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Has anyone had experiences before in setting up a study group to empower individuals (employees) work towards a certification while still working.

There are plenty of google hits out there on this subject, but I would be particularly interested in the anecdotal experiences of people in this forum.

In particular:

  1. What was the format?
  2. What sort of commitment is required, both individual and employer
  3. Optimal group sizes
  4. Length and frequency of meetings
  5. Absolutely anything else of relevance.
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Why would encouraging/requiring employees to do certifications help with adoption of new technologies? I find that certs test if someone can do well on a multiple choice exam personally. If you wish to encourage adoption of new technologies, perhaps giving your employees some free dev time and holding lunch and learns might be a better motivator. –  Tyanna Jun 8 '11 at 13:45
    
@Tyanna - Thanks for that. The 'motivation' bit was actually irrelevant, so I've deleted. Let's just assume I want to set up a study group, regardless :-) –  James Wiseman Jun 8 '11 at 13:48
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closed as too broad by gnat, GlenH7, MichaelT, Simon, Glenn Nelson Dec 16 '13 at 16:52

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

That can be tough. Not everyone is looking towards getting the same certification, even within the same company - or even the same technology stack. I lean to the Micro$soft stack and, from experience, there are a plethora of certifications even within the developer arena. However, let's assume (for the sake of discussion) that you have a group who want to get the same cert.

We had a group set up at work...I would not make this group much larger than ~4 or else you get too much "noise" and other distractions. We agreed to meet once per week and kept each other accountable for studying the assigned material. We all ordered the same certification study book(s) and would go over the lessons learned from the previous week and then an overview of the expectations for the next week. We met for an hour over lunch - and of course, there were always the impromptu discussions that occurred through the week when someone had questions, or if something applied to our current task.

I think it was optimal for when you are at work together. However, it can work for those who do not work in the same office as well. If you don't have a couple of others in the office interested in getting certified, then you should be able to get involved with a local users group. In those cases, you may have to meet before work or meet during lunch - logistically a bit more difficult, but definitely do-able - AND you make some great technical contacts - networking is key.

Just my 2 cents - good luck!!

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What we do in our company is to have so-called "Book Clubs". We are a research company, and therefore we are not looking for getting certifications; however the book-club format may work as well for that. First we pick a technical book with a certain level of common interests. Then we meet once a week for two hours and discuss in detail the selected readings for that week, including sometimes doing exercises, discussing applications of the notions to the projects we are working currently etc. We have found that we do benefit a lot from this type of endeavors.

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