"What training to you think you need?"
I looked blankly back at the Manager. I'd been contracting for a while and now was back in a permanent role. It had been a long time since I'd been asked this question and wasn't really prepared for it. I'd recently done some work with a team using Six Sigma and Lean and had identified a training need – I needed to understand what the hell these geniuses were talking about in their odd little language! So I'd found a free EdX course online and was in the process of learning.
"Maybe P3O?" she offered.
I had identified a need for P3O training (even though I've never heard of anyone asking for it). But that was two years ago, when I bought the book and paid for the open centre exam. Just like I had with MoR a year later. And PRINCE2 nearly ten years ago.
"Agile?" she asked.
I had self taught on Agile with YouTube videos a while back, I could certainly use a refresher. A certificate is always nice too. But strangely I felt a pang of guilt.
"Are you sure? It's not like I'm going to become a scrum master. Is there value in paying for this?"
"Absolutely! You work alongside these teams, you should know their approach."
"I know their approach." It was true. A member of the team had given some very helpful, informal training on their approach. Admittedly it didn't cover every facet of the work, but it was good enough for my needs.
The conversation went on like this for some time. I did address my training needs, but they related more to enhancing soft skills than picking up certificates. The Manager, being a good manager, was trying to get the right offering for both the employee and the company. In my position, most employees would ask for high cost, accredited qualifications and – if the company is prepared to spend and invest in them – I don't blame them. But I always find I'm asking myself – if the training or qualification is that useful and that important that you'd take your employers money to do it – why didn't you invest in it yourself? In this business there is a lot of competition and a lot of folks chasing the same jobs. If you invest in yourself continuously, maintain your skill set, keep up to date on your market, etc it demonstrates a commitment to your profession that helps you to stand out from the competition.
So if you want PRINCE2, but can't afford the five day training course – buy the book and do an open centre exam. If you need other skills, check out EdX or Coursera and see what they offer for free. Take a look at the courses on YouTube. Go and read a book!
Don't waste time waiting for someone to hand these things to you. Budgets get cut, promises get broken. In the end you are the only investor in training you can really trust.
PS: New training need identified: blogging without ranting.