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Ask Slashdot: On the Job Certification Training? 117

Posted by Soulskill
from the make-them-pay dept.
beerdini writes "There is a debate going on within my IT department about how our continued training offerings compare to others in the industry. I'm hoping other Slashdotters can help to provide comparisons. Currently, if we are implementing a new technology or updated software we will send someone from IT for training to become a specialist; in other words, they go to formal training as a part of their job where they learn their new skills. Alternatively, for someone pursuing an industry certification, employees usually take the training on their own time and dime. On passing the certification exam, they can submit the exam fee for reimbursement. This is the most common practice that I've seen in the various places that I've worked, but I have one co-worker who insists that it is our company's responsibility to pay for the materials, allow them to study and practice while on the job, and that all attempts to take the test should be paid by the company because it should be a company investment in the employee. So, my questions to the Slashdot community: what are the ongoing training practices in your organization? Are there any places that pay for someone to get an industry certificate? Are there any rules associated with it?"
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Ask Slashdot: On the Job Certification Training?

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  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @06:16AM (#43090637)
    If the training meets a specific need and is a must have to continue or grow the business then the company will pay for it and do it on company time. To them, it's an investment with a specific ROI. If it's a nice to have but doesn't meet specific needs tehn they may reimburse as part of a benefits package but you are on your own time and dime until you pass or complete the course.
    • by swalve (1980968) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @07:16AM (#43090929)
      Yes. My company will send key players to training if it is required to win/maintain a contract. Beyond that, all training is done on an "entrepreneurial" basis. They want people to be self-starting enough that they will figure out what they need to learn to move up the ladder. Reimbursements are usually up to the individual managers, however. They will almost always pay for exams, but books and classes are approved on a case by case basis.

      The only time I would find it acceptable for a company to require a certification but not pay for it is in the situation where achieving the certification would result in a statutory pay increase. Back in the day, our company's policy was that getting a Novell CNE got you a 10% bump. So a $50 book kit and a $125 test fee was no big deal given that it would be recouped in the first paycheck.

      (And man, looking back, how easy were those certs? CNA was nothing compared to even the CCENT nowadays. My brain hurts.)
      • by AVee (557523) <slashdot.avee@org> on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @08:29AM (#43091269) Homepage
        I've seen several companies (in Europe, so it might not relate to what is common in the US) which will pay for a full training if it is deemed useful for the company provided you stay with the company. They will pay, but you'll have to repay a sliding percentage of the costs when you leave the company soon after the training. This system seems to work pretty well, the employee gets his training and the company protects it's investment.
        • Many companies do this as part of their educational reimbursement policy. My previous company would pay $15,000 per year for you to go to grad school, but wouldn't reimburse anything for industry certifications, unless they deemed it necessary to send you for them. In the seven years I worked there, as a sys admin/engineer, I went to three classes, and was only asked to get one cert, Security+, as it was required to meet DoD Directive 8570. My new company pays only up to $3000/year for school, but you ca

        • My employer handles a similar strategy: - Small (cheaper) trainings will be reimbursed without any condition. - Biggest trainings will require to sign a contract, so leaving the employer earlier will mean paying some of the costs. This works out really great, in the last 6 months my employer has allowed me to take a lot of interesting (and useful!) trainings without any costs for me (and that is including hotels, food and travel). Because of this we can offer our customers better service so it should really
      • +1 more. If the company requires an employee to get some sort of training, certification, etc. then the company directly pays for all costs associated with it, and the employee can use work hours to study and attend classes. If the employee is driving the process by taking a class (even if the class is very useful - but has not been deemed a business requirement and thus they will not pay for it directly as above), then the employee can get reimbursed after the fact. And only if the employee passes/gets a B

    • I would say parents company is about in line with industry standards. If you NEED a training specifically for the company, they will pay for classes and travel. If you want the training for advancement, usually they want you to get the training and pass the exams on your own, and they will chip in the test fees. Most companies have a similar college course plan in that you have to have an approved plan, then PASS the class before they pay back.

      Given the cost of some training, or need to GO to classes out-of

    • Where I work, All certification is paid for by the company and we get to do it on company time. There is actually a budget set aside for training and everyone can take as many classes and certifications as they want )as long as it's relevant to their job) until that budget is gone.
      • by Desler (1608317)

        That's what any decent company does. One that actual cares about growing their people instead of wanting another low-paid drone. That any company expects you to use your own time and money to improve your skills for them (because we all want to have no leisure time) is absurd. It's even more laughable that some employees think this is the way a company should treat you.

        • That's what any decent company does. One that actual cares about growing their people instead of wanting another low-paid drone. That any company expects you to use your own time and money to improve your skills for them (because we all want to have no leisure time) is absurd. It's even more laughable that some employees think this is the way a company should treat you.

          While most companies will pay for training that maintains or improves a person's skills at their current job, very few pay to develop skills for their next job; unless they have some assurance that the costs will be recovered. Quite frankly, it makes no economic sense to train someone for a better job unless you are assured they will stick around because otherwise you simply absorb training costs for your competitor's employees.Companies do not provide training because they are decent, they do it because it

          • by Desler (1608317)

            Quite frankly, it makes no economic sense to train someone for a better job unless you are assured they will stick around because otherwise you simply absorb training costs for your competitor's employees.

            Yes, that's why they also need to treat you well and pay you reasonable salaries so you stay. If a company doesn't want to do those things then it's really their own damn fault that employees may use the training to find a better job. Sorry, but I have no sympathy for shitty companies and their poor choices of how to treat their staff.

            Companies do not provide training because they are decent, they do it because it generates a return and is viewed like any other investment - is the cost worth the return?

            If your company solely does training for their own bottom line then, yes, they are not a decent company. But all the decent companies that I've worked for saw the training as

            • Quite frankly, it makes no economic sense to train someone for a better job unless you are assured they will stick around because otherwise you simply absorb training costs for your competitor's employees.

              Yes, that's why they also need to treat you well and pay you reasonable salaries so you stay. If a company doesn't want to do those things then it's really their own damn fault that employees may use the training to find a better job. Sorry, but I have no sympathy for shitty companies and their poor choices of how to treat their staff.

              Companies do not provide training because they are decent, they do it because it generates a return and is viewed like any other investment - is the cost worth the return?

              If your company solely does training for their own bottom line then, yes, they are not a decent company. But all the decent companies that I've worked for saw the training as much more than that. They also had high retention of employees because they actually cared about more than just "how much is my ROI on this training going to be?". At my current job and the last couple of places I worked for I could get training and get books reimbursed for pretty much any technology subject I wanted. In fact, my managers urged me to do so repeatedly. They viewed training in a way far beyond only the ROI.

              That doesn't make them evil or bad, simply an organism that responds to the same stimuli as we do.

              No it usually means they are shitty places to work. "Evil" has nothing to do with to do with anything.

              Again, a decent company does not expect you to pay your own money and/or use up your leisure time to do training for them. And any company that does is no place I'd ever work for. There are plenty of better jobs out there.

              I think you missed my point. ROI includes much more than an immediate financial return. They do the things you mention because it costs them less to do that than not to; that's a fundamental economic fact of life. In many cases, being a decent place to work keeps employees around and productive; so you do teh things that employees like to maximize your investment in them. I once spoke with as senior executive of a company with a number of perks beyond those normal for companies in his business. His respons

              • by Desler (1608317)

                While individuals in a company may care about you, to the company, in the ned, you are simply a cost and as long as their return on that cost is acceptable they will do things to keep you around; to think otherwise is delusional.

                No, it's not delusional at all. Some companies actually do care about their employees beyond how much they cost to keep around. You may not have actually worked for any such companies. I have. I'm sorry that you think such an attitude towards one's employees is anything but shitty.

                • While individuals in a company may care about you, to the company, in the ned, you are simply a cost and as long as their return on that cost is acceptable they will do things to keep you around; to think otherwise is delusional.

                  No, it's not delusional at all. Some companies actually do care about their employees beyond how much they cost to keep around. You may not have actually worked for any such companies. I have. I'm sorry that you think such an attitude towards one's employees is anything but shitty.

                  Actually, I have. I worked for a company, several in fact, where we really were a family - and cared about each other. While that was important, and one of the reasons I stuck around a long time at two of them, that is different from the economic decisions surrounding employment. In the end, it does come down to "what can we afford?" and "what are the benefits, to the company, for absorbing the associated costs?" I realize that seems cold hearted and at odds with being a decent company but it really isn't;

    • There's no absolute in this. Some companies will pay for your training/certification and have you do it on company time. Others not. It really depends on the company.

      I'm fortunate enough that the first option is pretty much always what happens for me. But it's entirely because of the type of company I work for. I'm a storage engineer for a big data center VAR, so I need to be up to speed on a huge number of different storage systems. The company gets financial incentives from the vendors to have employ

    • If the training meets a specific need and is a must have to continue or grow the business then the company will pay for it and do it on company time. To them, it's an investment with a specific ROI. If it's a nice to have but doesn't meet specific needs tehn they may reimburse as part of a benefits package but you are on your own time and dime until you pass or complete the course.

      This. My employer provides time and training materials and/or formal classes for industry certifications. All tests are paid for regardless of whether it is a pass or a fail. It is part of the cost of doing business.

  • If there's something new, we have the vendor do a presentation and we look into whether we hire someone new or whether one or more people can go train at a vendor specified camp (usually their corporate offices) and our company pays for it. It's very poor form to let an employee pay for technology training with the hope of becoming useful when they wouldn't have if management didn't express interest in the first place. Now if they want to learn on their own for the future, that's a different story. If you l

    • Our organization pays for training--tons of it. I'm going through a pile of high-level Citrix stuff this year after doing about half the VMware catalog last year... We're in a position to do this because we've taken on a large new multi-year project that required us to go way beyond our existing skills. But even without that project, I was still budgeted for 1-3 outside courses every year, and would sometimes get access to online opportunities too.

      What they do not ever pay for is certification exams. For th

  • Are there any places that pay for someone to get an industry certificate?

    Not really. This industry is routinely and repeatedly gutted by idiot lawmakers on behalf of greedy corporations who have managed to turn most IT positions into contract positions without benefits. Before the dot com bubble burst, contract positions paid more than salaried positions, with the understanding you'd be responsible for covering benefits. This was because the multitude of startups didn't have the resources for proper HR. But once the bubble burst, the bottom fell out of the market. Naturally, the

    • by will_die (586523)
      Former company I worked for would pay for any certificate I got that was related to my job, however I had to study on my own time. They just considered it part of the education fund that everyone had a max amount per year.
      Current company will not pay for any but will give me time off to take the test and some time to study.
  • There are no rules. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oneiros27 (46144) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @06:27AM (#43090701) Homepage

    It's whatever your company gives you. Talk to your HR department.

    Personally, I have an education benefit, that I can use for courses, if I have pre-approval from the company.

    When I worked for a previous company, there was a fund that I could use for books, and they had the ame deal on courses, but did such a bad job of explaining it (telling me that I would only be reimbursed for college credit courses if I got a high enough grade, but neglected to mention that I had to get approval in advance before I even *started* the course, so I ended up getting shafted for my first two semesters).

    When I wored for a university, I could take courses for a nominal fee, but due to sloppy paperwork, when the university sold off their certificate classes, they didn't have records of the fact that I was a staff member at the time, so I ended up with months of dealing with a collections agency that was sent after me.

    Almost all of them had other limits on using the benefits -- for example, some companies require you to be an employee for 12 months before you can take classes; others will require you to pay back the benefit if you quit within some time frame after taking the class (12-18 months is typical, but I've heard of places that do 24 or 36 months) . One of the companies required me to explain how the course was relevant to my job.

    You should also talk to your manager -- there are cases where some courses might make it more likely for you to get a promotion or a better raise when annual reviews come around. (and it'd be a good idea to get it in writing, if you're thinking about paying out of pocket for it).

    As for the paying for time at the classes -- I've only had it when it was either a workshop attached to a conference, so only 1-2 days, or training that I was specifically sent to at the request of the company (typically 3-5 days, although there was one case where it was two weeks back-to-back, but it was 2 classes). I've also had them pay my time to take certification tests, when it was required as part of my job.

    I have never had a company pay my time when I was taking college level classes that I elected to go to, even if it was related to my job. They did, however, let me take off in the middle of the day to go to classes at the local university, and were otherwise understanding when I shifted my schedule around.

    • I'll second the recommendation to ask HR.

      Sometimes, it's just a part of the budget, and for all you know, there may be a training budget allocated for that kind of thing. Also if your company has a Foundation, check into that too. For all you know, there could be some scholarship money you could apply for that would otherwise go to the CEO's favorite Ballet school.

      It may also be a good idea to try to reframe the question. How is your IT department doing? Most IT departments I've seen do not seem to be doin

    • The last two shops I've been at have tuition reimbursement programs, but they only apply to 2 or 4 year accredited colleges and universities. This leads to a weird situation where they could pay $10500 over 3 years to help pay for a diploma mill MBA but can't approve $3500 to pay for industry coursework from vmware/emc/redhat/etc that actually interests me.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Where I work they will see a need... like we are implementing a new Citrix, VMWare, or other solution (usually the other solutions) and although we have trained people in another location they will send someone local to get training. Then they expect that person to make sure their team is up to speed. You end up with a guy that has no training or certs in a specific area but is the company's resident expert of with 10yrs experience. The guy they originally sent left the company after 3 yrs cause he had cer

    • ah there is the rub. In a few places I've worked they insisted that training be something relevant for your existing position. So that ruled out things like taking an ITIL course if you weren't a manager etc. But then when you tried to take a course in something you were already supposed to know (like your particular flavor of networking gear or Solaris) they'd pretty much say: oh it hasn't change just read the manual. Or isn't there an free online "course" you can take? So the education "benefit" essential

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @06:28AM (#43090709)
    I worked for a software consultancy which charged us out to clients. In this type of company it is usual practice to pay for and give time for various certifications. Clients frequently ask about the qualifications that consultants have and it is important to have up-to-date certifications. I have also worked for end-user companies where you are given on-the-job training for new systems, approaches etc. only as needed and with no certification. Sometimes they let you have time off to take the exam of you want to go for certification yourself, but to them the aim is getting the job done and certificates to prove you can are of little value.
  • Reimbursement when you pass a certification exam seems to be the norm in my experience. Workshops or seminars that the company wants pay for...they'll send you to. Unfortunately...adding to your resume benefits your future job searches more than your present employer. "...all attempts to take the test should be paid by the company because it should be a company investment in the employee"...really? How many times do you get to fail an exam before the boss starts rechecking your resume?
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      our company's responsibility to pay for the materials, allow them to study and practice while on the job,

      Where's the control of the employer over the "learning" process? (mind you, the employer is supposed not to have expertise in the topic of study, otherwise why pay for it at all?)
      In other words: how much time slacking on the pretext of studying until the boss is morally allowed to cut the crap?

  • I recently interviewed for a very interesting position. I had to turn it down because of conflict-of-interest, but it was for an internal corporate training department. They evidently wanted to create a streamlined, formal way of providing continued education to their employees to allow them to move around and improve themselves. I was highly honored to have even been asked for such a position, and still wish I could take it. That is the only organization that I've seen that actually thought further ahe
    • by Teun (17872)
      I work as an instructor for the dedicated training department of our company.

      Our business is not IT but the department I originate from is very IT related and so I mainly train new and existing employees of that particular department.
      We have a formal competency system that all employees are enrolled in, it is the only way to move up the ladder.
      All 'evidence' of training and experience is kept in a personnel development database and every employee or manager can consult it to find out how far the person i

  • Your co-worker is correct. If the company required an employee to undergo training for their benefit or to meet their need then the company is responsible to pay the materials. But, if it is your sole decision then you are responsible to pay and not the company.
  • I generally think that IT people are hired for their thirst for knowledge and self motivation. If someone can't gain the skills needed on their own with a test environment and a book / youtube / manuals, there is a problem. Actually I would encourage any such person who requires a class to go join a big company that will spoon-feed them, wipe their ass for them and maybe offer them union membership.

    Obviously, this doesn't apply to everything. For nuclear control systems it might be a good idea to go to t

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Bullshit. In an environment where the entire team is overloaded with work and just trying to keep heads above water, we aren't given the time to try to learn new skills on our own. Maybe if you have no life outside of work and want to spend your time at home (assuming you aren't dealing with on-call issues) with your nose in a book instead of participating in the life with your family.

      Companies love to spout the line that "our people are our most valuable resource". Prove it by investing in them.

      • by jsepeta (412566)

        most companies couldn't give a rat's ass about their employees, no matter what bullshit pr they promote. the whole point of the GOP's "right to work employment" push is so that companies can drop you from their roster whenever they feel like it, for whatever damned reason they want.

        as for the tech industry, we're not organized, and don't benefit from labor unions like "unskilled" blue collar workers. jobs tend to be contract only where i'm looking, with no health care benefits or 401k. they won't pay reloca

  • Employers would likely have no issues granting you study time, even at work, if they felt secure that you were not going to take your new skills elsewhere before the ink dries on your new certificate.

    Your co-worker only has a point if he or she is willing to sign a contractual agreement equal in return to the company's investment.

    And if they can't understand that concept, tell them to take over the IT books for a while, see how they feel after spending $50,000 on what is now the competitors highly-skilled I

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Employers would likely have no issues granting you study time, even at work, if they felt secure that you were not going to take your new skills elsewhere before the ink dries on your new certificate.

      And employees would probably be less likely to leave if they felt secure that they wouldn't just walk into work one day and be told "Clean out your desk, and then security will escort you from the building. You can write a letter of resignation if you like." Loyalty is a two-way street, but a lot of companies don't want that.

    • I don't agree, it really depends on the kind of training and the time and money that the company is investing in it. I think that the company should always invest on some kind of ongoing training (whether it's sending people to training, organizing internal training, paying for materials and certifications for self study, etc), and this shouldn't necessarily mean that I'd have to sign a contractual agreement. The company HAS to invest to keep an ongoing operation. If they don't do so and the employees don'

  • I am an instructor that trains network certification courses. This is a common issue that employers have. They always think "What if I pay for my employee to attend training and they leave?" I then ask them "What if you do not train your employees and they stay?" This is not to say that you always need to attend a training course to learn how a particular technology/appliance/application works. It is simply an accelerated way to learn how something works.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      employee paying for mandatory training is like the employee investing in the company. mandatory training done on your own time is also like working overtime. it's exactly like taking a pay cut.

      so it's perfectly normal that the employer wold have to be pretty special for that to go through without grumbling.

      if the employer wishes to contract just freelancers he's free to do so, depending on local law.

    • by berashith (222128)

      also, what if you dont train your employees and they leave? If workers cant advance they will get bored, or you will have a crappy workforce. Replacing a current employee from outside the organization has a huge ramp up time, hiring costs, and if they have the new skill already, can be more expensive than the one who left.

  • by Stolpskott (2422670) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @08:08AM (#43091149)

    Bottom line, there is no law that says an employer has to reimburse you, unless that reimbursement is covered in your employment contract.
    Most employers will take a flexible approach unless they are in a cost-cutting phase (even then, if you can show that your training course will allow you to do both your job and that of the smelly antisocial guy next to you that the manager hates, the manager will probably swing to the cost of the certification materials, on-the-job training time and exam, with a contract caveat that you will be liable for those costs if you voluntarily leave the company within 2-3 years), but it is a relatively simple balancing act:
    What added value will this certification provide to the company vs. what is the cost of the certification process in materials, lost work hours and financial expenditure.
    Also, how easy is it to replace you with a lower/same paid person if you decide to leave should the training request be turned down; or will this training course make you more likely to stay with the employer/more likely to leave or be head-hunted.

    Working as a consultant, certification in relevant and recognized skill areas helps my company open opportunities with other clients, or new areas within the same client. However, if the company does not get any more per-head revenue for those areas then I am not going to see any direct financial benefit (maybe something unofficial, that the company can write off against tax, but that is about it).
    Fundamentally, the company has to earn enough from my contract to pay me and make my mandatory benefits contributions. If the contract mandates 40 man-hours per week for X, then that sets a ceiling for my remuneration. If my certification does not enable the company to renegotiate the cost of the contract, then my employer has to reduce their share of the pie (make less profit) in order to reward me. However, if that certification makes me more attractive to another potential client who is willing to cover my contract at 40 hours per week for 1.5*X, then the employer can move me to the new client, give me a pay rise, and bring in a new body to replace me. The old client may not be too happy to lose me, but the contract is not for MY services at 40 hours per week, it is for 40 man-hours.

  • There is a very good reason to do work related training during work hours: you need a clear mind to learn something.

    I've worked in a place that abandoned that idea. Trainings required for work were on the employees time and the cost was shared 50-50. Some vital ones were given in-house by external trainers after working hours. The idea was that employees benefit by increasing their market value and therefore should be happy, and the company couldn't afford to lose the hours of productivity trainings in comp

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      There is a very good reason to do work related training during work hours: you need a clear mind to learn something.

      Mostly you need to be interested in it. If you love football ( for example ) you are still happy to talk about it after being stressed out at work all day.

  • In my experience it is common for the employer to pay for all or some of the training on the condition that if you leave the company you pay them back a percentage based on a sliding scale e.g. if you leave before 12mths you pay back 100%, 12-18mths, you pay back 50% etc Seems fair to me.

    I don't think it's reasonable for the employer to be expected to pay for failed exam attempts however.

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @09:11AM (#43091523) Journal

    If you're getting paid more than that, you should be expected to do more than just show up and expect them to give you a shovel, a hammer, or a keyboard and to train you to do every single task you're asked.

    I'm going to give your co-worker a hint: that voluntary training is increasing your worth in the marketplace. It's not just an advantage to your current employer. Put another way - imagine you are a small employer and your employee wants you to pay for their training. Would you offer them an hour a day to study, plus costs of books? That's 12% of their total compensation package, 12% loss of revenue (or an increase in 12% effort spread over the rest of the "team") that you have no guarantee of ever recouping. Before you ask an employer for money, take a good hard look at whether that money is going to provide a guaranteed, tangible benefit to the bottom line of the business. If you can't find a way that it either saves or increases revenue by 20% of the investment*, it's going to be a hard sell.

    *when counting costs, take the actual materials and course cost, then add your hourly rate x 2.0-2.5 x total work hours you'll spend. That will give you the actual cost to the business.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I was getting paid much more than $12/hr. Was my first job after university too and yes, they gave me a keyboard to work with and did not expect me to already know everything there is to know all by myself. First thing my new boss did, was send me to a week-long course on T-SQL and soon after that to another week long course on Sybase Replication Server administration. Paid for hotel costs (max. 90EUR/day) etc. too. Those two weeks of training are actually guaranteed by the company (work council agreement,

    • by Ryanrule (1657199)

      Um, you can clear $20/hour in the midwest driving a forklift around a warehouse.

      • by jsepeta (412566)

        Midwest IT pay has dropped precipitously this past decade because most small companies treat IT as an expense, not as a way to leverage their business to be more competitive. good luck getting $15/hour in IT in the Midwest. it sucks here.

    • by Jaime2 (824950)

      I'm going to give your co-worker a hint: that voluntary training is increasing your worth in the marketplace. It's not just an advantage to your current employer.

      I've worked for a training provider and seen this from the other side. Increasing your marketplace value is actually a negative for the employer. From that point forward the company has a higher chance of losing you. Some employers would contract with us for special training that omits sections that are big on the certification test and not relevant to the work the employee is doing for the company. I'm not suggesting that this was a good thing, but it shows that certification isn't necessarily a win-wi

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Where I work, certification is encouraged, and might even be considered mandatory for career progression. Here's how we do it.

    Training materials are purchased by the company. There is a department that handles that, removing the cost burden from the employee's department, eliminating any pressure not to get trained by whomever is responsible for department P&L. Training materials may consist of classroom-based training, videos, books, and/or equipment for the lab. The lab is available remotely, with ser

    • by Tragedy4u (690579)
      CCIE Routing & Switching labs can mostly be virtualized now (switching is still a bit problematic but you only need about 4 3750-X switches not that expensive), it still is a very difficult exam I barely managed to pass on my second attempt. If you look around online you can also virtualize most of the CCIE Voice lab as well, with the exception of the voice gateways but the cost for these isn't too bad either. The worst of it all is the amount of time investment required to pass, it's just pure insani
  • I have either been a part of or have witnessed the outcomes of maybe 100 different training courses (75/25% split respectively). Each time, I find them almost completely worthless. The course material usually has 1 or 2 good things in it that you learn, and the rest is almost just common sense, or you can figure it out in 30 seconds with a google search.

    In this day n age, if you can't find an answer that fast through a web search, then the problem you're trying to solve is of a proprietary nature. Most ever

    • In a nutshell, a certification is like a piece of paper that says "I can speak this language fluently.".

      If you didn't know how to speak Hindi, but needed to do business in a remote part of India where Hindi is the dominant language, wouldn't it be nice if you could hire someone (local to you) with proof of their fluency?

      The problem is that far too many HR departments and managers don't understand that demanding roughly half of these certifications from anyone who has spent even a year in IT would be akin to

      • by Kookus (653170)

        There's no proof in a certificate. You can buy them if you want. (http://www.buyitcert.com/)
        If you need a certificate for proof, then you're not even trying.

        • I probably should have added a couple of notes about how the best people don't waste their time with certifications, because their previous experience exceeds the crap these certifications imply.

          Make no mistake, I think this garbage is as useless to the IT world as used toilet paper is to a hungry man, but there are still short-sighted management units and HR drones that will only believe you know anything about magical black boxes if you have a piece of paper from someone else who says that you do.

        • by jsepeta (412566)

          the only purpose of recertifying with microsoft or A+ or Cisco every 2-3 years is to ensure a steady profit stream for their certification departments.

          but as my buddy the tech trainer says, certification just gets you through the HR limbo dance.

  • by jacknifetoaswan (2618987) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @09:45AM (#43091753)

    My company has a very small library of books, and a decent amount of training material on a shared drive for the site, yet a lot of the books and materials are several years old. I'm studying for Server+ right now, and the most recent book they have is from 2004. I recently tried to get the site director to purchase some new training books, but was told that they'd 'maybe' be able to get the books in six months. Otherwise, I could purchase the books myself, and they'd 'maybe' be able to reimburse me in six to eight months. They do allow you to read and study during downtime, which is nice, but I've done quite a bit of studying on my own time, too. Once it comes time for the exam, they do reimburse you for the cost of the exam, provided you pass it and attain the certificate.

    That said, my company uses its employee's credentials to bid on contracts, so it behooves them to encourage us to get CompTIA, GIAC, CISSP, or EC-Council certified, so that they're able to bid higher amounts with better qualified workers. They even tie certifications to our yearly performance evals, requiring that we attain one cert, yearly, to meet our professional development goal, and two to exceed it. We get a small bump in pay for the certs, as well. A Server+ cert might get us $250/year, while a CISSP could get us $1000, and Certified Ethical Hacker might be $2000, however, the pay bumps are only done every six months, and from what I hear, it can be even longer than that.

    My previous company placed ZERO emphasis on professional training or certification, other than Security+, and an OS cert to meet DoD 8570 certification requirements.

    My opinion on this? I shelled out a couple hundred bucks for training materials for Server+, Linux+, and CISSP, simply because their training materials are very old. They also don't send people to training classes, even for something like the CISSP, which is a fairly difficult exam. If they're going to bid on contracts and REQUIRE me to hit certain training goals, there should be money put aside, yearly, for the office to attain those certs. I don't mind putting out the money for the exams, then being reimbursed, but at least get me adequate training materials, and send me to one class per year.

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      I recently tried to get the site director to purchase some new training books, but was told that they'd 'maybe' be able to get the books in six months.

      Don't ask if they can buy books for you, just buy them yourself and try to claim for them. It's far easier to get forgiveness than permission. Just buy the books if you need them and fill in the standard expense form. At worse you will end up paying for the books yourself but more likely they will pay you without much complaint.

      • Nah, this place isn't likely to dump any money into training materials. They're certain that the materials they provide are adequate for anyone to attain the certs they seek, even if they are 'a little old'.

        I'll just claim it as a write-off on my taxes next year, as an unreimbursed business expense.

  • I'm in Higher Ed and we actually have our own Microsoft Certified trainer on staff as part of our IT Training group. We also have Comp TIA and Adobe training along with free access to Lynda.com. University students can take training most trainings nearly free, faculty and staff may pay something. If there is a paper (work)book you do have to pay for that but usually your department will cover that cost. When you have close to 20K employes across the system, of which 800 or so are IT related, then it pays to

    • not too bad, I work for higher ed as well, I have to come up with wild explanations and sometime outright fabrications in order to get any training, and if the training has a cert attempt attached, best not to mention it and expect to hear grief from coworkers about it later. The ivory tower people don't like industry certs because they are too practical (not High Brow enough), and only value the academic certs. The IT Department has an official IT certs don't matter policy, and we're expected to learn ever
  • We are a M$ shop, so all of our certifications are M$ related. Company pays for first and second attempts and gives bonus based on difficulty of certification, i.e. MCITP cert pays bigger than MCTS cert. They also pay for any books/training materials you wish to have.
  • Semi - conductor worker here. My employers have always paid for training up front. I wouldn't work at a job that expected me to pay for training the employer requires. I am provided the study materials, I am paid for my study time and for the time spent actually in a classroom. Sounds like the IT field is getting the short end of the stick.
  • IT training where I work consists of buying the book, reading the book, playing with the software.

    Classroom training courses cost thousands and are used as holidays by staff who don't even care about the subjects they are sent to learn. It's a bad deal. There isn't much you can't learn by reading the book or from Google and if you don't have the motivation to read the book and play with the software you really don't care about the subject enough to be any good at it anyway.

    Multinationals will always tell yo

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @10:43AM (#43092301)

    IT really needs a apprenticeship system that can work in real Training with jobs and NOT the college system we have now.

    • by jsepeta (412566)

      but even low-wage entry level tech support jobs are being farmed out to india and other countries, so it's difficult for college grads to do a couple of years grinding through tech support phone lines before getting a job with more responsibilities. the move to the cloud will accelerate this trend.

  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @11:34AM (#43092871)

    You're pointing out an interesting fact about the IT industry -- there are some really good places to work and some that are really awful. And that definition of good and awful depends on the individual/situation. Without going too far off topic, think about working at Google vs. a "traditional" IT employer like a bank or hospital. Google is ideal for young/single workers who kind of want to continue the college dorm atmosphere. Free meals, concierge service, funky office space, etc. all designed to extract maximum hours out of a workforce who doesn't mind working 80 or 90 hours a week because nothing else is going on in their lives ATM. A more staid IT employer can either be a soul-crushing experience, or (in my case) realize that they need to attract mature talented people. (I work for an IT company that exclusively services a very staid, established industry sector for which correctness and uptime come before speed and flashy stuff.)

    Just like corporate cultures are different, training policies are different. Our product design groups basically have to take all the latest flashy tech off the shelf and get it working reliably for our industry, so we're constantly learning. Since our company also deals with a few industry-proprietary skills that aren't easy to come by off the street, long-term employment is also encouraged. (And yes, I know that's wierd and 20th Century, but I like it now that I'm married with children.) We're encouraged to do one company-paid course a year, typically one of those week-long classroom sessions. Certification exams are also reimbursed, even if you don't do them as part of your formal course. Anyone who starts out with our company (including when I started) is told up front that they'll be given all the training they need in the proprietary side of the business, but that they'll be useless for at least the first 8 months while they learn. They then get our internal training where they learn the basics of our customer's business, the fundamental concepts behind what we do, and get to work on small projects. Also, university courses are fully reimbursed once good grades are submitted if you so desire.

    I realize that my situation isn't typical, and we can only do it due to our unique situation. But the reality is that this should be the norm. On the job training should be encouraged if your company wants people who are engaged and understand the business side of things. Otherwise in my experience you get a never-ending stream of generic VMWare people, generic Windows people, generic Citrix people, etc. who only get the IT side of things because that's what they need to do to keep jumping ship every 2 years. Part of the reason why our company does well is that the consulting staff knows the customer's business beyond some crash PowerPoint briefing that they read on the plane before they showed up to work.

    Bottom line, IT employers should invest in their people and not expect ready made new hires. IT employees should actively seek these employers out to encourage the bad ones to change their practices.

  • I have experienced nearly 30 years in both GOV and Commercial environments. Training had gotten tighter and tighter over the last 5 years. Having to pay out of pocket is not unusual and from my perspective make the employee a bit more involved and in the training and something at stake if they just planned on blowing it off. If you pass it you get most of your investment back, if you don't, well maybe you didn't want it bad enough. The comment about getting training for a specific skill set is the ne
  • I have been working in IT for about a decade now, and I have experienced a range of policies on training. Currently I work at a private university in Boston, if the certification is something the department wants you to get they will pay you, provide all training materials, and provide time for you to study. However it if is not related to our job, or something we wish to get on our own, they WILL reimburse us for a passed exam, but the training materials and time spent studying is on our own dime.
  • If the certification is relevant and useful, and the training is good, I'll pay for it. But, often it requires some prep work by the employee.

    For instance: Joe wants to get his RHCE. The RedHat prep and test all-in-one class is a good bit of training, outside of being a certification exam. So, as long as Joe puts in the effort to be prepared for the class and exam, and assuming I have the training dollars, I'll invest in Joe and send him to RedHat.

    Of course I expect my people to be self-starters, but I'm
  • Companies pay for training? my company, nothing.
    They like to promise it, though, but nothing ever comes of it.

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