is.

Re:Normal for my employer (4, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554122)

Ok, uhm, that's great. We're going to need your stapler, thanks. Didn't you get the memo?

Re: Normal for my employer (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554138)

> I'm lucky if they tell me what day it is.

Why does a mushroom need to know what day it is?

Re:Normal for my employer (1)

varmittang (849469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554298)

Who cares, you work everyday, even weekends since that is when you can fixed the most stuff without knocking everyone off the network.

Once the camel's nose is in the tent..... (4, Insightful)

DoraLives (622001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554082)

rely on seeing the rest the smelly thing in there with you sooner instead of later. Resist ALL attempts to cause you to spend your OWN time and money on things that benefit your bosses and/or the owners of the company instead of yourself.

But who does it really benefit? (2, Insightful)

SlashChick (544252) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554125)

But does it benefit the company more, or does it benefit the employee more? If she gets training, she'll be better able to demand a higher salary from the company he's working for now, or a higher salary in his next job.

I also think it should be the company's responsibility (in general, and in this case) to provide work-related training. However, I don't agree with your assertion that it only benefits the company involved.

Re:But who does it really benefit? (1)

loteck (533317) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554167)

But does it benefit the company more, or does it benefit the employee more? If she gets training, she'll be better able to demand a higher salary from the company he's working for now, or a higher salary in his next job.

while this may be true, keep in mind that not everyone is interested in simply positioning themselves for that next promotion or job. Some people, like the submitter, actually place a higher value on thier personal time than anything the company can offer, besides leaving them alone during off hours.

Re:But who does it really benefit? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554221)

    wait.. wait.. wait..

    You get off-hours??


    I get 24/7 pager duty, phone calls from 5am to .. well 2am, and am expected to know and do everything...

Should have been "she"/"her" all the way through. (1)

SlashChick (544252) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554172)

Got halfway through correcting it and got distracted. My bad :)

Re:But who does it really benefit? (4, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554187)

But does it benefit the company more, or does it benefit the employee more? If she gets training, she'll be better able to demand a higher salary from the company he's working for now, or a higher salary in his next job.

In this case, neither, but it benefits the employee the least. The company is being shortsighted by forcing an (admittedly) underqualified employee to manage something beyond training. They're also forcing said employee to "train" during free time from manuals and such instead of investing in real training.

It would be fair for the company to send the employee to real training, which would benefit both. If the company's not willing to invest in the employee, they shouldn't expect the employee to give up a ton of free time.

Re:But who does it really benefit? (3, Insightful)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554251)

It's not that I don't agree with the sentiment, but the company sent someone off to training who later returned the favor by jumping ship.

I've seen some training bungles in my time... like hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to train software engineers to use a proprietary software library... engineers who weren't even with the company that was doing the development.

However, if the company felt it important enough to send the one person off to... why not the other?

On one side, the company probably has a training budget. Did the original poster already have all the training budgeted to her that year? Well, no room to complain. Is the company trying to fleece the original poster? Well, that's a reason to complain.

Then there are a couple other points to that. If you're getting something out of your job that's more than a paycheck, it doesn't hurt to chip in a bit of personal expense to sharpen your skills. If the company treats you poorly otherwise, and you really don't get much out of your job, they probably at least owe you the training and equipment to do what they ask.

Re:Once the camel's nose is in the tent..... (3, Insightful)

loteck (533317) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554142)

And this goes double for IT. Especially if the location you are responsible for is open during hours that you aren't at work. However, the above poster's response isn't always possible.

Many IT professionals simply end up negotiating higher salaries based on the amount of personal time they are going to be giving up to be on call or to be in constant training. I realize this option isn't attractive to the submitter, but, especially if you're charged with mission-critical support for high availability networks, it seems to be the nature of the beast.

Re:Once the camel's nose is in the tent..... (5, Insightful)

WhyCause (179039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554249)

One thing I would suggest, keeping in line with this, would be to 'spin' it such that it is to the company's great benefit to ensure that you are properly trained. For example, you don't want to spend hours trying to solve a problem that a properly trained domain admin might spend 5 minutes fixing (think of the downtime!). This is the polite way of batting the camel on the nose (as it were) to make it back out of the tent.

If necessary, keep records of the time you spend on figuring out problems, and present this (in accumulated form) to your manager, insisting that training will reduce this. Present this in paper memo form, making sure to cc: to file (yours, paper, of course), and make certain that your manager's secretary stamps each memo you deliver to him or her with one of those "Received On" stamps (they still use those, right?). If your manager still refuses training, your ass is covered when the shit hits the fan (and it will).

I've never been in an IT position like this. It doesn't matter, though, because just about every manager with a lean training budget will act the same. Once you prove to your manager that this training is worth the investment, you'll generally get the support you need. On the other hand, you might see (currently) intangible benefits by training yourself. You're a go-getter with initiative. A straight-shooter with upper management written all over you.

Some advice (5, Insightful)

aliscool (597862) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554092)


Get your company to front for some M$ premier support. When something comes up you are not sure of or are having a hell of a time resolving, call in the experts at M$.

Except for one or two "M$ Alliance partners" I have always had good luck with M$ premier support. And we have had some major fiascos to unscrew over the years.

And best of all you can consider it free on the job training, don't let the M$ Engineer hang up until you completely understand what was wrong and how to fix it in the future.

Also, document everything you do! Two years from now you will be fighting the same or similar fires you are fighting today. Have a reference to fall back on and help remember what steps you took before that fixed something.

Sounds like you are a lone gun, but a 800 Premier support help number and some documentation may help greatly.

Best of luck with the new responsibilities.

Re:Some advice (1)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554161)

Get your company to front for some M$ premier support.

I dont get the idea from her description that her company is ready to tackle that nut. I think she is better off picking up a book like Minasi's on W2K3 and spending a few late nights getting comfortable with her servers.

In a word... (2, Informative)

gkuz (706134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554098)

Is this the de-facto standard within IT, and for all jobs within IT?


Re:In a word... (2, Informative)

iotashan (761097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554272)

I agree. This is *not* the standard. You need to go to your boss and explain that they need to train you to do these things or remove them from your job description.

In fact, I bet that this CURRENTLY is not in your job description. That should put you in an interesting position of requesting training AND a promotion in title.


Training (4, Informative)

flosofl (626809) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554100)

I have eight guys in my specific dept (a section of security). As it stands right now, we are averaging about 10,000 USD per person for training this year. It will probably double before the end.

Every company I've worked for (small, large, huge) have either paid for or reimbursed employees for relevant training.

Re:Training (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14554213)

I literally (4 weeks ago) just left a company that refued to ante up for any kind of training after promising it to get me to work there. The two factors when working for a company that I look for are pay/benefits and training. If the pay is average for you area/skill level etc, make sure they offer training. If they don't offer training, the pay needs to be upwards of $15,000-$20,000 over average to cover your cost (post tax that woud be about $10k-15k or so depending on your tax bracket) paying for classes/travel/expenses/unpaid time off that you will need to train yourself

Remember however, that training also benefits you. Training plus experience will get you a lot further than just experience alone. When studying for certifications, you will more than likely be forced to learn skills that you would not face in day-to-day operations at your job, as few companies end up using every feature/function of their chosen OS. Learning these skills will make you a better technical resource, and may help you land a better job down the road, or a promotion, or both.

Also note, that anything you spend toward self-training is tax-deductible under "un-reimbursed business expenese"

The norm for the industry? (5, Interesting)

lamasquerade (172547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554112)

Not at all! Sounds to me like your company is being miserly. Most IT companies, I believe, see the value of continuing education in our field and provide it. At my company, where I have been for two years, I have been on three training courses so far (one of three days, two of a week each). They have been for ITIL [] foundations, which is required for all employees, even non technical, and two HP Administration courses for products we support and deploy. In all cases I was paid while training as though I was at work, and in two cases I was flown to other cities in Australia, with the expenses taken care of - as is the norm I believe.

In fact this Sunday I'll be off to Melbourne for another course of a week, the second admin course for HPOV Performance Insight [] . Without the training I can't imaigine being able to deploy and support this quite complex (and not overly intuitive) product, it would in fact be negligent to have me do so.

I'd reccommend taking your need for education to your managemnt quite firmly, and if they won't budge look elsewhere - not just because of this particular issue, but because such behaviour is indicative of a lack of management vision IMO. If they can't outlay some cash now to train for the future it doesn't sound like they'll have much of a future to worry about - at least not a very interesting high growth one.

Re:The norm for the industry? (4, Insightful)

Andr0s (824479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554144)

I cannot say if it's the norm for the industry... but I just saw the loose ends of my department's budget for last year wrapped up, (I'm Remote Site Admin in a sizeable corporation's IT) and I was shocked at how much money was in it for IT staff training, unused. After chatting with some other friends in the industry, I discovered that often companies don't refuse to pay for training... but do expect employees to go through training without dropping any of their tasks. And since so many of IT people work 60+ hour weeks, we can all see how frequently that kind of training is a feasible scenario.

Re:The norm for the industry? (4, Insightful)

lamasquerade (172547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554199)

I hope 20 or so of those hours are paid overtime. I can't stand seeing some of my friends (grad lawyers and engineers) doing unpaid overtime because it's 'standard' in the industry or necessary to 'get ahead'. I'm out of here the second the clock strikes five (actually, usually 5 to 5 to get the good bus:) unless there's a project that needs to be worked on to meet deadline and I've got some pre-approved paid overtime (or some agrreed time off in lieu). Happily this is the norm at my company and it is the first job I had out of Uni, and I know it's harder to quit such a job if the culture in your workplace is all about unpaid overtime, but once you start submitting to that bullshit you can wave bye to your life IMO. If I didn't have a good five hours after work to relax and do other things I think I'd go quite mad...

Re:The norm for the industry? (1)

Andr0s (824479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554264)

I have to admit my company is a mixed one when it comes to overtime... I do get paid overtime (150%) for anything over 40h/week, but several of my colleagues were 'offered' salaried positions recently, meaning they really don't get paid any overtime - and if they refuse, well, adios. It's a bit of dirty play...

Re:The norm for the industry? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14554228)

Yes! And if not, it should be. You are getting paid for what you know and/or you're skills in the necesary aquiring knowledge. The bottom line is: Should a doctor be asked to pay for his training(yes, but he'll be rewarded handsomely)? How about an Engineer who designs a bridge(depends on who he works for)? Do you think knowledge is a static commodity that never changes? Well, MD's and PE's (Professional Engineers) are required to constantly update their skills and prove it with a state license. Up or Out! You may not agree, but those are 'Professional' jobs that require the individual to fork over the costs, time and effor to maintain their proficiency. If IT/Software is ever to be taken seriously as a profession, then individuals will have to take a 'Professional, commited role in their own success. Otherwise, we deserve no better than a $7.50/hr McJob. A 'Profession' demands high compensation because of the expectation that they are committed to a 'Profession'.

Raised some good points (3, Insightful)

Pollux (102520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554270)

This isn't the norm. Any company who understands that downtime = $$$ down the crapper knows that investing money in human resource training pays for itself down the road.

You didn't give any detail about how large of a domain is in your hands, and I don't know exactly how much you so far understand or don't understand about Win2K3 administration, but I'll leave that for someone else to post on.

Following this thread, there are three things that you must do in order to succeed in a precarious position such as this:

1) Take a crash course in Win2K3 server, because that's what you're responsible for. Someone might want to start up a thread with recommendations about where to begin.

2) Open up lines of communication between you and the managers. The computer network has become the modern spinal cord of the business workforce, and communication leads to familiarity leads to confidence. In times of storm (i.e. network downtime), your company will have to put their trust in you that they'll make it through.

3) Explain the situation to your managers in a language they understand: the almighty dollar. Tell them the truth. They threw their money in a garbage bin when they trained the wrong person. Failure to invest in proper training for IT staff leads to increased downtime leads to loss of commerce leads to loss of money. Tell them that they will lose money because their investments (e-commerce) right now are not proected (properly trained personnel). It's all about money.

And if nobody listens, I would be very cautious. Find another job that will better support you as you become a better admin, rather than be put in one where, when something serious goes down, you get all the blame. Better to be led away from the fire than to lead someone into it.

Quit your bitchin (-1, Troll)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554118)

Do you know how many qualified folks would love to take your job? Active Directory is not hard. In fact is is jokingly easy. (Which is why unqualified people are not exposed when using it) Take the opportunity (and responsibility) to learn something. Get good at it. Become an asset to your company. If they dont support your efforts to learn, take your new skills to someone else. You dont even have to get certified, because the MCSE means nothing. But see your position as an opportunity to grow, not just an opportuntity to bitch.

CYA (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554119)

I suppose if the company's managers want its infrastructure maintained by amateurs, that's their business. (No pun intended!)

However, you'll probably get the blame if something goes wrong. You might consider looking for another job.

Sounds like my job... (5, Interesting)

Jere H (220274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554120)

I moved from being an Excel junkie to being a network administrator with 5 servers. I had not used Active Directory or Windows Server 2003 before this point, so it was all new to me. My boss knows less than I do, and the people who installed the equipment basically showed us how to set up a new user when it was necessary.
Nobody told us how to map home folders, shared network drives, printers, set file permissions, or anything else. Everything I know was learned on my own, however, it was all researched on company time.
They've been pleased with the system so far. It's not too hard to learn.

Re:Sounds like my job... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14554209)

Wow, your company is on the road to screwsville.

Without qualified administration you are going to do things that you will regret later on. No offense to you, but I've seen this situation played out a million times. Some person with slightly higher than average computer skills gets elected into an admin role, and makes a royal mess that has to be cleaned up later when your company finally breaks down and hires someone competant.

Re:Sounds like my job... (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554286)

I think you're selling this guy a little short. Have you really seen it millions of times? Yes, you probably have seen lots of failures, but then if you're a consultant/contractor, you probably haven't ever been hired to fix up those implemenations which aren't broken. Thus, your sample size, while large, is somewhat skewed.

Re:Sounds like my job... (1)

RussR42 (779993) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554331)

Haha! That's me right now! After the last guy just like that. I can smell the death on their server setup - I've been begging for the cash to build a new one, parallel to the first from the gound up, as this one is beyond my ability to fix and they won't tolerate downtime (yeah, I know!)... So I'm outta there, and I've been asked to find a new amatuer for them. Only another week, I hope it holds together that long!

Training (3, Insightful)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554121)

At my company, we each get budgeted a certain amount of money (generous) for training. (We also get an allowance for professional organizations.) We also get paid for the time we are off site at traing events.
We have to get approval before taking a class we want to take, but they are very open to our ideas.
No matter what anyone says, a great strength of a company is its employees. The more we know, and the better we are, the better the company will do. It also has other benefits, as it makes us all feel better about our employer

Small company vs. big company (5, Insightful)

douglips (513461) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554128)

In a big company, the company will train you on their time and their dime. In a small company, they may not train you, but they should allow you the time to train yourself and/or learn by doing. Do NOT front any money for technical training like this. Maybe for a Masters degree, but not for some Microsoft certificate.

You have to choose what kind of company to work for, essentially.

Having done both, I liked the small company when I was young and had no kids, and now I like the big company.

Re:Small company vs. big company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14554344)

I feel your pain ... and the comment about training being provided by "big" companies ...

I work as a senior level Unix Administrator for one of the largest telcos around ... and they won't spend over $1,000 a year on anyone.

Wish you the best!

why are you doing all the house work? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14554131)

"I'm especially interested in hearing from the Slashdot readers of the female persuasion, as I have a husband, a dog, and a household to keep up with (no kids by choice, but I wouldn't have the time to take care of them, even if I wanted to). I also have the added responsibility of being the primary breadwinner. "

If you're the primary breadwinner, why are you also responsible for all the household chores?

Re:why are you doing all the house work? (1)

ancarett (221103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554247)

I don't think she implied she was doing all the household work, just that she was keeping up with it. I, too, am the primary breadwinner in our household but we both work outside the home as well as doing chores in our free time (add in two kids and two dogs for more responsibility and fun). It's neither fair nor fun to drop all of the household chores upon one partner, whatever their income!

As others have said, this much training is usually picked up by the company. I wonder if your employers don't understand how much of a leap this is: after all, isn't this all just Microsoft which you know already? (I know, I know -- put yourself in a tech-unsavvy mindset, however.) If you point up how much training is usually required to admin this and list out some of the alternatives (they pay for the support from Microsoft; they get you to get the training; they pay for another system), they'll hopefully come around. Either that, or you know it's time to send out those resumes!

Create More Free Time at Work (1)

aeplus (949182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554132)

I would try to get one or more assistants and convince the higher-ups that you'll be taking an hour or two per day on peer training. This will allow you to further your skills and also provide redundancy that benefits your employer.

Funny story. (4, Funny)

Council (514577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554141)

How do you Slashdot readers keep up with your continuing education, while still maintaining a personal life?

Your question implies a misunderstanding.

Re: Funny story. (3, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554306)

> > How do you Slashdot readers keep up with your continuing education, while still maintaining a personal life?

> Your question implies a misunderstanding.

Education, personal life, Slashdot - choose two.[*]

[*] Slashdot counts as two choices.

Re:Funny story. (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554345)

I'd say two misunderstandings, and that's only because I'm letting "readers" slide...

Primary breadwinner (0, Flamebait)

lamasquerade (172547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554154)

If you're the primary breadwinner shouldn't your husband be keeping the house etc under control? I'm assuming he works part-time or less, if so and you are working full-time it seems that the majority of such tasks should fall to him...

It depends... (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554155)

Well, if "Microsoft Domain Mgmt" was in your resume, you might be stuck.

I think what really needs to happen is you asking your management about this, and work something out. What shouldn't happen is you buying a Win2k3 CD and lots of books and burning your weekends playing with a test server without compensation. Do OJT training, get a library set up for IT and buy the books, etc. It sounds like you're a pretty big shop, so eventually some consultants (from MS or otherwise) might be useful to do some bootstrap training. There's an optimal solution, find it.

Training (1)

OG (15008) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554158)

I think many employers are leary of sending employees to training because they're afraid of people using it as a gateway to another job (which isn't totally unfounded). That said, don't EVER use your own time/money for training that is necessary for your job. You may have to work a bit harder to prove to whoever signs off that it's necessary, but it really is up to them to provide the necessary training for your job.

It gets better... (1)

Cherita Chen (936355) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554160)

In both the Microsoft and Linux world, there will always be new things to learn, however; as you gain more experience and understanding of the core concepts and technologies, the systems and software you work with will become more and more intuitive - thus requiring less time to digest apply.

It sounds like you have a good opportunity to shine in the position you are in, and I'd stick it out if I were you... Good Luck!

Your career is your responsibility (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14554170)

I manage a technical staff of about 35, mostly developers. When hiring I always try and determine what they have taught themselves recently, and within the company it is not hard for me to tell you who pushes themselves to keep their skill sets current. Such people do better in the market place, both when looking for a job, and then advancing once they get a job. End of story. It is a competitive world out there. Regardless of the training your employer gives you, you should make sure to invest regularly in your knowledge portfolio, as they say in the Pragmatic Programmer.

I have seen many sad situations where long time employees who have not kept their skill set up to date are laid off -- usually by forces beyond their control, like a merger or something -- and they wonder frantically how they are going to get another job. Don't let yourself be found in this position.

Re:Your career is your responsibility (1)

georgewilliamherbert (211790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554343)

There's a flip side to that, though; if the company doesn't help out, then people self train, get resentful, and walk away taking all those skills with them.

As a manager, your job is to try and ensure that you have a) bodies with b) specific required skills and c) enough experience in your specific environment to work effectively on board at all times. If you aren't paying attention to how many bodies you need, you're not doing your job. If you aren't paying attention to what specific skills are required, you're not doing your job. If you aren't trying to retain people with the required environment-specific experience, you're not doing your job.

Skills don't just appear on trees to be picked. If people have to self-teach, then expect them to take a while, perhaps miss some important stuff to know, and resent you for it if you didn't support them right.

The side you pointed out, that people who develop themselves are the ones who generally move forwards and have more successful careers, is true. But there are plenty of people who geek out and up and then burn out as well, and a career that lasts 10 years before you have to exit the profession isn't really all that successful either. If you aren't balancing your life to stay happy as well as productive and learning, you lose. And with a family, they lose too.

There is no single right answer, because people learn at different rates, have different backgrounds coming to specific problems, have different tolerance points for overwork, have different social interaction comfort levels, have different family lives, etc. Really top notch people, who can overwork, still teach themselves, and still have good outside lives, are extremely rare, and anyone whose idea of IT management assumes all their employees are top tier is abusing nearly all of the employees. You have to be realistic about how good people are.

Being the one or one of the very few IT people in small companies is particularly stressful, because if things start to get overwhelming it's so hard to convince managers that more resources are required. This plays particularly badly into the negatives I mentioned earlier. If you find an unsupportive boss without enough resources in a small company situation, my advice is to move on. If they don't have enough resources but understand the issues, they will make something happen (or, they should move on, as should you). IT is a cost center, but IT done wrong has both financial and organization productivity impacts across the company. If the company can't afford or won't afford enough to make IT work successfully... bail out to somewhere big enough that you aren't caught between the rock and the hard place.

Check your laws. (2, Interesting)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554171)

This may be similar where you live, in Canada if a company requires that you keep your skill-set up-to-date then they are required to provide funding.

But the easy way out for some companies is to state that it is not a job-requirement.

3 points I want to make.

a) get out of there. it sounds like a poison place to work if they pull that kind of shit on you.
b) When you do go for your training, make sure you do ALL studying, preparing on WORK time, do not bring it home with you.
c) To answer your question; No it is not part of the IT climate. Like I said; get out of there.

My Employer (1)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554173)

I work in a small company supporting many clients, my employer values my abilities & wants me to grow with the company as it expands so they can give me more responsibilities.

They pay for my training books and my exams and I have worked out with them a number of hours a week where I can have study time, as well as putting in time out of hours too.

I'm currently completing my MCSE & then aim to move onto CISCO & Citrix.

Because we specialise in medicine, at the same time I am learing specialist software & how everything works in a Medical Practice, these skills are not easy to come by so my employer realises it is more cost effective to train me up through the business.

All this training I have had to negotiate myself with my employer, I have had to agree to conditions on pay and also have performance conditions on my exams, I have to be able to show my employer that what I am learning is a benefit to the company & good for the business.

For my job I think the negotiation process has been good, because it has helped me get what I want & also its good for my employer aswell.

One word. (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554176)

Is it naive to try to leave my work at work?


Depends strongly on employer (2, Insightful)

EmersonPi (81515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554177)

It really, really depends. A good employer will try to people with a strong capacity to learn, and good problem solving skills. Once hired the employees generally just pick things up as they go. It's kind of expected at top tech companies that you'll stay on top of your field, and learn everything you can. IF however your job requirements change drastically, a good employer usually sees it as in their best interest you train you (or give you the time to train yourself).

What you have is really a company with bad management. First of all, giving a rats ass about any sort of certificate (i.e. MCSE, or whatever else) is usually a bad sign (means they are more concerned with beaurocracy than with reality). Then the fact that they trained the wrong person is a bad sign. The fact that their communications with you is so terrible is a really, really bad sign. Many other companies would handle this far better than yours has.

That being said, it looks like it is indeed your own problem to train yourself. My best advice would be to train yourself as well as you can (forgoing personal life for a while), and then jump ship for a company with better management. Look for a company where management cares more about how well people can problem solve than what certificates they have (sometimes hard interview questions and logic puzzles are a good guage of how seriously they take problem solving). If they place a strong emphasis on teamwork, and trying to retain good people, that's another good sign.

I've worked in several different environments (and companies) over the years, and I've worked with a lot of programmers. I've known college dropouts who were stellar programmers and could really deliver solid products on time. I've also known PhDs who couldn't be trusted to write (let alone maintain) good code at all. The one constant I've seen in good management is that they can recognise those programmers (and IT) people who are good, and those who are not. They try hard to support (and retain) those who are good, and nurture those who are not (and cut them loose if they refuse to be helped). Look for a manager like that if you can.

Who's paying for what. (1)

Ino (68074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554179)

In a normal world, it would be an employer's duty to send employees on training, especially if they (the employer that is) intend to deploy some new-fangled *SHINY* piece of technology.

Practically, however, it really depends on what kind of sector you're in. Government related employers will hardly ever do that, and they *will* happily prefer to lose money than send employees on training.

I've seen cases where "training credits" were awarded as part of a major hardware purchase. $PHB du-jour happily sat her fat arse on them until they expired... 3 years in a row!

You might want to inquire whether there are any credit points left that you can use.

I'd not spend a dime of my own on training, if (as is the case) I hate the current employer and more over, they've shafted me repeatedly.

Sure, you can go and buy books and all that, but when it comes to paying out for trainig when your employer solely benefits out - why do it? Let the bastards shell for the training. ... and then leave! :)


You know that other guy who left the company? (2, Insightful)

lanner (107308) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554183)

You know the other guy who set up AD and left the company? Perhaps he jumped on the clue train and left for a better place. You might consider doing the same.

First quarter of the year is a good time to be looking for work, and I know there are jobs out there. I'm looking for one myself. Two of my peers recently quit after finding better jobs. The IT department at the company I work for has awful management, and that's beyond my ability to fix -- you can't fix stupid. Best to just leave and work for someone who you can be productive for, instead of being fed self-induced problem after problem by witless, unsupportive, personnel managers.

Personal life????!!!!! (1)

RhettLivingston (544140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554185)

And you leave work too? You're in the wrong business and you're definitely not a nerd.

Training benefits both parties (1)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554186)

but the employer should pay for it.

Why? For the same reason birth control is primarily a woman's responsibility. Which party has the most to lose if things don't go as planned?

The worst thing that can happen to the employee is losing a job; I'll leave the second half unsaid.

Your employer should pay for the training, but it is very much your responsibility to stay current on: news, trends, best practices, product developments/lifecycles, etc. The company has paid for your duty, but must earn your (scant?) loyalty.

OJT (1)

mick88 (198800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554192)

I've been doing the MS/Cisco consulting thing for a while now and this is a big sticking point for a lot of people. I manage a group of about 40 IT people, all of whom are interested in different ways of furthering their careers. To be 100% honest, most of them have told me that actual training classes are usually a waste. Not _always_, but usually. The best way for them to learn/advance their skill has been just on-the-job training. (working with other knowledgable people is a close second).

It seems like the tech industry is a sink-or-swim kinda place. No one really starts out knowing what they are doing; they just plow ahead & figure stuff out. Only after spending a lot of time figuring things out (the best kind of experience you can get) do the IT training classes seem to help. Training seems to be a good way to get a little better at something that you are already good at. Learning IT stuff straight from a book or an instructor usually doesn't cut it.
Don't get me wrong - it's important for your company to help you get better at your job, but I just don't think the traditional "go to class" way is the best. My advice is to try and spend some time during the day with people that do know something about the technology you're working with. If you are the only one that has any semblance of a clue, then it seems like you've got nothing to lose by learning on the job.

And to address your point about after-hours learning: yeah, pretty much if you want to be good, you'll have to put in some at-home time. But the thing is... you should like the stuff enough to enjoy doing it at home. If you don't enjoy it enough to be doing some afterhours work, then maybe, like you said, you may not be in the right field. It's too dynamic & fast-moving an industry to not be willing to learn new things & a lot of the learning does tend to happen after work.

It can definitely put a strain on home/family life - it's just one of those careers.

Well, it's really up to your employer (1)

ChrisGilliard (913445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554193)

Most employers believe it is a good investment to train their employees. If you work at one that doesn't agree, you might want to apply for some other jobs. Try to beg them to get you certified before you leave though :). Also, try to get into a company that uses *nix. I think you'll see that most companies that use *nix have more foresight than companies that use Microsoft. That has been my experience at least.

My take (1)

complexmath (449417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554195)

I personally believe that it's the individual's responsibility to stay up to date with developments in her area of expertise. However, it is crucial that employees who will be using or managing a system be properly trained in that task *before the system goes live*, and the most reliable means of ensuring that someone is properly trained is to put them through a course on the subject. Judgements about your employer aside, you should be able to make a very strong case for training, as your knowledge of this topic has a very measurable impact on network operation and reliability.

I suggest opening an email dialogue with the powers that be explaining the situation and suggesting training as the most efficient means of giving you the skills to perform your job adequately. Then, if your are refused training you will have documented evidence that your lack of training was not a matter of your own negligence if something breaks and you have irate managers to deal with. And no matter what happens, I suggest reading up on the topic. On company time, if possible.

Train Yourself. (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554196)

    You should have never put that you were a woman in a Slashdot article. :)

    If the company is large enough, you may luck out and get all the training you'd need. I've known people who have worked for large companies, and they spent about 25% of the year out at one training or another. As for the rest of us, ya, we train ourselves.

    After years of working with Cisco equipment, I finally talked a boss-type person into paying my way to a Cisco class. Now I have my CCNA. As it turns out, I had self-taught myself 99% of it, and the rest I didn't need for what I do. Ya, ISDN is a biggie these days, isn't it? :)

    You have to feel out your environment. If you can, tell them "This wasn't part of the job requrement when I started, and I need additional training to properly accomplish what you are requesting." Of course, that may be an open invitation for them to replace you, which may be the intention in the first place.

    I find that most people are underqualified and overpaid, especially bosses.

    You sound like the rest of us though. overqualified, overworked, and underpaid. Unfortunately, you recognize that you need additional training, and they don't understand that we can't know everything. We can only come damned close. :)

No - it is NOT the defacto standard (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554200)

Training and on-going education are considered part and parcel as part of the job, and where I work, part of the requirements for continued employment. They are provided for, and if job related, paid for by the company.

The next time something happens, let it sit, and say, gee, wish I'd gotten that training. Or better yet fix it, but take a long time doing it. Then, say it would have taken a lot less time, had I received the training I needed. Find local, or at least close, classes, possibly boot-camp style - where they go 12 hours a day for a week, instead of 2 weeks.
    Tell them this is where you are going, and submit the requisition for travel and education budget.
    Inform them that you cannot do your job without the proper tools and training.
    I spent the first 14 years of my career teaching myself as I went. I ended up making a lot of mistakes that could have been avoided with training. When I left that company behind, I made up my mind that I would request training for any new services or systems that I would be responsible for. My new (well, 6 years now) position has provided the training that I have requested and we have both reaped the benefits of that training.

Personal life? (1)

theNetImp (190602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554204)

personal lives are for amatures. ;-)

Well, I'm out at training this week... (1)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554210)

There are a few factors which have influenced whether or not my employers have sought to provide training.

1) Contractual obligations -- working for a service provider can lead to training because of contracts requiring a certain level of certification. HP hired me for a services position and trained me to the level required. They hired me because they knew I was good, and attaining the certification wouldn't be a problem.

2) Managers vs. Bosses mentality -- managers look to enable you to get things done, bosses think it's their job to tell you what to do. After the contractually-required training and certification were done, I found little support beyond my immediate manager to make funds available for training. There were some online courses, but I'm a very aural person, and need to resolve inconsistencies in my understanding quickly, by asking questions. Contrasting that with my current employer, my manager sees me as something closer to a peer. I help him to get done what he needs to have done, and he helps me to do my job. I've earned his respect. Both of us know we're unlikely to still be working for the same company in five years, and he's willing to help me get trained both for the fact that it'll help me get more done *and* because he knows that I have aspirations that he'd like to help me fulfill. Luckily, the line upwards from him to the CIO also value and respect me. I enrich myself in various ways, learning on my own, and they supplement in areas where it's going to be a lot easier to be in a class.

3) Subject area -- it also helps that the current training is for Oracle, considered by plenty of people to be a black box. Windows training/certification doesn't get respect. I've not done it, so I'll not comment upon its actual value.

4) Company economic health -- working for a heavily indebted company like a telecom I worked for, as well as when HP was sliding under Carly, makes companies look to cut expenses even where it's not sensible. It's cheaper to train someone who'll get value out of the training than to hire someone for the specific skill, particularly when you look at how people will fit into the corporate culture. It took my current employer quite a while to hire a Sr. Network Engineer because so many of the people just didn't seem like they'd fit into the company (high growth) because of personality, willingness to deal with the growing pains, and so on.

As much as I sometimes hate my job for its encroachments upon my own time, being respected by my peers and management has helped incredibly in my job satisfaction and my willingness to give of that time. In return, I'm rewarded by training. Which, of course, will increase the amounts of time I end up giving to the company, probably, which will increase the respect.

I'll let you know how I feel after bonuses are handed out next month, though. ;)

It's up to you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14554211)

A wise employer realizes that developing employees improves performance and retention, but your career is your responsibility. If your employer is too short sighted to help, then it is up to you to do the training on your own. The lack of employer support is an indication of a company that is probably not worth staying with. Get your training and use it along with your experience to find a better job at a company with better long-term prospects.

You don't need to consider a different career (2, Interesting)

Degrees (220395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554212)

You need to consider a different employer.

Some companies are terrific at sending their people to training. I used to work for one of those (IT outsourcer here). When we met with the end-users, they loved us, because we knew what the heck we were doing, and it showed in our work. Alas, due to a tragedy at the highest level, the company founders decided to dismantle the company and sell out.

My new employer is significantly more stingy with the training dollars.

Due to other factors we nearly lost the contract (could lose it still). But - the company has had to shell out a ton of money in an attempt to save the contract, and somewhere the light bulb went on: it isn't worth all this money, if the staff can't out-perform the competition.

So this year, they have paid for time and tuition for about eight people, where for the previous three years we got zilch. Heck - I got my CCNA, and two of us got their CCNP's. :-)

With all this training, and the professionalism that comes from knowing you are a subject-matter expert, morale is tremendously improved. And that is reflected in customer satisfaction.

If your employer won't train you, look for a place that doesn't run the joint like the Keystone Kops.

Your life is not work. (2, Insightful)

$ASANY (705279) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554215)

...and your management shouldn't try to change that. Good management understands that they have to ensure that personnel expected to perform tasks have the experience and/or training to do those tasks. Your off time isn't theirs.

If they really think you're responsible for getting training in your off time, even if you're doing self-study, then it's time to get a new job. The market is good now, and you don't have to put up with idiots like this -- especially if the PHBs expect you to develop some instant affinity to Active Directory management. Yuck.

The lack of training in the IT industry (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554220)

I've worked for a lot of different companies. I've worked for small companies and I've worked for large companies. I've worked for owner operators and I've worked for multinational corporations (and currently do). When it comes to training I've seen a marked difference in approach taken by all these companies, when it comes to support staff. The guys who keep the servers running and maintain the network are always being sent on training courses and being taught new skills. Not once, in all the companies I have worked for, have I seen a programmer receive training at his or her job. I've seen some "mentoring" in one or two of the medium sized companies I've worked for but I've never seen any honest to god training. Now I know it happens somewhere. Occasionally you'll get a consultant onsite to tell the programmers how to use the revision control system or how to approach software development from a unit testing or model based design perspective. But in every company I've ever worked in it has been assumed that programmers just pick this stuff up without the need for any formal training. Sometimes one programmer will make a stink about other programmers not knowing anything about their favourite element of software design and you'll see a manager recruit that programmer to put on a "seminar" to teach the other programmers how to do things his way. Compare this to unskilled labour.. where a person will be hired off the street with no knowledge of how to do the job and receive intensive training, be it by consultants or on the job training like an apprenticeship, before they are expected to do anything productive. Can you imagine an apprenticeship for programmers? The fact that the vast majority of companies in our industry often demand that a "junior software engineer" have a 3 to 4 year degree in software engineering before they will even be considered for the position I think shows how terrible we are at training.

Yes (1)

Lee_in_KC (816490) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554224)

I'm interested to see what the good folks here write in response, mostly because it's fun to remember back to how it was when I was so new into the field. I've been in almost 20 years and the simple answer is yes, you will find that this is the case in most places. Some larger companies (like mine) pay for one class a year for continuing education, but we always expect the person to care about their field enough to make sure continuing education is part of their lifestyle.

Hairdressers, Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, all have to pay for classes themselves (in most cases) and IT is no different.

For a long time it was not uncommon for a company to go full bore and make CNE's and MCSE's but they (and I) soon realized that as soon as you trained someone, spending tens of thousands of dollars, they thought they were worth more money - and they were somewhere, else but if they just got trained they got the extra value from me, at least that year. After seeing many demand more money and then leave, I stopped training them. Training is the only compensation you give an employee that they continue to benefit from after they leave - that has to be balanced.

One thing to remember though is it's not about certifications or what classes you've taken - it's about how you act on the job. It's if you throw up your hands and call tech support, or if you actually do troubleshooting and planning. If you are in the latter group then you will be a valued employee wherever you go.

Not just in IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14554227)

This is increasingly becoming the standard everywhere, as far as I can see.

As a journalist, I've seen training for reporters drop substantially. At my first job out of college, I worked for a paper that had large unidentified (thankfully) stains on the newsroom floor: In two years, we had a writing coach from a big-name paper come in and spend a week in one-on-one work, I was sent to weekend seminars in St. Louis and Chicago. The paper I work at now has nearly 4 times the readers, and because it's in a booming area is way more than 4 times as profitable. The company also historically has a reputation for being more concerned with quality than the bottom line. Yet in the six years I've been here, we've had, I think, two relatively low-quality day-long sessions in a town about 100 miles away (drive there, drive back, pay for your own lunch.)

And it's not just training. Several years ago, when this sort of thing was in its infancy, a co-worker and I went to management with a plan to patch cell phones into laptops so reporters could send stories back from remote locations. PHB said to let him know how it went -- but we'd have to buy our own stuff. When it worked, the company bought the equipment for EVERYONE ELSE but wouldn't even reimburse us !!! Then, of course, it suddenly became our responsibility to teach everyone else to use it and to fix it when it didn't!.

People I talk to at other papers -- and companies in many other industries -- all say the same kind of thing has happened in recent years.

For me, it depends on the size of the company (1)

Helen O'Boyle (324127) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554231)

I'm a woman who's been in this industry for a couple decades.

In my experience, large companies have been not only willing but EAGER to contribute to my ongoing training, and small companies have expected me to walk in the door knowing how to do the job they hired me for, and to maintain on my own time the knowledge to do whatever the job becomes in the future.

A couple small companies even expected me to use my annual leave time when I went to technical conferences. (It should be no wonder that I hung out my own freelance shingle after that... as long as I have to work as if I'm an independent who has to maintain her own skill set, I felt that I might as well be paid like one.)

Today, at a larger company, a set percentage of my time is reserved for attending training -- and that training is actually relevant to what I do.

Okay, you asked for it...a female perspective! (4, Insightful)

SlashChick (544252) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554239)

Oh, sigh. I see the flame war erupting already, since Slashdot is primarily male. But this needs to be said anyway.

"My free time is valuable in that it allows me to take care of that which I can't during the day (grocery shopping, dog responsibilities, cleaning, etc."

WHY are you doing all of this grunt work IN ADDITION TO being the primary breadwinner of your household?

What is your husband doing?

Now, if your husband is doing 50%+ of the household work (I say plus, since you're the primary income), that's one thing, and I would argue that a housekeeper/cleaning service would save a lot of your sanity. That's a given. I hire a cleaning service to clean my house. I need to keep myself focused on work that benefits my career instead of busywork.

However, if your husband is not doing at least 50% of the job, that's a whole other can of worms, but one that I'm willing to open because I think it's an important point of discussion.

I read a great article about this the other day. It's called My Radical Married Feminist Manifesto [] , and it's a must-read for most women who are primary breadwinners and who are or plan to be married. It's in response to America's Stay-At-Home Feminists [] , which is in itself an important article to read.

One of the most important points of the article is as follows:

"The home-economics trap involves superior female knowledge and superior female sanitation. The solutions are ignorance and dust. Never figure out where the butter is. "Where's the butter?" Nora Ephron's legendary riff on marriage begins. In it, a man asks the question when looking directly at the butter container in the refrigerator. "Where's the butter?" actually means butter my toast, buy the butter, remember when we're out of butter. Next thing you know you're quitting your job at the law firm because you're so busy managing the butter. If women never start playing the household-manager role, the house will be dirty, but the realities of the physical world will trump the pull of gender ideology. Either the other adult in the family will take a hand or the children will grow up with robust immune systems."

Sounds like a trap that you might have fallen into, and even if you haven't, it's important to be aware of "the butter question" in case you get into this situation in the future.

In case you plan on having kids, I also want to quote this stunning piece (from the same article):

"Bad deals come in two forms: economics and home economics. The economic temptation is to assign the cost of child care to the woman's income. If a woman making $50,000 per year whose husband makes $100,000 decides to have a baby, and the cost of a full-time nanny is $30,000, the couple reason that, after paying 40 percent in taxes, she makes $30,000, just enough to pay the nanny. So she might as well stay home. This totally ignores that both adults are in the enterprise together and the demonstrable future loss of income, power, and security for the woman who quits. Instead, calculate that all parents make a total of $150,000 and take home $90,000. After paying a full-time nanny, they have $60,000 left to live on."
...which is so incredibly true that I'm amazed it's even looked at any other way. Remember that if you stay home to take care of the kid, this calculation assumes that your salary would have remained the same indefinitely -- an invalid assumption for a career-oriented woman.

I sincerely hope you haven't fallen prey to the butter question. However, if you have, now is the time to reassess who does the work in your marriage. Do it like you would any other job -- figure out which parts you can outsource (grocery shopping? You can shop online and get groceries delivered. Cleaning the house? You can hire someone) for very little cost and do so. This may very well free up some time for you to get training or just spend time with your significant other instead of feeling that your free time is being wasted on menial labor.


Re:Okay, you asked for it...a female perspective! (1)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554273)

Another thing for the guys -- it might seem cheaper for her to stay home, but God help you if you ever divorce. The courts will rape you to the tune of at least half your future income for a number of years to compensate her for her lost career potential. If she stays in the workforce, the family unit benefits if you stay together based on the parent's argument; and you benefit in the event of a breakup (remember probability is 0.5 of that).

Grammar - Poster's or Editor's Responsibility? (1)

SmokeSerpent (106200) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554242)

Mostly fixed:

"I'm currently working as a Microsoft Systems Administrator. Through a series of bungled management decisions, have found myself responsible for a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory network, that I know nothing about. The person who was sent for training was not the Microsoft point person. I was. The person who received the training left the company soon after the domain upgrade.

It doesn't look as though training will be forthcoming, and I've just been moved from the lab, where I was training myself while handling the domain. I've got the MCSA/MCSE Training Kit, but I've found numerous errors, and submitted so many of them that I was sent a free Press Kit book.

Between management's reluctance to shell out for training, and being moved from the lab, I'm getting the distinct sense that training is something I'm expected to take care of on my own time. Is this the standard within IT?

How do you Slashdot readers keep up with your continuing education, while still maintaining a personal life? Is it naive to try to leave my work at work?"

Options (1)

dexomn (147950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554252)

You could get the job done or not get the job done. You could study, use the books, browse endlessly, go to a papermill, do whatever it takes. I would suppose the company would foot the bill for training if your new responsibility *requires* a certification not previously required of you to do your job. It's cheaper to train you than to hire someone else. =)

What, I have to figure something out? (1)

haus (129916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554253)

This is not as rare as it should be. Many companies view their IT staff as interchangeable parts. I have been tasked with picking up the ball on many a dropped program over the years. Much of my promotions and job opportunities have come from the success that I have had in salvaging train wrecks that have been left behind.

Is it fair, no it is not. But the challenges can be interesting. If I wanted a career that involved filling in the boxes in the neat prescribed manner that I had been taught, I would switch over to processing forms for an insurance company.

Depends on focus, but mainly yes (2, Informative)

ptaff (165113) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554255)

There is experience that will follow you even though technologies change; what I learnt while using DOS is still relevant (creating directories is still something I do); a strong OOP formation in C++ makes Java/C# easier; knowing how pointers work makes a better coder in any language.

Even if experience is a great mistress, everything changes so quickly that continuous self-education I think is a must. Recall all the hot technologies of 1996 - only 10 years ago, a small fraction of your life in the workforce. Almost nobody wrote Java, C#/.NET didn't exist, most dynamic webpages were written in Perl, CSS wasn't there yet, XML was unborn, there were no "Seamless Open Integrated Solution Providers (!)", etc, etc, etc. Now think 1985. 1975. 1965. Somebody born in 1945 and who worked all his life on computers will retire in 2010.

Problem with courses is that they always lag a couple of years behind - they still teach table-based HTML tagsoup... and though you may have a 12-hour intensive session on a subject, you won't be ready to use it before you play on your own time with it.

You don't need to lose your life, I guess spending a couple of hours a week on new technologies is more than enough. You don't have to know everything, just focus on what is created in your field.

Winge winge winge (0, Troll)

Bonobo_Unknown (925651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554256)

Stop being a such a cry baby. Take it on, live a little outside your comfort zone. Make it work for you...

... and go and see "Fight Club". :P

shared responsibility / new training methods (1)

DeveloperAdvantage (923539) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554257)

The responsibility for training is shared between you and your employer. Most companies will cover the expenses.

Blatant Advertisement Below:

One of the things we are working on is developing a series of audiobooks for software developers. Although we do not have any MCSA/MCSE titles yet, I think there are a few other companies that do. Check on google.

We noticed often you could tell when a person had a major life altering event, say getting married or having children, just by looking at what technology they were the most familiar with. If someone is keen on RUP, but knows nothing about Agile methods, you could be pretty sure their children were about 10 years old. Of course, this isn't the case for everyone, but lack of time is THE major impediment for ongoing professional development. Often companies will refund training expenses, but less often they will give you enough time off to do the professional development. So even if expenses are paid, how does one, especially with a family like us, find the time?

In response to this conundrum, we are looking at methods which reduce the amount of time necessary for professional development. So far, the most promising method is audiotraining, i.e., audiobooks, since they allow for the possibility of multitasking. There are obvious disadvantages, especially lack of diagrams or detailed code samples, but an audiobook which is listened to is infinitely more effective than a book which sits unopened due to lack of time.

Do you enjoy it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14554259)

Sounds pretty simple to me, if you enjoy learning enough to do it on your own without help from your employer then keep at it, but if you just find it to be an extra burden then you should find a new job.

Are you a janitor? (1)

msbsod (574856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554260)

Our lab relies heavily on contractors. This is how management tries to safe money. One day the lab found a cheaper cleaning company. Soon people noticed that their offices were not cleaned anymore. The janitors were still the same, mostly, except that they now had to work for the cheaper company. It turned out that the company would not provide enough clean mobs. It got so bad that the janitors had to bring their own mobs! Eventually the trained janitors started to quit and got replaced with even cheaper workers. Things got worse. Your company is treating you the same way. Are you a janitor? Well, at least our janitors did not have to ask /. for help. Wake up!

Ever seen a really mad janitor [] ? :-)

Putting a value on training (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14554262)

The companies I've worked for that valued training and experience were willing to pay for it - whether it was paying me to go to training or simply rewarding me for my own initiative in taking night courses.

The companies that weren't willing to pay for my training weren't likely to reward me for any coursework I did on my own.

Money talks...

Similar situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14554265)

I'm actually in a similar situation. I had the benefit of having some free time on my hands, so I learned what I needed to know and wrote software that makes the job infinately easier (I am the only one at the company with programming skills). Now enter intellectual property laws. I refuse to share my code, but offered to license it to the company. I get contract pay every time I use the software This worked for me because it is a very small company and someone else got fired. Plus, I have other options that I am willing to pursue. (posted anonymous because others at company read slashdot)

It all depends on the size of the company... (1)

ktakki (64573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554266)

In my experience, it depends somewhat on the size of the company. A large organization may have the resources (money, other employees who can fill in with you while you're training, etc.) that a small or medium sized company lacks. This is a rule with plenty of exceptions, though.

Twenty-five years ago, my mother's company (a Big Pharma firm) paid to train her as an AS/400 systems analyst, promoting her from a position as an administrative assistant. She went from taking dictation in Pittman shorthand and typing to writing code, all on the company's dime. Systems analysts were in short supply at the time, and the company preferred to train an intelligent person already in the organization over hiring outside.

My company, which is tiny (5 employees), it an exception to the rule. In order to keep our MSFT Certified Partner status, we need personnel who hold MCSE or better, and are paying to have some of our technicians certified. But it's my understanding that companies of our size expect new hires to hold equivalent certs (MCSE, A+, Net+, etc.).

I'd say that you should gently urge your company to pay for your training, and try to make a case that the return on the investment will benefit the firm. But you're going to have to spend time studying for the exams, some of which will spill over into your "free time". Consider it an investment in yourself, one that will be repaid if you ever need to change employers.

Just my 2.


Depends on what you hired on as, really (1)

scronline (829910) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554274)

If you were hired on as a Network Administrator of a Microsoft network, that's one thing. If you hired on as support or something like that, they can't honestly expect you to handle that job without training. You may even want to bring that to their attention. Something like "I don't mind doing it, but I'm going to need the training or it could get all kinds of screwed up"

The other option is say, "Look, I don't have the time to teach myself all this stuff and I don't know it. Why not hire a consultant that knows what they're doing to handle the heavy work?" My company has retainers and whatnot where we can be hired on in several levels. Basically you buy the hours you need for a year and you can use them however you see fit. Regular appointments can be scheduled or call as needed and it's really not that expensive when you're talking about network health. Usually what we end up doing is coming in to fix a major snaffu and make sure things are good to go. We then maintain everything for awhile while giving some basic training to one person in the company on how to handle day to day tasks and reduce the hours we come in for awhile to see how things go. Not really meaning to plug my company, but we can do alot of work remotely as well. I'm sure others can so there's always an option available before things get outta hand.

Either rate, if you're not willing and/or able to handle it, you're not doing your employer or yourself any favors because it could be a bad spot on your record if you were let go or left under not-so-good terms. The key point is flat out tell them your concerns. If they don't go with them and still want only you to handle the work, then they have noone to blame if your lack of knowledge screws something up.

My training situation (1)

bafarmer (741199) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554278)

Is this the de-facto standard within IT, and for all jobs within IT? I work for an internal consulting group at a big state university, so I don't know how applicable this is to the real world, but I have a $3,000 training, travel, and equipment budget to "use or lose" each year. I can spend it on courses, books, certification exams, travel to conferences, or any equipment I can justify to my manager. I also get to spend 8 hours per week working on pet projects and training (though 2-4 hours of this time is usually spent in internal, non-client meetings). Certification is highly encouraged, and I am currently pursuing my MCSE. Our rule for MS exams state that the first attempt is paid for from my TTE budget, and if I don't pass, I have to pay for any subsequent attempts of that exam. I am pretty pleased with this situation because I think it encourages me to keep current skills and provides me the means to accomplish this. Twice a year I meet with a manager to set goals and check in on old goals. I personally don't think it is reasonable for your employer to expect you to educate yourself to perform your job. Would they expect the same thing from a non-technical professional such as an accountant or compliance officer?

Be blunt. (2, Insightful)

Smoky D. Bear (734215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554285)

These are not IT people. You need to directly tell them "Things are not going as well as I know they should be. I need training if we want to get things back on track". If they aren't willing to pony up for course material, or at least start a discussion after this sort of statement, start looking.

Performance appraisals, training & favortism (1)

COredneck (598733) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554289)

In my previous job, we had a very complex performance appraisal system cooked up by HR and the executives. One of the items is objectives or goals to attain in the coming year which comes up in the next appraisal cycle. As assistant lab manager, it was listed in my appraisal objectives that I need training such as Cisco routers. I was told that I needed to be proficient as well wih them. My title is UNIX System Administrator Senior. Having a manager who is an asshole, I was set up for failure. When he and I were going over my objectives, he emphasized the training. I then brought up that I would like to go to a class on Cisco routers which included plenty of hands-on training. I was told there was no money in the budget and the request for training was denied. His favored subordinates got the training money. Several people were given money to take different classes and even go to conventions. He could not spare a dime for my training. When salray increases came out later in the year, I was given a 0% raise, that is, no raise. Since I couldn't get training, it was held against me.

The company had money for training but who got the money was decided if you were a red-headed step child or the golden haired child.

YES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14554291)

I have noticed this in companies I have worked for. In most companies I have worked for it was expected that I keep a level of competence but was not given any tools to do it, not even any books. At least I wasn't expected to maintain any certifications. In others though I was expected to keep a very high level of competence and keep up with the latest certifications in many areas. There is no formal paid training but they will pay for books. The hardest part is having to learn things about systems that I have never even touched and expected to be certified on it.

your responsibility, their decision (1)

moochfish (822730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554302)

In my opinion, in the IT field, it's always your responsibility to learn new technologies and your employer's *option* to aid you. Most of the time, it makes financial sense to train an employee in new skills than to hire a whole new one (and train them for the job).

But I find it difficult to believe that a person can be in this industry and not constantly and actively learn new things on their own. I always believed self-induced training was part of the job description. If that is not what people reading this believe, I can only say you should be happy you haven't been replaced by someone who believes otherwise.

Its about the Company you Keep (1)

kortex (590172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554304)

Every company is going to different in how IT is treated. I've worked for a pretty wide variety of organizations, dotcom startups to IBM/Unisys/etc. and have met many in my field through the years. Here's my theory and I'm sticking to it.
      Corps that were around long before computing, I'm talking about energy, construction, banking - brick and mortar institutions that are just as comfy with paper and filing cabinets as anything - from my experience the tendency is to take IT for granted, a necessary evil that you only want around when things go wrong. In these environments budgets are often really restrictive, training is usually non-existent and yes, Virginia, if this is who you work for and you don't have the tools to quickly scan and analyze your network (btw - there are plenty of good tools out there that will do that for an AD network) then extra hours may be the only way to get things under control. In one situation I asked my manager if I could schedule 3 hours of my time a week for education - learning the systems and procedures. I didn't ask for money or class, just time - and he could hardly deny me. In about a month I had learned what I needed to, but no thanks to this particular company - I had to make my own time but I made sure it was during that 8 to 5. After 14 years playing with computers, I really value my "time away from tech"
      I have to say that the best environments I have worked in are those whose primary value stems from technology. There are still brick and mortars (IBM's etc) but even those companies can offer more challenging and rewarding work environments for those in IT. Now I am working for a small internet security firm and there is lots of training-teaching-helping-innovating going on all the time. For my first year I was thrust into an entirely new environment, like you I was already pretty well versed in the technology - but there was tons to learn. In this situation time was made to help to understand any of the subsystems I had questions or needed to know about. I believe that has alot to do with the fact that this companies entire business depends on networking and the hardware and people that do it. RTFM has real value to these companies - the more you know about what you do, the better you do it. Rocket Science!
      That my 2 cents - good luck whoever you might work for!

God, help him!!! (1)

sebastinator (945718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554305)

This guy is lucky to have the chance to see how is the microsoft source code!!! I will give a lot of money to see how god is IE coded??? It always give me problem when I use it! Window 2003 is not ever better!!! Use Linux!!!

Training mostly a waste of time. (1)

ttroutma (552162) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554310)

People that can't do telling people how to do, what's in some class that's not in a book you can smash through in a couple of days. Figure it out and do it, it's faster that way.

Education and free markets (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554311)

I think a lot of people see the the seperation of education systems and commercial industries as a natural part of a free market. I don't think that is the case at all. Because of things like copyright and patent monopolies - it causes the persiut of knowledge and R&D to be fenced off in the commercial sector, when in a normal environment that wouldn't be the case. In fact, you can see this in Linux. When the technology was non proprietary, the center of R&D for unix was in a corporate environment. Then UNIX became proprietary, the focus of R&D shifted to the university sector. Then when Linux came out, the focus of R&D is now shifting back to the private sector. In more broader terms, this is the case with all persuits of knowledge. Also, have you ever noticed how some of those techies that surf the net all the time, also tend to be the most productive. This is because they also tend to be learning things within all that surfing.

It's not normal for education, study, and the persuit of knowledge to be seperated from industry, in a healthy free market environment education and the persuit of knowledge is a normal part of day to day business. In a proprietary market, all you get is people trying to pawn off certificates on you to sucker you into centering your skillset and systems arround their product offerings.

I see lots of problems (1)

buss_error (142273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554316)

I'm currently working as a Microsoft Systems Administrator

I see a lot of problems here.

First, the whole Microsoft thing.

Second, the company you work for is being cheap and short sighted. Perhaps this is why your predicessor left?

Your rest and de-stressing is just as important as your SO's. Demand it as is your right. Either he loves you enough to see he's been insensitive, you need a new SO, or you need to work somewhere else.

He can do the shopping. If I can do it, he can do it. He can also help sweep, mop, dust, and all the rest, or hire a maid. First I helped, then said, "You know what? We have too little time together to spend it cleaning. Let's get a maid."

Start giving yourself permission to be kinder to yourself. If you don't take care of you, no one else will and the kid(s) will not have a mother.

I hate to sound so cold about it, but there just isn't any real reason you need to not have a little fun, a little bit of life, and a little bit of time to spend with just yourself, just your kid(s), just the hubby and time with all of them. Sounds impossible, but don't try for all of them in any one week, spread it out over a month.

Ahhh, memories... (2, Interesting)

spywhere (824072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554318)

My first IT job was running the mainframe at a chain of auto parts stores. The boss purchased several Windows 95 desktops and a Netware 4.1 server. He called me into the office and said, "I spent too much already on this, so I can't send you for training. Go to Borders, buy some books, and we'll reimburse you."

Best thing that ever happened to me.

Since then, I've been pushed off the turnip truck into new environments more times than I can recall. Each time, I have turned the hardship into an opportunity to become a Subject Matter Expert. Sure, I didn't get any extra money then for the off-hours time I devoted, but I made up for it later.

dear hubby needs to suck it up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14554321)

If you are the primary breadwinner and you as a couple are unwilling to consider economic downgrades which may come with changing either firms or jobs, then dear hubby needs to suck it up and do the things you don't have to the time to do. Sounds like you are responsible for fixing, um er uh ... errors of management one or two layers up. If you pull this all together and get things to work then make sure they know that you know the screwed fido. Also remember, if you think you are overmatched by the prospect of managing a network of crappy machines running kludgy OS's anyone who would walk in off the street and make things better would extortionately expensive.

Elections count (0, Troll)

RalphSlate (128202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554326)

George Bush is president. Training is the employee's responsibility. Get with the program.

It's the same. (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554328)

It's the same in any job, you have to keep learning, keep up with changes, or be left behind. You'd be off your rocker to not be doing some self-learning/training in the IT field. It changes daily.

Cost Sharing/On-the-Clock Training (1)

EightBits (61345) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554335)

I am an IT manager at a university where I don't even get a budget. I have to beg for money to replace the hard drive of my server when it fails! There will be no money for training for me.

However, I will say that I believe the training should be a good division between your time and your company's time. While you can say that the training will benefit your company, it will also benefit you. Should you receive all this training and then leave the company, you will have on your resume some extra qualifications, especially if you received certification. Since it will benefit your employer AND you, I think it should be cost shared.

However, how that cost is to be shared is up for debate. I go through periods of time where I work like a horse and other periods where I am a couch potato. When I am working hard, I find that I usually have time on the clock that isn't being used for anything. Maybe 30 to 60 minutes a day. During that time, I usually do training. In that case, the training IS being paid for by the employer. However you share the cost, I do personally believe that if you pursue certification, your employer should never pay for it because it is your certification, not your employer's.

All that said, I also agree (in accord with the above example of cost sharing) that any good employer expects to hire an employee that can learn and adapt to the changing IT environment. So, if you can come to an agreement with your employer for a certain amount of time on the clock for training, I think it should be a given that your employer EXPECTS you to be able to train yourself. Most IT professionals should find this reasonably easy. Either through the use of books or online resources. Most tasks you need to learn how to do have some sort of posted information that can be googled. If you choose hard copy, then you will be faced with a dilemma of who should pay for that as well. This to me is simple. If you will be keeping the books when you leave the job, you pay for them. If the employer will be keeping them, the employer should pay for them. Books are cheap enough that even though I have to beg for system hard drives funds, I can usually convince my employer that a few books here and there are absolutely necessary to performing my job.

Formal training is not important. (1)

Deputy Doodah (745441) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554336)

Money doesn't solve problems. Effort does.
If you like what you do, you'll train yourself without even trying too hard. It can be done on the job as easily as off the job. I trained myself by doing what needed doing and learning as I went with resources found on the web and with books I bought myself.
For example: The question "Can you set up a mail server?" was answered with "Yes I can. Give me a day or two to get it sorted out and I'll come back to you with a plan.". I figured it out with some books and online resources and came up with a plan. We now have a working mail server. There's NOTHING about being an admin that requires formal training. Sorry, but that's true. All you need is some gumption.
However, to be fair, I initially trained myself on Linux. You're working with a Microsoft OS, so it's going to be more difficult to obtain information without paying than if you were using proper server OS's like Unix, Linux, Solaris, etc.
You can do it though.

Four months ago, I set up a windows 2003 server system (domain controller) with info I found on the web. It's working as beautifully as can be expected from something that wasn't designed to be a full-time server, and I got all of the information on how to do it off the web.

If you go this route rather than asking your employer to foot the bill for your training, you'll become much more valued, more respected, and get more money as a result. Maybe not, but that's the experience I've had, and I'm pretty secure and making a lot more money now.

Good luck to you, and I wish you the best.

Go with the flow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14554348)

I've been a contractor to a .gov agency for a long time. Before there even was a .gov. The .gov does not want to pay for education, they want the contractor to provide educated personnel. Of course the contractor will not pay for education if they can't get .gov to pay for it (catch-22).

The smart contractor learns the shit on his own. The others are working somewhere else.

What I've always been told (1)

hrieke (126185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14554351)

That you are responible for your own career. If that means that you need to pay for training to learn the things to do your job, then you pay for training.

On the flip side, you owe the company nothing, sans two weeks notice when you get a better job.

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