I saw a tweet this week… “It’s your responsibility as a programmer to keep yourself educated and up to date, not some employer’s” and I thought, I could agree partially, but why?
As a Developer you are skilled and care about your craft… Programming. You are also aware of the business your company works within and in addition, that technology is always changing and evolving. So it’s right that you as a developer, should care enough to keep up to date as well. The problem I have with the initial statement is that you are the new King Makers (thanks to James Governor and the team at RedMonk for that thought) and in that way your company should also take at least a equal share in the stake, to keep you at the top of your game. It’s in their best interest, as any cut or lack of keeping developers current, could substantially weaken the foundations and future of any business. So at least it’s a symbiotic relationship.
Also as an idea, I think that at some companies, developers should be allocated some free R&D time. This could be on a rotational basis in short bursts or in longer sections of time, either individually on small R&D teams. Keeping abreast of new developments in for example mobile & in memory computing etc, will allow companies to reap the reward of a motivated team as well as to identify areas for new investment. These areas can be in team knowledge as well as product directions and features.
Software companies like SAP are tying to facilitate such ideas and freedom, through the SAP Developer Program, that enables software to be investigated with for example, cloud instances on AWS with free developer licences. Thus removing the overhead of locating a physical machine and installing etc. We are also enabling initial awareness & skills transfer though blogs, videos etc… For example in Mobile the http://www.sapmobileacademy.com and the SAP Developer Center http://developers.sap.com
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