Training is up to you

Over the past few weeks, I've received quite a few messages from readers touting the importance of training. However, they are quick to admit that getting their companies to pay for the training has grown ever more challenging.

Some network managers have considered training an investment they need to make, like buying a house or putting money in mutual funds. Others say they're not sure whether, in this economy, they'll reap the rewards of whatever dollars they sink into advancing their knowledge. And with companies being incredibly short-staffed, they're afraid that they don't have enough time to commit to ongoing learning.

One reader comments: "I find great job satisfaction but training is a constant issue. Working for a small business, it is not possible for our employer to pay for all the training that is needed. It is too bad that more companies don't assist in training people to fix their products or support them, because they are the ones that will benefit. As a small business we only service what we sell. If we were trained on more companies' products we would sell them. You would think more manufacturers would get the hint that it is in their best interest. I will continue to train myself and pay for a course this summer because I need it."

Another reader says that network professionals should not sit around waiting for their company to pony up the bucks for training. "Today's top performers aren't waiting for company training," he says. "Real professionals are finding ways to accomplish continuous learning, often at their own expense.

They are willing to make an investment in themselves. Some take advantage of tuition-assistance programs that promote learning on their 'own' time. Professional and personal growth enhances one's value in the marketplace whether it is a job-seekers' market or an employer's market. Said another way, personal training and learning is its own reward!"

He adds: "My unscientific experience tells me the most valuable performers are those who take personal responsibility and actions to enhance their own learning, that these are the people whose market value will be the highest. And because they realize they are in control of their own professional growth, they seek and earn commensurate compensation and are the most satisfied with what they've achieved. Okay, sure, a generous company training program is nice, too."

Some say the lack of geographically dispersed education opportunities hinders his ability to seek training. "I look at a lot of potential opportunities for education for myself and our IT Director to enroll into for infrastructure strategies and security and all I see are in places more than eight hours away. This puts a damper on us because we are small. The reality is that we need this education as badly as the next guy."

Another reader blames the lack of training on employers not wanting to spend time and money on anything other than mainstream products. "Training may increase but despite major releases by Microsoft and Novell most employers are not sending workers to training," he says.

What do you think? Should employees be self-motivated and invest in themselves? Or should the burden fall on employers?

Let me know at mailto:sgittlen@nww.com .

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