Random Training

I know I’m in trouble when the developers all start explaining how they skipped out of a two day training session after the lunch break on the first day. Once again they volunteered to attend a training session that was a lot more “death by powerpoint” then a true training session.

I often refer to these kind of situations as random training. It’s such a common anti-pattern that when you see these developers in vendor classes they explain in their introduction to the class that they’re not sure why they’re here since they’ve coded Oracle Forms all their life and they’ve never coded in Java before. What’s happened is their manager probably had one of the following thoughts:

  • There’s a training plan in my employee’s goals for this year so this will let me check off that box.
  • We had training credits we need to burn.
  • I heard Oracle is moving to Java and so our DBAs need to get up to speed.
  • We have a pilot java project starting in 6 months, so I’ll send Sue to get her ready now.
  • We brought in a custom course on site and we need to pack it with any IT employees to fill up the class and really get our money’s worth.
  • After a week of classroom training our junior developers will be ready to leap into cutting edge development on our new technology.
  • I know Sue wanted to go to an industry conference, but that costs travel money and this class was local and on a big discount.

My personal philosophy is management should try to provide at least a week of classroom training or a week at a high end conference per year. That and buy stacks of technical books for anyone willing to train up on a new area.