Many high-tech workers believe that if they work hard and do a great job, their companies will make sure that the employees have jobs and are rewarded for their loyalty. Part of that prize: the latest in training. It makes sense for the company to keep up-to-date with the latest and greatest in order to be able to compete, right?
Wrong! What may have been the case as recently as the 1990s hasn’t been true for a while. While it is true that a company needs to keep up-to-date with the latest and greatest technology in order to compete, there is more than one way to achieve that. Most companies don’t spend money on training unless it meets their immediate needs. And if there are candidates out there with the necessary skills and are less expensive in terms of pay and training, then you and your job are at risk.
Around the workplace, at coffee shops (and Coffee Clubs), or even online, I have heard and read many high-tech workers complain about not being able to take classes because their employer would not pay for this class or that, or not having the time to attend the class. That attitude puts the responsibility (and the blame) for a high-tech worker’s technical capabilities (or his technical obsolescence) on their employer.
You need to take a more aggressive approach. Take charge of your career so you can compete not only with your current job but for any future jobs. Stop making excuses for not learning new skills and capabilities. Any new skill or capability adds to YOUR inventory of capabilities and skills – not your company’s. Take charge, set aside time, and not only learn, but practice a new skill.
High-tech workers need to treat what they do as a career and that means training, too. This industry changes more rapidly than any other, so your training has to be almost continuous. Does this mean taking classes all the time? No. This means reading industry publications, reading blogs and user group postings, attending company product seminars, attending professional association and user group presentations, and supplementing all this with classes, lectures, and workshops.
This take-charge attitude is just starting to take hold in Silicon Valley and part of this change is because of places like the Hacker Dojo, the Silicon Valley Code Camps, and other new venues for sharing knowledge and information.
Here are a number of free online training classes offered by Stanford University. The classes are geared toward Silicon Valley types, but are available to all who register. The classes start at various times from January to March 2012. For more information, please check out the classes:
- Technology Entrepreneurship
- The Lean Launchpad
- Information Theory
- Model Thinking
- Computer Science 101
- Machine Learning
- Software Engineering for Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Natural Language Processing
- Game Theory
- Probabilistic Graphical Models
- Design and Analysis of Algorithms I
- Computer Security