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I'm working as a junior developer for a startup company, and have been working here around 7 months now. After 4 months, we had a late quarterly review, and just before the boss mentioned there was a training budget, and we should let them know what training we needed and they'd get it for us.

I asked for some training at the time, but 3 months have passed without mention of it, and I have since learnt what I needed in my own time (I just can't stop learning new things!) I took on a new role recently, so have been given some cheap ($60) training for that however.

Now the next review is approaching, and I would like to get Adobe Qualified Expert qualifications for ActionScript 3 / Flex. I was told by a contracted co-worker who had left that I should try to get the company to pay for this, as it's something they can tell potential investors as a selling point.

My question is though; how do I approach this with my boss? I don't want it to sound like I'm looking for another job and want the qualifications to look elsewhere!

Edit: I should mention the company I work for is very qualification-light at the moment, and all the flex developers are junior level at the moment. I'm looking to progress which is why I want the qualifications. Even if I can't get them through the company then I'll be learning it myself, but would rather not stump my own cash when it's to help the company in the long run!

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Training $$$ can come out of your salary / bonus. I would say - take matters in your own hands and go ahead and take the class on your own dime and time. Then let the employer know that you did take that class. They will either see an up and coming rock star (lol) in you, or they will not care. If they do not - change the jobs. Even if that class costs you 1k, I would see it as an investment - one that will pay off in the future. (Just my 2 dollars). –  Job Jan 15 '11 at 18:13
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3 Answers

If your company uses Microsoft technologies, then being a member of their partner program can supply you with lots of free software once you've reached a silver or gold "competency." The free software at the gold competency levels is in the tens (to low hundreds) of thousands of dollars that you'd be saving. For the silver and gold competencies, you'd need a number of folks with Microsoft certifications, or have applications that get the "runs on windows 7" (not too expensive) or "runs on server 2008" (priced-like-a-car expensive) logo certs.

My last employer was in that situation, and offered a $500 bonus for passing each relevant Microsoft certification exam (as well as reimbursement for the cost of the exam and study materials). As I recently left, I had to repay the bonuses as their rules required repayment if I left within a year of getting them.

The MS partner program can sound really complicated, especially as they like to shuffle their website around, so it might be hard to get your boss interested in it.

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Do you need the qualification or do you need the knowledge and experience?

As you are already employed at your company they will know your ability level and aptitude to learn. It's possible to train informally and more formally without gaining a qualification and this is usually faster and cheaper. This will almost certainly be more attractive to your company.

The advantage of a qualification is that it may be recognized elsewhere such as when applying for a new job. The difficulty with asking your current employer to pay for you to get a qualification, especially given that they are a small company, is that they are effectively spending money making it easier for you to leave and join somewhere else.

If you can genuinely show that the course that leads to a qualification has a significant and measurable benefit to the company then you may be able to get them to pay for it but don't expect them to be unreservedly positive about it. Your contracted co-worker is correct that it would be good for you if they did, but I doubt your qualification would genuinely sway potential investors in the company.

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With all training you need to show how it will benefit the company. Any benefit to you is incidental.

In this case I would mention the idea of it being a selling point as an extra benefit, but only if I could back it up.

The main benefit to the company is that through training you will be able to produce a better quality product and produce that product more quickly. This is a clear benefit as it means that they can either charge more for your services, get more projects completed in the same time or even both.

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