Perhaps I may not have presented my thoughts as clearly as I could have. My point with regard to training appears to have been somewhat misinterpreted.
Why is it the companies responsibility to keep them current in their chosen profession? Shouldn't they bear some of that burden as well./quote]
A company does not have the sole responsibility to keep their employees current in their chosen profession; however, given the cost of the tools to work with new development languages or database and the cost of the training involved, neither do I feel that it is the employee's sole responsibility. If the employee is willing to take the time to attend available courses after work to keep current, then it would seem to be in the best interest of the company to assist the employee. If, on the other hand, the company decides to radically change direction in its toolsets, then (IMHO) the company would be better served by providing the training during.
A perfect example of my point has occurred in the company where I am currently employed. Our web-based applications have been written in Delphi for the last 10 or so years. However, a decision was made about 18 months ago to convert them all to C#. This was a "management decision" and, while perhaps there could be some debate about some of the points in it, as such it is now "The Law". However, none of the current developers were "up to speed" in C#. The approach that Management took was to hire 2 contractors (one on a Contract-To-Hire basis) and have rewrite the basics (as in about 85%) of the suite of applications. Each of the current workers were scheduled for a 2-week OJT consisting of 1 week of "co-piloting"(i.e. sitting and watching as the contractor explained what was being done) and 1 week of having the contractor co-pilot.
At this point, one contractor has been hired, a second young programmer has been hired, and 5 of the existing 6 programmers have been given the 2 weeks of training and actually assigned some C# work to do. My training was interrupted due to "production problems" and has never been restarted. As a result, I am now the official "legacy systems repairman." There are no C# courses I can take in the area from a college or from a training school that do not conflict with my work hours. Since we used to have 6 of us maintaining and enhancing the legacy applications, I pretty much have a full time job just maintaining them. Of course, in about 3 weeks, the new C# version will be rolled out and most of the legacy work will immediately go away . . . but I will also not have any knowledge of the code involved in the new version.
The point of this is not that I am concerned about being "redundant" (I have other skills that I am shifting my emphasis to) but, rather, that the company has taken a somewhat disingenuous approach to the process. The reason given for not providing more or better training was that, having seen (and felt) the price offered for C# developers, the company didn't feel like it should train its employees so that they could just get a better paying job somewhere else. (Doesn't that sound like an admission that the employees were underpaid? 😉
There is only one company I've had the misfortune to deal with that treats all employee's as a commodity.
, is almost totally the reverse of mine. I have, in fact, had a manager explain to me that the company had a vested interest in having its employees' skills be somewhat out of date because that meant that it would be harder for them to change jobs and would provide an incentive for them to not "rock the boat" when they were required to work overtime without compensation. I have also been told that "there are 10 programmers waiting in line to have your job." I have had 2 companies that did not seem to treat their employees as commodities and, interestingly enough, both of them not only supported but actively encouraged their employees (IT in articular) to keep their skills up to date and even to take courses not 100% related to their current position.
Bottom line: I think it is in the best interest of employees (especially IT employees) to keep their skillets current . . . however, I also think it is almost as short sighted of a company to not bear a part of that burden as it is for a company to conclude that payroll expenses are the fastest way to cut costs and to lay off all of its workers to "get back in the black."