The Training Value

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Training Value

  • The amount of training that has been offered for companies that I work for has been all over the place. One company (it was a training company) gave me about 10 weeks a year of training. At the other extreme, another company I worked for didn't offer any training. Their explanation was that they only hired smart people in the first place and that they didn't need any more training. But on average, most of the companies I have worked for have given me about 1-2 weeks of training a year.

    As a DBA, I don't think 1-2 weeks a year is enough to even keep up with technology, given that DBAs need to know the hardware, the OS, development, and SQL Server. I think the optimum amount of training is probably in the ballpark of 3-4 weeks a year. Unfortunately this is not in the budgets of most companies, but it should be. By not offering training, companies are only hurting themselves in the long run. Oh, I forgot, most companies only consider the immediate quarter and don't even consider the long run. My bad. :Wow:

    Brad M. McGehee

  • Personally, I think the question in the editorial is slightly skewed. I don't care how much training money is spent on my per year, but I do care that overall I get enough relevant training opportunities to ensure I can continue to do my job.

    I don't think the amount spent on training should be used at all, except as a comparision with the cost of NOT doing it. Just because a training course costs a lot doesn't automatically make it efffective, and when you have a team of techies working together, the cross-pollenation of ideas and skills can sometimes mean a lot of the necessary learning is happening even before the courses are booked. I have even come across a few companies who set fairly generous training budgets, then use the fact as a weapon. "We've spent XXX on training courses for you. How come there are still problems you can't solve?"

    I'd say the most enlightenment can come by looking at how decisions to train are reached. If your company integrates it into the whole performance review process, that's a good thing. If your company treats it in isolation, there's something wrong.

    Oh, and for me, some years my company has spent £5k - 6k on training courses for me, some years it's spent almost nothing. However, the important point is that whenever I and my manager have decided some training is useful, my company has never said no.

    Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat

  • I'm somewhat debating this and a few more issues with myself.

    First off, I'm allowed to take 1-2 weeks to lern myself stuff, but then expected to take some certificate. Now that probably means they expect me to be mange that as do I and thus some private time would be needed most likely.

    Now my second issue I'm debating with myself is... my employer wants me to take certificate and study to get that on my own time only for this. I do however get books etc free and I get a cash bonus that depends on the certificate. Now I want to do this because of two things, first is more knowledge and the second is the cash.

    But how about you, where do you draw the line, what is private time and what do you consider ok for a company to push you into?

  • I used to take training but now I just hire a consultant for a couple of days. My problem is that the need for training arises when I need to achieve specific goals, I have the option of spending £1k or so for a weeks training in which I get taught completely irrelevant (to me) things or spending £1.5k on a knowledgeable consultant who will help me get the job done and tell me the pitfalls - there's no contest there, I get more achieved in 2 days with someone who knows what they're talking about than I do in a week in a classroom.....

    I do suffer from a lack of a breadth of knowledge sometimes, I think, but then if I learn something in a classroom that isn't relevant immediately I tend to forget it within 3 months anyway....

  • Well. I'm underpaid. Had no pay rises for two years. But I live within easy walking distance to work. in a wonderful location. Ospreys anyone?

    Training. Had three days in the last two years - a microsoft course - which usually are very good. but this one was pants.... Mostly buy books amd self study. One of my colleguaes is taking a three month break in India to garner certifications.

  • Hello,

    I am also taking a few months off to get myself trained up, as I have had enough of infrastructure and find SQL work much more interesting and enjoyable. I have been in IT for 10 years and have never received training, done 17 M$ exams every single one home taught, but there is a big disadvantage to this, generally I am always slightly behind on technology, I'm have one exam left for SQL 2005, but with SQL 2008 due for release soon, again I will be behind, I have had to take the 3 months off to get good enough at sql server to (hopefully) get a job using it, but I fear it may be difficult as its so huge. I dont even want to think about the amount of private time I will have used to get qualified at no expense to my employer, but I know its just something I have to do.



  • Gosh, I wish I could fnd a knowledgeable consultant. I have to maintain a broad remit, right now I'm migrating Crystal Reports to Reporting Services.

    RS is brilliant (apart from the bits where it just plain doesn't work. Which is lots of bits). Lots of them. I have to do lots of "workarounds". The published documentation is double plus ungood .

    Oh yes, I'm a consultant, and in the words of Sylvia Plath "Not waving, but drowning"

  • Been there, done that, good innit? Better than Crystal at least 😉

    As a general rule I try and dump all the joins back onto the server, nothing worse than hiding them in the reporting system, just doesn't give you any visibility at all. Aside from that the only other advice I can give you is swearing profusely generally helps....

    As to getting decent consultants - I use trainers, I just make them do real work for a change, I know enough about my own domain to fill in any gaps in their practical experience.

    oh - and yes, I can be bought 😉 Although I'm not sure there's any Ospreys round these parts....

  • Yes, both Crystal and RS have their drawbacks - you just have to try to get into the mindset of their developers and work their way. There are clashes - I can do things in Crystal that I can't do in RS. I can do things in RS that I can't do in Crystal.

    But my users have expectations... And I deliver...

    ( and the charting stuff in RS is pants compared to Crystal). But it does the job.

    BTW... I used to work with the person who wrote Crystal (Greg somebody?) A fellow Jackson practisioner

  • If someone is a beginner in the SQL Srv. then he/she should definitely get some training classes,and no money can substitute the knowledge gained,

    but if you just want to improve your skills get some good books on the subject and attend to forums like SSC and you learn everything you wanted and maybe even a little bit more 🙂

    I've learned a lot from this forum and forums like SSC, mainly bcos there are some very smart ppl and they are more than willing to help and answer any question 😎

    "It takes 15 minutes to learn the game and a lifetime to master"
    "Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality."

  • Funny you mention $7,000 because that is what we have, but for two people. However, we also have a great tuition reimbursement program that is up to $10,000 per year. They just mandate that any college cirriculum is tied to the job you are currently working. I have been working as a DBA/Developer/IT (I wear many hats) for the past 10+ years and I too "accidentally" discovered this job. Back in the early 90's if the company caught wind that you showed any slight interest in computers, that is what you did. And back then it was dBase. But now I am involved in the world of PI and converting legacy VB6 apps to .Net and I couldn't be happier.

  • I work for a larger company. We don't spend a lot per person and nothing like 5%, that would be great. However, they do have tuition reimbursement and the boss will pay for just about any number of books (I've ordered them three and four at a time and he doesn't seem to blink). We also bring consultants in-house for training. Getting Itzik Ben-Gan for a week (which we've done four or five times) costs a lot less than sending the same 10-14 people out for training. I have managed to convince him that conferences are worth while and he's paid to send a few of us to PASS and Tech-Ed every year. The deal is, you bring back information and present it to the group after you attend, so that more people get education than simply those who attend.

    I've seen the set-up at End-To-End. I'd certainly recommend them as a destination. Plus, they're so far out in the boonies of Florida that your boss won't need to worry that you're just going down to see the Duck, the Dog & the Mouse (one hour, $80 cab ride from the airport, not fun).

    ----------------------------------------------------The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood... Theodore RooseveltThe Scary DBAAuthor of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd EditionProduct Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • 1) There are two kinds of learning - things you can teach yourself and things you can't. Our company sends us to one conference a year (at least). That helps us to keep up with the current trends. We can identify the things that we can learn ourselves by purchasing some books and the things that may need more. The things you can't teach yourself involve equipment. If you have to manage machines, you need some machines to practice on. My first exposure to IT was through Visual Basic in 1996. At that time you just loaded Visual Studio on one machine and you were good to go. If you're going to learn anything involving a network, you need a network. Not everyone can afford to build one at home.

    2) Unfortunately, training is the first thing to be cut when budgets get tight, along with new equipment/software. This means that if you're laid off, you're now considered inexperienced as well as jobless. Who wants to hire someone who's only worked with old technology? I found myself in that situation 5 years ago. I wound up spending a lot of my own money to get re-tooled. While at the tech school, I saw a room full of people I didn't know. When I asked who they were I was told, "They're here for a special training paid for by their company". My thought was "I want to work THERE!" I was very envious of those people. When you apply for a job and get an interview, make sure training is high on your list of requests. Get it in writing. It will help you in the long run.

    “Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.”

  • At my current job I made it (unwritten) a condition of employment that I could attend the PASS conference (or one like it) every year. For the last 2 years they have allowed this, but it is like pulling teeth to get approval. My only other training is reviewing the articles coming into SQL web sites (like SQL and self-study with books (good news is that my current company will pay for the books) and just general self-tinkering with TSQL (google is my life-long friend in this arena).

    In a prior lifetime when I was an IT Director my training budget was roughly 10% of employee salaries, but I never got a chance to use it all. Most of my employees then just didn't make an effort other than self-study. I never did figure out why they wouldn't ask to attend any outside training.

    Mike Byrd

    Senior Database Developer

    Mike Byrd

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