Tuesday, January 21, 2014

DBA Rules of Thumb - Part 11 (Invest in Yourself)

Most IT professionals continually look for their company to invest money in their ongoing education. Who among us does not want to learn something new — on company time and with the company’s money? Unless you are self-employed, that is!

Yes, your company should invest some funds to train you on new technology and new capabilities, especially if it is asking you to do new things. And since technology changes so fast, most everyone has to learn something new at some point every year. But the entire burden of learning should not be placed on your company.

Budget some of your own money to invest in your career. After all, you probably won’t be working for the same company your entire career. Why should your company be forced to bankroll your entire ongoing education? Now, I know, a lot depends on your particular circumstances. Sometimes we accept a lower salary than we think we are worth because of the “perks” that are offered. And one of those perks can be training. But perks have a way of disappearing once you are "on the job."

Some folks simply abhor spending any of their hard-earned dollars to help advance their careers. This is not a reasonable approach to your career! Shelling out a couple of bucks to buy some new books, subscribe to a publication, or join a professional organization should not be out of the reach of most DBAs.

A willingness to spend some money to stay abreast of technology is a trait that DBAs need to embrace. 

Most DBAs are insatiably curious, and many are willing to invest some of their money to learn something new. Maybe they bought that book on NoSQL before anyone at their company started using it. Perhaps it is just that enviable bookshelf full of useful database books in their cubicle. Or maybe they paid that nominal fee to subscribe to the members-only content of that SQL Server portal. They could even have forked over the $25 fee to attend the local user group.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that companies should not reimburse for such expenses. They should, because it provides for better-rounded, more educated, and more useful employees. But if your employer won’t pay for something that you think will help your career, why not just buy it yourself?

And be sure to keep a record of such purchases because unreimbursed business expenses can be tax deductible. 

1 comment:

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