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My current employer pays for certification fees and college classes (provided that you earn an 'A'), but I'm looking for other things to suggest to them. Very few of us have time to take advantage of the college classes, and the material covered in certification exams isn't always the most practical information. (Code Access Security, anyone?)

Maybe a book allowance? Some incentive to work on an open source project?

In what kinds of creative ways does your employer provide for your continuing developer education?

See Also

How to Keep Your Developer Team Educated

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Sep 27 '11 at 17:53

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9 Answers 9

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Here are some that I have found or would find very useful:

  • Paying for dues and research journal subscriptions in a professional membership organization, like ACM
  • Paying for technical books you've already purchased or will purchase (assuming they're relevant to your job)
  • Agreeing to give you time off to work on an open-source project that might benefit the company, or which the company already uses
  • Paying for conference registration fees and trips to developer user groups
  • If you're a recognized expert, supporting your efforts to advance the field in general (e.g. being more flexible with time and scheduling so that you can write books/articles, etc.)
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An office library full of reference materials and books on certain subjects that you are working with is always appropriate and pretty standard practice.

And I would love if my employer paid for college classes.

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Not sure who downvoted that, but I bumped it back up to 0. Not the best answer posted, but certainly not something you should penalized for. –  Brian Sullivan Apr 28 '09 at 15:56
    
Brian: I think I upset a person or two today in some other questions because I was getting some random downvotes here and there. –  TheTXI Apr 28 '09 at 16:41

I like going to conferences. I'm in the Boston area and there are quite a few around me.

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I've had great success in asking my employer to pay for the technical books I've bought. For them it's much cheaper than training, conferences, or college classes. For you, you're getting the targeted learning you need in the areas you're most interested in.

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I organise a weekly reading group for the programming team that I am a member of and highly recommend it. We read a chapter of a tech book each week and get together to discuss it and our employer pays for a copy of the book for each of us.

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They've purchased McConell's "Technical Ladder" and then added "rigor" by saying if you're at this level you need to have atleast a competent rating for Items 1-28

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  1. Setting up and seeding a library
  2. Paying for developer related courses and certifications
  3. Hosting or otherwise sponsoring technical user group meetings
  4. Encouraging use of resources such as internet for research and development initiatives
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The single most important thing a company can do for a programmer is to insist uncertified programmers do nothing but code, preferably under the supervision of teams of senior-level developers, until they get a certification.

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1  
That seems a bit harsh. I know plenty of well experienced developers that aren't certified because they were to busy working to get certifications. Certifications only really prove that you can take a test. –  Josh Apr 29 '09 at 16:29
1  
Agreed. After having earned several certifications myself, I don't believe they go very far in making you a better developer. Most of them simply test your knowledge of APIs, and there are plenty of online resources that can provide that information on an as-needed basis. Spending time to memorize them is not very cost-effective, IMHO. –  Brian Sullivan Apr 30 '09 at 13:10
    
My certification tests are time limited, real world coding exercises. The only way to really get the confidence level and knowledge base to pass certification is to code and code and code. –  PaulG Apr 30 '09 at 15:57
    
@PaulG 'certification' is usually seen as a recognized certification eg scjd or microsoft equivalent. –  blank May 12 '09 at 21:31

My company fund my masters degree and they also pay for sending me overseas for weeks-worth of training in specific technologies. It really does boost my learning and is an excellent way to keep me in top form. So, that's one way of being supported by your employer.

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