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How Do We Persuade Software Developers to Keep Their Skills Up to Date?

We have terrific software programmers who are technically proficient. Most show little interest in professional development beyond writing more code. How could we get their attention? —Cracking the Code, team leader, software/services, Andover, Massachusetts
February 15, 2012
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Related Topics: Supervisory Training, Career Development, Management Skills and Development, Dear Workforce
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Dear Cracking:

In the ever-changing information-technology profession, keeping up to date with the latest tech advances is essential if workers want to stay relevant in their jobs. Demonstrate to employees how continuously developing their benefits not only your company, but, more important, also how it helps them stay abreast of the latest technologies. Such knowledge will enhance their career prospects in a fast-moving field—preferably at your company.

Since training courses are costly, it might behoove your organization to consider paying for employees' sessions. If that is not a possibility, consider an incentive such as paid time off to help people pursue their continuing education. Another possibility: Provide an "incentivized" program to entice seasoned employees to mentor new hires. Such an arrangement will get new employees up to speed until they are able to schedule formal training sessions. Meanwhile, mentoring provides your programmers with a different way to apply their skills on behalf of your company, earning a measure of professional satisfaction as well.

Convene a round-table discussion with developers to get their feedback on which programs and skills would benefit your organization. This makes their opinions known and provides a great motivation to learn. Amid the workflow of a busy and evolving field, it can be easy for IT managers to lose sight of one of their most important functions: developing promising employees to take on advanced roles within the organization. Yet the long-term success of your company depends on hiring and training skilled people eager to polish their skills and take the next step at your company. Make it clear to employees that keeping their skills up to date will not only benefit the organization, but also help to propel their long-term success at your company.

SOURCE: John Reed, Robert Half Technology, Menlo Park, California

LEARN MORE: Getting highly technical workers to embrace career development is a common struggle.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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