Never Stop Learning!

Summary Bullets:

• To maximize the investment in I.T. companies should have a robust training program

• Regular training will benefit everyone, as well as make the workplace run smoother.

“Never stop learning” – a pithy phrase, something you could see on a motivational poster next to the one with the adorable kitten clinging to a branch that says “hang in there.” But the significance of the phrase “never stop learning” is one that comes with particular meaning in the tech industry. The pace of the tech industry overall requires a learning process that can’t stop. Everyone in technology, from day to day techs, senior administrators, coders, management, and senior management all need to keep learning. But how we treat learning in IT is still outdated and is centered around 1950s-era notions of top-down control, where workers don’t need to know that much, management will know for them, and that knowledge is based on professional certifications.

At the end of the day, companies want to get the maximum value for their investment in IT, but they often scrimp on training and education, treating it as an optional employee benefit, or worse, withholding training as a strategy to retain employees. The idea is that well-trained employees leave for other companies. Some companies will even get one staff member trained and expect them to train the rest of the staff, leading to a lot of discontent, as not everyone can lead training. While it cannot be denied that some employees will leave, the overall benefits of a well-trained IT workforce far outstrip the downsides.

From an employee standpoint, a company that invests in my education, thus investing in making my job not only easier, but also granting greater job stability, is a great benefit. It shows the company cares and can build employee loyalty. The unfortunate state of the industry means that they can’t count on any potential new employer to even have a training agenda. Lastly, when a company spouts ‘our employees are our greatest assets,’ training is where the company can make good on that claim.

From a corporate standpoint, you want professionals who can not only implement the features of the technology you have, but be savvy when it comes to helping set technology direction and evaluate trends, technology, vendors, and products. Having actual experts on staff, who are exposed to best practices via training, can make a huge difference on home-grown practices, making it easier to do upgrades in the future. Probably most importantly, training can be used to ease change in technological direction(s). IT professionals who know they will get training in a new system or technology will be more receptive to the idea and may become the catalyst for change.

We need to shed the old ideas in IT of train once and never again. The benefits for the company and individual are just too great to ignore.


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