Every two years our organization polls its employees on a variety of topics related to the work place. The previous two rounds Education/Training has been at the top of the issues, and it came in at a close second this time around. The continuing issue with it is that our true IT people in the department (its confusing, its a hospital) are staffed incredibly lean, and getting the time and money to go do a boot camp is pretty much impossible at this point. Our IT Department currently has 19 people in it. 3 staff and a manager for the help desk, and 2 staff and a manager/engineer for the infrastructure. 2 staff are general IT Analysts that do a lot of the report writing for the EMR systems. The other 10 people are staff and a manager for the EMR support and training. Back onto topic now.
The issue at hand is getting the time and the money to get any actual training and education. I am new in my role of Network Analyst, just finishing up my first year in January. I do not even have my CCNA or any Cisco certifications at all. The organization took at shot on giving me the job and I am doing my best to live up to their expectations, and I personally feel that getting some progress made on at least getting a Cisco certification would be a good foot to put forward on this. Problem is as many of you know, going to a bootcamp for a Cisco certification is expensive on both time and budget. I actually went to my department Director and presented him with what it would cost for time and money to go to a CCNA boot camp. Let's just say it's a good thing I work in a hospital because I think he almost needed to go visit the ER when he looked at the cost. It was more then the company gave him for a training budget for the entire department for the entire year.
At this point I am looking for something that I would be able to do more on a piece by piece basis. So the big question I have for everyone is, what do you do for your training and education needs? I have looked into a few things, most of them being online. I have checked out online programs through colleges, but they are time and budget expensive most of the time, and not really open to a single class here and there. I have looked into the CBT Nuggets and that one looks like it could be a good route. I have also looked into vendor specific training and education programs. There are so many options out there I am pretty much the dog stuck between two food bowls and can't chose one so I am starving to death lol.
I realize this is more "ideal world" than "real world" for many of us. I've seen corporate budgets for training decrease drastically over the last twenty years:
Your goals have now become:
OK. Now we come to YOUR situation--that worst case where you can't do what is required because you don't know how. And your organization won't pay for your training. While you're searching for a new employer (hint, hint), you've got lots of resources if you're creative:
Finally, don't throw your hands up in frustration. Instead, learn how to get your way with your boss and with management by reading this piece I provided to Thwack a while back. Once you understand the idea, and can see how it applies to everything from hardware to training to company cars to bigger monitors and more Orion modules, you'll be in the driver's seat again: A Stratagem For Obtaining Funding For Your Projects
Then come back here and tell us what changes you made in your life and in your job that worked well. Now go get 'em!
I think a lot of the issues with getting training right now is coming from the company itself and not so much the department leadership. When I started at this company in the help desk 5 years ago they had an education reimbursement program in place where you could get like $800 a year reimbursed for education that was not paid for by the company. I was working on my Bachelors degree in Business Information Systems at the time so I applied for it. I was doing this before I took the job at the company. The response I got from HR just floored me, my manager, and my department director. The response was "This is not a required program for your job position, so it is not covered." Someone in IT getting their Bachelor degree in Business Information Systems and apparently that doesn't apply to having a job in IT. I applied for it again the next year and got the exact same response. At that point I was pretty, what is the politically correct business term here, miffed and went to my manager and director about it. They went back to HR with pitchforks I guess and I got both years worth that year.
To have to go through that kind of fight for $800 just basically crushed my spirit when it comes to trying to get any more paid training from this place honestly. The other issue with the last two years now is we went from Meditech to Epic. The company blew the lid, the sides, and the bottom out of their training budget (millions of dollars) for the last two years as a result of that. They have even cut some of their own throats in cutting education and reimbursements this last year. A senior director was denied reimbursement on a program they took. So at least the pain is being shared, but it still sucks. They have switched a lot of their class based stuff to computer based learning instead as well to try and save money on it.
I have looked at the CBT Nuggets pretty closely. I have also been doing a bit on some of the free stuff that is out there like the Microsoft Virtual Academy. There is only so much that I can get through those kind of things though. At some point money has to be spent to go for the actual certifications and tests. I have a feeling that is where the real fight will start honestly. There seems to be a mentality around here that because we are IT people, we are already smart and know everything about everything and don't really need to go learn anything else because we already know it.
Like you, my organization has moved to EPIC. I've learned (and leveraged) the fact that if you say something is required for EPIC, it gets funded.
Better still is if you can get EPIC staff (AT EPIC) to say a particular piece of training or level of expertise or certification is required for properly supporting their product.
If that won't happen, seriously take the information here and run with it: A Stratagem For Obtaining Funding For Your Projects
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