Who should keep your IT skills up to date?

Most companies say its your job to come up to speed on the latest technology since you're the professional.

January 29th, 2006 • Business Lessons •
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We've all been there before. A new language or technology comes out. It's called ummm...Flitiphoist (imaginary programming language). The boss "read somewhere" that its the newest, latest and greatest thing out there and he wants to start spec-ing the project using that new language/technology.

When you hear the news, fear sets in. You start to panic. "I don't know Flitiphoist! What am I going to do?" Sounds more like a Dilbert cartoon, doesn't it?

You want me to learn what?

Most people I've noticed are professional enough to understand when their skills are not up to par with what the industry is offering and they subtley start researching the Internet to learn Flitiphoist. Download code, buy books, talk to community members, research the site hosting Flitiphoist. Anything to get up to speed on this newest language before they're caught with their pants down ("Why did we hire him/her? We need a consultant!").

But while your coming up to speed buying your books and taking your classes, do you give the receipts to your boss to reimburse you or do you choose to keep the books as your own?

I understand that most companies, if they're worth their salt, will say, "Yes, we will reimburse you if you hang onto your receipts." However, there are some companies out there who will not reimburse their employees. They expect the employees to keep up on technology on their own. Scary!

What if you start a new project that needs the Flitiphoist language? You start to think. Does that language/technology have a future? Is it a fad? Is it worth learning? Is it the right technology for this project? and most importantly, if I don't know it, will I be standing on the corner sometime soon wishing I did? :-)

So many questions...so little time.

Managers often think that if you're an industry professional, you should already know about Flitiphoist. Of course, you've heard about it, but its another thing to actually use it. You should have some understanding of what it is and talk somewhat knowledgable about the subject.

Has anybody been in this situation before? What have you done?

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Picture of Jonathan Danylko

Jonathan Danylko is a freelance web architect and avid programmer who has been programming for over 20 years. He has developed various systems in numerous industries including e-commerce, biotechnology, real estate, health, insurance, and utility companies.

When asked what he likes to do in his spare time, he replies, "Programming."

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