IT Professional Development Should Not Be Left to Chance

A recent post in Computerworld ¬†called An argument in favor keeping IT training budgets intact caught my eye. I found the very notion that there is seriously a need to make this argument a bit shocking. If there is any group of professionals that needs to keep on top of a rapidly changing space, it’s IT Pros.

One thing is clear: Over the last few years–and it’s something we discuss regularly in this blog–the IT landscape has constantly been in flux. We have consumerization, bring your device (BYOD), mobile, social, cloud, security, viruses and malware, lower budgets and shrinking control over the hardware environment.

It’s all a bit much isn’t it? To expect that IT pros can deal with this onslaught of change by osmosis is grossly unrealistic and downright unfair.

The Computerworld article summary states: “Many of training’s benefits are intangible and won’t show up in an ROI analysis.” No doubt, but a well trained IT staffer is clearly a good investment, and even the dimmest of managers should be able to see that.

My friend and author David Meerman Scott when asked about the ROI on social media is fond of shooting back, “What’s the ROI on your receptionist ¬†or the gardeners who keep your grounds nice?” Nobody would even think of asking those questions, right? They are just part of the cost of doing business.

Let’s step back a bit though and use some different logic. Sure, technology adds value to the company. If someone argues against that, perhaps you could suggest we just go back to typewriters, file cabinets, ledgers, and runners. No company could operate that way today. There’s no argument.

While it’s true that not all technology is created equal, and some can cost the company much more money than others, then that should be an even greater argument to make sure your IT personnel are up to speed on the latest and greatest — to ensure that they are helping the organization make the best decisions for your company based on the most current body of information.

Several years ago we hired contractors to build a gargage. The guys who built it were explaining some of the techniques they were using and referenced workshops and training they had attended to learn the newest ways of building. I was comforted by the knowledge that these guys were still trying to learn the newest methods, even after years in the business.

And any manager or executive in charge of IT budgets should feel the same way. That your people want to continue learning is a great thing, but it’s crazy to put it on them to do it alone. The company should invest in all its workers to ensure they have the skills required to compete in a changing market, especially one as volatile as IT.

And it shouldn’t take an ROI study or a Ph.D. in Economics to figure that out.

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