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Continuing education - a unique problem with our industry

martyhimmel profile image Martin Himmel ・2 min read

A brain dump of some thoughts I've had recently.

Consider these interview questions (variations of the same question):

What are you doing to continue your education?

or

How are staying on top of the latest technology?

On the surface, they are fairly standard questions. In any industry, people generally want to stay informed, continue learning, and get better at what they do.

Seems reasonable. Except I've never been asked that outside of the tech industry.

Let me back up a little. I was a dental technician for 15 years - I made dentures, crowns, bridges, metal frameworks, etc. Everything about that industry I learned on the job. It was a combination of learning from people who were further along than me, doing what I learned, and figuring things out when no one else had the answers. But it all happened during work hours - never in my personal/free time.

In the tech industry, we're often expected to spend our off-work hours keeping up on trends and ever changing technology. Yet in other industries, you either learn by doing the job, or are given training time during work hours to learn.

This is one of my favorite posts about the overall expectations of devs, especially the referenced comment by Leighton Darkins:

The professional side of the industry shouldn't expect personally paid for training (e.g. online courses), personal projects, or after hours meet ups to be the norm for our training. It's different if a person wants and chooses to do those activities, but it shouldn't be a professional expectation.

Coming back to the above questions - they shouldn't even be interview questions. Like I said, outside of the tech industry, I've never been asked that. It was generally assumed you're learning on the job.

Any employer who isn't providing training/learning opportunities to their people, during work hours, is doing a disservice to their employees, and in turn, their products and clients. If our industry (as a whole) grasped that, then maybe that question would fade to obsolescence, as it should.

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Martin Himmel

@martyhimmel

Web dev and aspiring game dev who loves to teach and dabbles in various languages.

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